Clutter & All or Nothing Thinking
Posted June 8, 2008on:
You’ve finally decided to tackle the clutter weighing you down. You’re standing at the door of your closet, staring at the piles, and you suddenly decide: “I can’t do any of this if I can’t do all of it – right now!!” but you don’t have time to do all of it – so you give up entirely.
That’s an example of All or Nothing Thinking – and it can derail us from achieving all sorts of goals.
Many of us are (sadly) very familiar with this kind of thinking related to our food and fitness plans. One cookie, or one missed workout – and we give up – and we often fall off the wagon in a big, bad way.
“I ate one cookie and blew my diet so I might as well eat 10 more”. OR, “I didn’t get to the gym this morning so I might as well abandon my exercise program”.
Don’t let All or Nothing Thinking get in the way of creating some order for yourself! If you’re facing a big organizing job, make peace with the idea that it will take you a while to complete it. While it’s true that the mess may get worse before it gets better, if you keep at it – even in small bursts of work – you will get it done. So much better than the alternative of working like a fiend for two hours until you can’t stand it anymore, and then never going back to finish the project because it was so miserable! Or giving up completely before you’ve even started.
Clearing clutter can feel completely overwhelming; I know because I’ve been there. I used to set aside whole weekends to “get my house in order”, but it didn’t work; I just couldn’t sustain my energy or focus. I still have some piles of paper and files from my last marathon session – at least three years ago.
But now I practice what I’m preaching: I work for short periods of time (sometimes just 5 minutes) and I stop when I feel paralyzed and can’t make good decisions anymore. Slowly but surely I’m clearing out the clutter and gaining order, serenity and peace of mind.