During the first 2 weeks of July I challenged myself to discern how much stuff was enough and take at least one step to simplify my life. (Of course this follows a decade of working to declutter and simplify my possessions and life. One would think I had barely anything left to prune. One would be wrong. 🙂 ) I invited you all to do the same.

The result was complicated. I identified 4 areas of clutter:

  1. Workspace Clutter (physical clutter)
  2. Time Clutter (evaluating how I spend my time)
  3. Money Clutter (long range financial planning led to facing the inevitability of death)
  4. Worry Clutter (emotional worries can clutter my mind and heart)

In order to honor the underlying principle of not making this task itself so complicated that I became discouraged and procrastinated I chose to focus on my desk which is my primary workspace and where I spend most of my time. The task was simple – sort of. All I aimed to do was clear off miscellaneous papers from projects that I was still actively working on.

Here’s what I learned in the process:
Throwing out papers is easy once the task is done, BUT these were ongoing projects. Filing papers may seem simple once you have a logical system and place to put them, BUT my file cabinets were already packed and I didn’t want to spend the time going through 8+ drawers to throw out or digitize obsolete papers. That would take way more time than I wanted to spend now.

This forced me to reevaluate the main projects I had been working on. Some of the projects were temporarily on hold or morphed into Zoom meetings because of Covid-19. Perhaps I was just trying to keep up with too many commitments. What would come to the top –

  • Advocacy – for the Environment and Civil Dialogue
  • Working – to reduce Racism and Sexual Abuse
  • Writing – on social justice and family issues
  • Political activism – in light of the upcoming elections
  • Spirituality – both personal and contributing to my broader faith communities
  • Family – spending time tending to my marriage, kids, and grand-kids

LESSON LEARNED: These desk papers reflected the various priorities in my life. Some I could delay or let go of. Others were foundational. Maybe I was being over-responsible by thinking I had to do all the work myself rather than delegating more? So the Workspace project of paper paring bled into assessing my Time commitments which led to evaluate overall life priorities. Of course this blended in with reflecting on end of life issues prompted by Money decisions. The challenge is to not let Worry overshadow what’s really essential. So…Everything is related and it’s still complicated.
How do YOU balance the necessary tasks of your life and what have you learned to let go of? Curious minds want to know.