Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Next Step

Ok. Confess. How many of you have put an item on your to-do list that you've already done just so you have at least one thing to check off and feel relieved about? Come on, come on.

That's how I felt when I was reading over the list for the first time and ran across #39. Exercise. Aha! At least that's one I already do. 6 days a week I do some form of cardio, usually power-walking or jogging, and 3-4 days a week I strength train. My program's not set in stone. I change when I'm bored or discover something new and interesting, but the main idea is that I do it. I know I need to add Yoga, but I haven't found any classes that work with my schedule, and I haven't been able to discipline myself to do a video. But, I digress . . .

As I said yesterday, I wanted to start with things that would provide an immediate and positive impact on me. One of my first choices was #9. Purge your stuff. The desire to purge my stuff is one of the things that set me on my quest to simplify, but how do I do it without becoming overwhelmed and quitting? I came up with a one-thing-a-day plan. I resolved to do one thing a day that will declutter the spaces I live and work in. I might clean out one drawer, or one cabinet, or one shelf. I put a bag in my closet, and one item a day that I don't ever wear or that I don't really like or that doesn't fit me just right goes into it. When it's full, I donate it to charity. This rule does double duty, because I declutter one thing at home and one thing at work every day. I've been amazed at how easy this is and how good it is making me feel.

I did get one good jump-start last weekend. During the pursuit of my doctorate, I neglected things around the house a little bit, and our home office had become a wilderness, a totally out of control space. Just thinking about it spiked my blood pressure. Walking past it made me want to cry. Papers and books were piled everywhere. It was hard to find anything, and I was always worried that I hadn't paid one of the bills or that an important paper we needed was lost. So last Saturday I decided to just jump in, and my wonderful husband joined me. We cleaned off every flat surface, organized every drawer, went through the cabinets. (Well, except for two that contain only family pictures, baby books, high school annuals, etc. They need organizing but not purging, and they don't affect my daily stress level. I'm saving them for a summer project.) Every paper was filed or thrown away. I was so happy and relieved, and for the rest of the day I'd occasionally just go to the office, walk in, and smile.

Tune in tomorrow for my next step.

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