I don’t typically talk about work during my “off-hours”, but on Saturday night over a late meal with some old and new friends, we got into an interesting discussion about clutter–piles, stacks, folders, closets and shelves filled with old stuff you haven’t looked at (or used) in years. What prevents us from diving in and sorting through that stuff?
Everyone felt that it’s easy to put off dealing with that “junk” because there always seems to be much more valuable uses of our time. One fellow remarked that it’s easier to get rid of something you’ve only owned a week than something you’ve owned a year. Another observed that it’s harder to make decisions the deeper you go into the stacks—the first third of stuff is easy to toss, the next third you begin to waver, and by the last third you slow to a crawl, deliberating the merits of the tiniest receipt or paper clip.
My dinner partners agreed that digging through piles is unpleasant because it reminds you of things you didn’t do, promises you didn’t keep, goals abandoned. As long as you keep the piles (you unconsciously tell yourself), there’s still a chance of fulfilling those goals.
So—how do you motivate yourself to get the job done? Certainly, there are huge emotional benefits to releasing the clogged past. But I’d like to fortify your resolve by making a case for the financial rewards. As a professional organizer, who’s witnessed big payoffs with thousands of clients, I can assure you, there’s gold in them thar hills.
New York Times bestselling author Julie Morgenstern is an organizing and time-management expert, business productivity consultant and speaker. Her company, Julie Morgenstern Enterprises, is dedicated to using her philosophies and methods to provide a wide range of practical solutions that transform the way people and companies function.