How to Free The Mind from Pointless Cluttering
I am coming from a long period of pointless cluttering. For as long as I can remember, that is obviously not very long, I recall myself worrying. Constantly thinking of what I have to do, what I haven’t done yet which I should’ve done 3 days ago, and such stressful thoughts. It may be that it’s only the way I am as a person, or that I’m a college student; nonetheless, it gets very tiring. I’ve come to realize that, interestingly enough, the more you worry the less you get done.
Why do we worry?!
It’s important to understand why we worry and let me tell you: it’s because that’s how we’re brought up – at least most people. We’re constantly scolded when making mistakes so we develop this sort of paranoia of mistakes. I’m heavily, and I say that lighthandedly, paranoiac. Not in a very obsessive manner, but quite up there. I was brought up by a single mother and had many responsibilities as a kid, I always had to do something and make sure I did it well. Growing with this mentality has quite severely shaped me because it made me a perfectionist.
I had to do well in school, well in my personal life, well in everything. And if I didn’t, I was judged – mainly by myself. It is with these unhealthy reasons that I started becoming healthy. I worked out, but always aiming something perfect, something nonexistent. It’s obvious that the idea is unhealthy because it’s not achievable.
Keeping up with perfectionism
The oddity is that I managed to keep up with my perfectionism for the longest time. I kept my grades pretty much at bay all my schooling career (so cheesy), I was in a good shape, my relationships were alright, never dealt with much drama. However, life has a way to tell you when you are in the wrong, even if you don’t think so. So I had my job which went well for the most part, and then I left it. I left my other job too because I wanted to focus on writing and my well-being. But it kind of plunged me into other issues, the issue of having a lot of time for myself.
Realizing there is a problem
This one is the toughest part, actually admitting something has gone awry. And I did so just recently. I was sleeping to around 11:00 AM because my classes start at 12:30 PM every day. I was waking up and hurriedly getting ready. Eating something really quickly, not the healthiest. I would then go to class, obviously late. Not to mention, I studied very little this semester, except for in a class where we discussed something that completely intrigued me, The Vietnam War. Nonetheless, I didn’t exercise, nor did I read enough. Do you recognize a pattern? I was kind of procrastinating in everything and just not taking anything seriously.
My theory is that I just got tired of being a perfectionist. I still made lists and didn’t get things done, only to feel disappointed at myself. And I had the time to leverage in any way I wanted.
So, the other day I went on a date with my partner. I do love him for many reasons really, but one of them is that he is frank and honest. We discussed my issue, he knew I was very sensitive and it was very hard for me to accept that I was just holding on to unnecessary and pointless clutter. He told me to let go of things, to not grow them in my mind. Also, he told me some of the ways he deals with clutter, which made me reflect a lot.
Later on, I went out with an amazing person, my best friend from primary school. We hadn’t met in 7 hefty years. It was just absolutely heartwarming to meet her and to talk for many hours. We discussed so much and I just saw her, saw my childhood. She also reminded of my great passion and love for art. I was reminded that I had to focus on what matters, and that would make me feel much better, it would set me straight.
So, after I thought about it during the weekend, I decided to part with my bad habits that I’ve lately developed. I decided it’s time for me to make one list, which will be more general, and to truly free my mind from pointless cluttering. Here’s what I did and what I suggest:
Put things into perspective: Essentials
I believe that the best way to start to declutter is to determine what can’t be decluttered. I certainly can’t declutter:
Love & Family
Because there’s nothing that matters more to me (except for my spiritual health) than my interaction with the people I love most.
Because I’m already in this sh*t, right? (haha) Well, I’m finishing my 3rd year of studies, so unless I instantly become a millionaire, I’m categorizing this as a priority.
I really need to write and this is my current occupation – I’m a writer, a blogger. So I better focus on this. I’m planning to dedicate around 2hrs daily to the blog.
This is something I’ve been completely disengaged from and it’s something that brings me true peace, detachment from technology/screens (well, for the most part), and it grounds me in a very beautiful manner.
Develop Simple Routines
Yes, I still believe that routines are the way to go. Hey, I’m not going to completely change who I am. But the keyword here is “simple”. Because the more complicated your routine is, the less incentive you will have to follow it. I’ll sum up my routines below:
- Get up and wash the face (kind of obvious!)
- Work out (about 30-40 mins)
- Take a shower
- Make and eat breakfast
- Get dressed and ready
- Leave house
- Sketch or paint (occasionally read if I’m having an art block)
- Set my 3 small goals for the next day
- Skincare & teeth brushing
- Go to sleep
Tell people, put it out there
So, this is what I’m doing with this blog. I’m writing this post to tell my decisions which is something that really motivates people to keep up with what they said. It doesn’t have to be a platform or social media because for some people that feels just awkward, maybe because you live in a very judgy society like mine? It can be your parents or friends or anyone who will ask you sometime if you’re keeping up with your plan. If you keep it to yourself, you will always find your way out of it. But if you tell others, it’s almost a promise. And you won’t break your promise, will you?
Believe in your choices
This is the little secret ingredient to this decluttering “recipe”. If you don’t believe that your essentials and routine matter, that will show how well you will keep up with it. It’s also very recent for me, and I know that I may change some bits and pieces here and there, but I know it’s what I want and need in my life. No, I don’t want to be perfect in my routine, that’s why it’s quite simple. It’s only the essentials that I have to care for, I don’t need to think about my 2nd or 3rd level passions such as photography and all, at least not for now. I will let that be more of a spontaneous thing in my life. Whenever I want to do photography, I will – but I won’t feel bad for not doing it. Because there are only as many things as we can do and be good at. Which brings me to my last point:
This an issue most people are facing nowadays. They can’t focus because they’re trying to focus on too many things at the same time. Multitasking doesn’t work and it’s time you commit yourself to not even trying. Focus can have many forms. Focus on the tasks at hand when you’re doing something. Also, focus on your goals for the day or your long-term goals. Just don’t allow yourself to stray too much because that’s how you waste time and fill your mind with pointless things which turn you into a pointless cluttering machine. You don’t really have to do all the things you can do, you just have to choose what’s best for you and keep at it. At the end of the day, it’s persistence that will set you up for success.