By Carmen Coker
A popular Zen parable tells of a Wanderer who happened upon a raging river. He wanted to cross it, but there was no bridge.
Afraid to wade across the river on foot with such a strong current, he spent hours building his own raft from vines and trees, which ultimately carried him safely to the other side.
However, once across the river, he thought to himself: “This is a good raft; I might need it again if I must forge another river.”
So the Wanderer carried the raft with him for the rest of his life.
The Big Reveal
From the outside looking in, the Wanderer’s decision might seem ridiculous. Why would this obviously resourceful guy carry a heavy raft around when he didn’t need to do so?
Often times, we make this same decision in our own life. In doing so, we hang on to something that was useful at one point but has since become irrelevant clutter.
Now, your “rafts” may come in various shapes and forms – maybe it’s too many commitments, maybe it’s a poor-fit household routine, or maybe it’s too much stuff. No matter, the underlying question remains the same: Is this clutter in your schedule, in your work, in your life holding you back?
The Ins & Outs
It’s important to be fiercely protective of not only your time and how you spend it, but also your space and what you bring into it. Wise decisions about your time and space allow you to preserve these precious resources, whereas foolish decisions can do just the opposite.
No one wants to play the fool! So to help you make those wise decisions – and help you release the “rafts” that are taking over your calendar, wasting your time, and diminishing your space – answer these five questions:
1. What areas of my home/work life could benefit from systems like checklists, automation, etc?
2. What commitments no longer support my top priorities and should be erased from my calendar?
3. Where does clutter stop me from enjoying and/or fully utilizing my home/office space, and how can the clutter be removed?
4. Where do I waste time and/or procrastinate throughout the day, and how can I stop doing so?
5. What are the biggest things about my life that I/my family complain about, and how can I/we smartly resolve these issues?
The Bottom Line
“Rafts” that clutter your mind, your time, and your space (amongst others!) are all stumbling blocks to your best life. A highly organized and productive person understands that doing less and having less often means creating more time and space for the things that truly matter.
So…where can you remove clutter that may be hindering your quality of life?
Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. Thousands of busy people have benefited from her expertise featured by CBS, NBC, The Washington Post and Real Simple magazine – now it’s your turn! If you want to get organized and calm the chaos in your life, go to CarmenCoker.com for her free video how-to called the Secrets of the Super Organized™.