Its time of the year where most of us will be packing up for a fresh start in 2014. Whether its a new year’s resolution, a new work place, moving homes or even venturing into new careers. For some of us its transgressing in our careers while working on how to better achieve work life balance. There are many timelines and calendars that we track ourselves. Whether its the Gregorian calendar, the Chinese calendar, Islamic calendar etc — the significance of time is important (innit not ?!) . From celebrating birthdays, to anniversaries working at your current company, (Ironman anniversary!) and etc.
‘Clearing the junks’
This is one topic that is not so popular among the living procrastinators (I admit I am one of them!). We overlook how material pile up (at home, work, the laundry) can actually affect our mind and well-being. How do we feel going back home to face the forever to stay mess, the uncleared sink and overloaded laundry basket. Back at work, its either work is piling up, or the work place itself just all messed up. The brain and emotions can get as messed up too. So — the year end is a good time to clear the unnecessary and excessive junks which have been laying around. You know how hard it is to progress with all these blockages? Yeah, heard you, very hard indeed !
Draw up a plan
There are many practical tips and guides out there on how to objectively clear the mess in our lives (time, work, relationship, physical garbage ,priorities etc). It does help to a certain extent. While some of us just do what we feel is right, some choose to look for help as what they initially felt was right didn’t seem to work. You can tell if you see that the progress is that little !
Put it down on paper if you will , set a deadline and start working on it. Work on around the idea that you need things that have been collecting dusts, termites, cobwebs and just wasting your space needs to go.
i) Identify those items, and divide which is perishable and will be of no use to anybody (right to the garbage bin).
ii) Next, items which you can send to the recycle center. Put this on 1 side.
ii) Next– items to give away — put these in bags, label the intended recipients’ names and at least plan when you would like to hand it over to them. Be creative – you can give them as a gift if you want. Nothing wrong with that from my point of view. Things which have not been returned fall under this category also. Return them !!!
iii)Next, items which you can reuse – use them, and avoid unnecessary wastage from your wallet. Creativity works wonders.
Baby steps. Giant results.
We do get excited when we really want to clean up the clutter in our lives. The major unsung mistakes which most of us fall into is to over plan and under deliver. Set practical target. Workable ones. If you have friends or family members who can help, let them know your plans ahead. If you are working to achieve your targets on your own, simplify your plans and perhaps work on 1 plan or 1 segment of your plan every weekend, or every other day.
Same thing applied in our life philosophy. Simplify things and work on achievable goals. You don’t want to constrain yourself in the name of simplification !
Build a case
Let’s get away with the work-business scenario and look into some common grounds which you potentially may share with me. Lemme see.. taking charge of your time ! Yes, say this year looked a bit fuzzy on the time and event planning side, perhaps its a good start to plan ahead on the things that you want to achieve for next year on your domestic calendar.
i) Get 1 of those big enough organisers where you can plonk it important events.If you can have one at work, have one at home. It eases communication and tracking back/forward important occasions.
ii) Put in your family member’s birthdays, important anniversaries, and if you are into taking part in sports and social events, put those event dates in as well. Early planning makes up half of the planning already. From here its super easy to see if two events are clashing, or just too near to each other. Graduation dates, children’s sports day — put that all in.
iii) Start planning – work backwards on what you’ve put in. Say you have (ehemm) signed up for a MAJOR triathlon even in 2014 (*coughs*), the calendar will be a good platform to jot down the days you need to be away from hometown/work. If you are working, you can start planning your leaves here).
iv) Still on the ‘MAJOR’ triathlon events – There are plenty training programs out there. Look up for one which is most practical and suitable for you. While you don’t want to mess up the calendar book with your weekdays training, weekend training which involves long runs or bricks- you may want to put that in. Again, it will be just practical if you have a clashing event on that day. You can make early changes to your plans.
I took part in a ‘MAJOR’ tri event once in 2009. I had a whole calendar book just to plonk it my training and mileage. Kept it simple and it was the training bible for the number of training weeks. Keeps me focus and objective. At the same time keeping up the excitement to D-day !
Clearing the junks (again)
Let’s no procrastinate and take things more proactively. Its easier said than done. We aspire to achieve good, wondrous and virtuous things (don’t we!). Its just superb if we have already the intention. Next step is getting that butt off from the couch and start doing it. I find getting hooked to the internet (random endless hours of browsing, chatting, gaming and YouTube-ing) takes away A LOT of precious time. Not just from our real life, but also to the extent of becoming the reason why we procrastinate and become the irresponsible citizens, leaders, parents and individuals.
Instagraming (and checking out other people’s Instagrams) is of no exceptions.
Breathe and relax
Its good to start a purpose and a plan with a clear mind. Have good thoughts on why we need to work on the plan, and remain objective while achieving it. Don’t let anybody mess up your head, thoughts and emotions no more than it currently is. You deserve to stay calm. Need a wind down? Go for it whenever you can. If it takes as short as a 5 mins DND mode, than do it. Need a get away, by all means.
2014 and beyond
I hope all of us can work unto clearing the unnecessary mess in our lives progressively. It should be beyond 2013 and 2014. Uncluttered our home and work space. Clear things which need to be cleared (relationships too!), and hopefully we can walk/run our lives more efficiently based on the values which we hold close to our hearts. Well, value should be the overarching theme here, but yeah.. All the best to all of you. I hope I am not making this sound as if I am already drawing the curtain for this year. No not yet. Just things which are in my head which I think is worth sharing.
Taking a step back
If you have watched that viral video of Jean-Claude van Damme doing the epic split on the Volvo trucks, I am sure you must be awestruck. Well, that is one of the things he is good at after years of practice! If you have listened to narration on the background..I’ve had my ups and downs my fair share of bumpy roads and heavy winds. That’s what made me what I am today.
Some learning points from the narration if I may :-
Patchy roads in our lives are actually points from which we build our lives upon. That is where we start progressing and filling the loop holes. It is normal to face rough patches in our lives. The destination is important, but the journey is equally important too. At times, more important. Values are important in ensuring we are steering to the right path and stay away from the danger zones. Without values, its like wondering into a no-mans land without a compass, without a guide. Falling down and getting up again is part and parcel of life. Never give up as its NORMAL to have things don’t go your way. There may be opportunities else where.
Also lets not get too complacent with things- as those comfort areas can be at risk too. Look for areas of improvement. Get honest feedback. You may get unexpected feedback which may sound a little too harsh, especially if they are from total strangers who judges and punishes you, take it positively and optimistically. You know, we are the best filters. Let in what you want, and deflect those which you think will give rise to negative and skeptical emotions. We don’t need negative people to be pulling us down when we are actually trying our best to progress. They are best left unattended because what they really aspire is to see us react to them. So, leave them alone and hopefully they will leave you alone. What goes around comes around.
Like Van Damme and the rest of you, I have had my fair share too. So I am taking a step back to reflect on the musings of 2013 and see how I can improve for the better. To all my friends who have positively motivated me, thank you. You know who you are. To my readers who have followed me through the years I’ve been writing, thank you. (again, many silent readers. but that is what makes you and I special!). Have a nice week ahead everybody [and I hope you get to clear the junks!] !