February 4, 2016

Infomagical: Day 2 Debrief on Tidying Up

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A quick recap: on Day 1 of the Infomagical challenge, the morning podcast encouraged single-tasking for the day. My mind-jerk response was to think I was positioned for a grand slam. As it turns out, my single-tasking muscles need a bit more exercise (a bit = a lot). It was excellent learning. Check here if you’re curious to learn more about my Day 1 experience.

On Day 2, the podcast and its principles were based largely on Marie Kondo’s “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” The recommended tasks du jour included organizing your iPhone, Desktop, internet browsers, and even your house, based on Kondo’s principle of only hanging on to things that “spark joy.” I’m an enthusiastic supporter of this principle.

Unlike Day 1, my response to this call to action was a bit more grounded: I’m an electronic neat freak. No files hanging about on my computer’s desktop (everything is filed in folders under Documents), very few apps on my iPhone (I counted every app on my phone including the apps you can’t get rid of like the the camera or maps, and I have 53; the average is about 80 per device, according to Apple), and I only have a handful of pages bookmarked on my browser.

I felt good about my electronic tidiness, but I resisted the urge to wipe my hands of the assignment and skip off into the day. I allowed this challenge to lead me down a different path: the path of internal tidying.

Ultimately, I believe our physical spaces and objects – homes, offices, cars, clothes, electronics – can be a strong reflection of our interior world. They often showcase our preferences for design, where we place value, the way we want to interact with our families and friends, and how we see ourselves and want to be seen by others. For me, my physical spaces and my interior world are constant works in progress. So on Day 2, I spent a lot of time focused not on tidying electronics, but on the question of tidying* up on the inside.

*I’d like to note that I’m using the word tidy here a bit liberally. Please do not read tidy as perfect. For the purpose of this post, I’m using tidy in a Kondo-esque way: examined and digested in the pursuit of joy.

I wondered: How do we go about tidying our internal domain? And I feel very clear that honest self-examination is an excellent starting point. Here are a few internal-tidying ideas:

  • Create space for quiet reflection. Even if it’s inserting a 1-minute breathing exercise at the top of each hour. Choose something that feels achievable to start; set yourself up for success.
  • Ask yourself some of these questions: What’s true now? How do I feel? What am I noticing? What do I value? What is taking up space in my brain? How am I spending my time? How else would I like to be spending my time? What does your physical space say about your internal world?
  • Write your thoughts down. Writing is a powerful part of the process of decluttering your brain and getting real about what’s true for you. It also forces you to slow down a bit more compared to typing (I won’t throw any slow-typers under the bus here).
  • Pursue activities that are joy-inducing: what have you loved to do that you not longer make time for? What would you like to learn or try? What activities make you smile?

Focusing on a few of these questions yesterday did bring me joy (and clarity), and did in turn lead to creative openings. I’d love to hear what it’s like for you!

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