American Heirlooms - March 2020


MARCH 2020


Editors’ Note: This is the first part of a two- part cover series on organization. Be sure to check out our April edition for part two. This time of year often inspires people to spruce up their space with a little spring- cleaning, but I would suggest “spring- cleaning” can be a lifestyle built around habits, rather than spending most of the year suffering from overwhelming clutter. I believe a lack of order is a tax on the human mind and a pile of open loops reminding you of incomplete tasks. So, indulge yourself in my thoughts on the freedom and effectiveness of clutter-busting. Like many people, I enjoy clean and organized spaces, and I once even hired someone to help me get more organized. This coach used the book “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” by David Allen as the backdrop for the lessons in creating a more productive space. After all, a fountain is far more productive when the rocks are removed. Allen’s book outlines multiple ways of getting to freedom through the habit of decluttering your life. Each one can be easily applied to any space. To start, one of the most common tactics is to use a calendar. A calendar is a structure to hang things on — things that are easily forgotten or weigh you down mentally as you try to remember them all. Rather

than keeping track of your responsibilities on a series of notes or hoping they stay in your memory, calendars keep all your commitments, appointments, and meetings in one space. This frees up your mind to do other tasks and keeps you on track. Another technique is to use a “sometime, maybe” list. As things come to mind, put these inspirations or reminders on this list. This allows you to make a later judgment about whether you want to invest the time in the items on your list. It does not serve as a guilt trip or reminder of things you “need” to get done. Instead, it’s a list of items you would like to accomplish but cannot make a priority at that moment. There could even be some things you believe you “should” do but will ultimately heal on their own after sitting and aging on this list. Other items will naturally present opportunities for you to accomplish them. Once you have your tasks and appointments organized, you then can begin to physically organize your space. In April, I’ll discuss how I have physically organized my space using Allen’s techniques and introduce a few more methods for decluttering. Regardless of which tactics you use, I’ve found that the beauty of organizing is you can adapt this system to fit into your life as you go. And while it may need to grow and

change as you and your situation do, having an organized system to “hang it on” will always be valuable.

–Ethan Zimmerman

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