If there is one thing I can look back on and finally appreciate, it’s my mother telling me to pick up my shit and not to be a fuckin slob. As insulted as I was upon hearing such an offensive jab at my basic cleanliness, the 16 year old me still knew there must be more to these demands than to just boss me around.
It took a lot of years after my teens before I finally realized what an impact keeping up with a few basic chores can do for ones drive to succeed and really lead a happy life. This is not an article about how to clean your house. There is plenty of info on that with just a quick Google search. Rather this is a reminder that the little things can make a huge impact even when you don’t realize it until after the fact.
It typically takes a lot of work to achieve the goals you set out to do, but if one is to shift their focus just a little bit you can lift the burden of too much to do and not enough time. This is a BIG deal when it comes to your mental state. If you often feel overwhelmed and have a hard time getting going on the things you know you need to get done then I hope you take a few ideas from this and apply them in your own life.
First of all grasp the fact that blaming anybody else but yourself for whatever is going on in your life may be convenient and possibly true, but will serve absolutely zero purpose in moving forward. So suck it up and decide to make the change. I believe everybody has an ever changing routine they need to pay attention to and work on. Some things in your routine may stay the same through out your life (Wake up, shower, brush teeth etc..) while others may change every few months.
If you are the type of person that gets a sense of satisfaction when your home or living space is clean and organized then the following simple ideas will improve your drive to accomplish everything want and need to do.
Step 1: Pen to paper
You don’t need to make a gigantic daunting list of everything in your world that needs to be done. Pick a few things you would (like) to get done and put them on a sheet of paper. I recommend item number one is figure out what makes you feel motivated in the first place. For me a clean house makes it easy to focus when I sit down and figure out what I (need) to get done. Less chaos around you equals less chaos in your mind. This is something that once done right, is only a few minutes a day to maintain. I have kids it can still be done, just figure out what works for you.
My wife and I have recently taken a more minimalist approach to our home. This has been one change in my routine that has tremendous benefits. We did not just go through our house and throw everything away, but instead slowly went through and really looked at what we need and use and got rid of the rest. Also this is a work in progress and will be for a while. This helps you appreciate the things you own which in turn let’s you get out of a store without buying unnecessary crap you think you need. Another side effect is that I now know where everything is. Until recently I didn’t realize how much energy was spent looking for (stuff.)
Step 2: Awareness
Pay attention to your surroundings. You wouldn’t wander into the street without looking both ways. A simple skill you picked up, likely from your parents as a child, so why would you do anything without looking both ways. If you start with the little things you can quickly develope one of the most valuable skills anyone can have. Make your bed in the morning and discover a lone sock under the covers, you have just saved yourself the irritation of that missing sock when you do laundry. Though this example may seem silly, it is intended simply to point out that that the two seconds it took to pick it up and toss it in the laundry saved time and mental frustration in the long run. It is not difficult and does not need to consume your mind all day. Just occasionally check yourself through out the day and you will soon see many opportunities you may have been missing or simply been unprepared for previously.
Step 3: Love the process
Eric Thomas put this out there in a way that really resonated with me. In short when you have a goal or task that requires more work than just picking up your house, really spend some time educating yourself on the needs that must be met to get there. Get yourself excited about doing all the steps. It takes some practice but if you start to do it you will understand that it feels good overcoming all the obstacles in your way. And when it sucks, it sucks but push through and know that persistence will get you there.
Step 4: Stop worrying
This was and sometimes still is a tough pill to swallow because it is so easy to worry. What people think, am I doing a good job, why do people on Instagram always look like they enjoy life more than me. Fuck all that. We are aloud to worry a little here and there but if you have the time to worry about everything all the time it’s likely because you are not actively working towards something of your own. If you find yourself in a worried state take a mental note of what triggered it then start educating yourself on easing those feelings into something productive. For me I like to handle those feelings like this: “what am I worried about, I am a tiny spec on a larger blue spec floating through space. I will do things that are productive and make me feel good because that is what is important to me. I’m not perfect and others can judge me however they want.”
Then I’ll plan a vacation in my mind that I may or may not ever take.
Step 5: Take to the web.
As you likely found this post, taking to the web is a powerful tool that our parents or grandparents did not have access to in their day. There is so much fantastic inspiration on the web for the taking. You have the incredible benefits of just searching, picking out ideas you like and trying them out. Trial and error is the key for picking fruit from this tree. Pick an idea that gets you excited educate yourself and try it out. If one idea doesn’t work toss it and grab another. There has never been an easier way to get information. Don’t be afraid to try as many as you want just keep at it until you find things that will push you to grow.
At the end of the day there are a thousand different ways to build a happy life. And what works for me may not work for you. Keep in mind that millions of people have done it before you and you can too. Keep searching don’t quit and don’t be afraid to change your routine.
The act of cleaning up for me is a great way to kickstart the “get it done mentality.” I hope you can find yours.