Tag Archives: focus

Control Your Focus, Be More Productive!

“Don’t look back. That’s not where you are going.” Those are the wise words of Shirley T.IMG_3564 Burke, motivational speaker and my good friend. She is referring to looking back at your past. I completely agree with that statement when trying to move ahead in life. However, when I was shoveling snow yesterday, looking back actually helped me keep going.

Shoveling snow is one of those really boring, exhausting tasks that can be overwhelming. If I looked forward I felt overwhelmed by how much there was to do. But, if I looked back I could see and celebrate the progress that I had made. I got through the shoveling by glancing forward for a few seconds every now and then to keep my eye on my goal. Most of my time was spent with my head town shoveling and looking back at my progress. The success I’d already achieved motivated me to keep going.

The same strategy can be used for any big task you must do.

  • Set your sights on your goal.
  • Manage your overwhelm and negative thoughts like, “I’ll never get this done,” or “It’s just too much,” by only occasionally glancing at the distance to the finish line.
  • Keep your head down and work.
  • Frequently look back to notice how much you have gotten done.
  • Celebrate your success and keep moving forward.

You too can strategically look back to manage overwhelm and motivate yourself to move forward on any task, even boring tasks like shoveling snow.

Clutter Clearing: Getting Started on P.E.N.S

My clients are so creative! Recently a client referred to a cluttered area of DSCN0882
her house as a P.E.N. That’s a term I’d never heard of in my many years of clutter clearing. So, I asked for a translation. I learned that a P.E.N. is a Place of Extreme Nastiness.

A P.E.N. is a wonderfully creative way to say “hot spot” or “clutter nightmare.” I’m going to venture a guess that most of us have at least one spot in our homes that could be called a P.E.N. When places get to the point of extreme nastiness it can be VERY hard to start clutter clearing.

Why? Because nasty energy is the opposite of inviting. Most of us want to avoid anything nasty. It’s also normal to find the negative energy of a nasty place overwhelming.

So, how do you get started clearing clutter from a P.E.N.? Control your focus.

The mistake that many people make is to focus on how bad, how difficult or how nasty a space is, clearly a negative focus, rather than focusing on what’s possible if the space is improved or eliminated. Bad, difficult and nasty shut you down. The vision of a clean and organized laundry room where you can easily and comfortably get your laundry done will more likely motivate you to take action.

Is your bed good feng shui?

You want a peaceful place to rest and sleep.

Focus on what you want and what good can come from clearing out a P.E.N., and you’ll find motivation to push past the nastiness. Take a deep breath and look over the nasty to find an action you can take to begin clutter clearing. Once you are off and running with the clutter clearing, the nastiness will naturally decrease.

Distraction: How You Get off the Right Track and Get Back On

I sat down at my computer today intending to update my website with speeches I will be doing.

Just say no to side trips.

Just say no to side trips.

Instead of going directly to my work, I opened my email. Big mistake! 

In one email my step-sister recommended Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande, a book that could help me on my journey as caregiver for my mother with Alzheimers. Instead of going to my real work I thought, “I’ll just quickly order the Kindle version.” After I’d ordered it I noticed that it did not appear on Kindle on my phone. Another problem to be solved! And, a possibility for distraction.

Had I not been aware of the more important goal, posting my speeches, I could have gone further down that rabbit hole, trying to make sure I had the book. I could have wasted another 30-60 minutes trying to get that book to show up on my Kindle.

Instead I paused. In that pause I asked myself, “What is most important right now? “What is the best use of my time right now? Solving the Kindle problem was definitely not most important. So, to get back on track, and not lose sight of the need to make sure the book did download to my Kindle, I wrote Being Mortal on a post-it note and put it where I could see it on my desk. That note would remind me to fix that problem later, after I’d accomplished some important items on my to do list.

How often do you get snagged by a compelling yet unimportant task in the grander scheme of things, chewing up time on tasks that won’t get you where you really want to go? You may have the illusion that you’re working, when all you’re really doing is enjoying a nice side trip, avoiding important tasks.

Before you sit down to work, identify your big rocks, those important tasks that if done will move you forward. Then, when a tempting side trip shows up — and they will, you can remind yourself that it will cost you time, brain power and energy. With that awareness you can postpone the trip until after the accomplishment of some important tasks. By the way, side trips make great rewards for completion of important tasks, but only if you limit the time you spend on them.

Beware of side trips! They eat your time and keep you stuck. Keep your focus on your big rocks, and enjoy the ride into greater productivity, well-being, and enhanced self-esteem.

Getting Conscious About Big Blocks to Productivity

Mom and Mark

Have you ever noticed that you can’t get some things done until you’ve leaped other hurdles? Some tasks take up so much psychic energy that they make any other task that takes some mental energy seem impossible. For example, I recently took my mom to Connecticut to visit my disabled brother, Mark. It was Mom’s first trip anywhere for almost four years. Even though I’d made all the travel arrangements and had made the trip many times before, this was the first time I was taking my mother to Connecticut since I’d become aware that she has some serious cognitive deficits. Because of her age and her deficits, I had no idea how she would do on the trip. Would it exhaust her? How would she behave? How would I handle managing Mark, whose brain injuries have left him with mobility and behavioral issues that can be challenging, AND my mother? After all, I was the conductor of the Connecticut symphony–the Mom and Mark visit.

I had no idea how big a psychic block that trip was until I got home. I felt so relieved! Even after a grueling nine and a half hour drive back, I had energy. After unpacking and settling back in to my life at home, I was excited and energized about getting back to my business, to writing and working to promote my new membership site.

The same thing happened when I was preparing to give the “Move That Mountain: Clutter Clearing Tips for Staying the Course to Completion” speech. It was a new speech, and typically new speeches are tough to create and present. It’s a risk to step out of my comfort zone and present new material. It was as if I was getting ready to give birth to some new information, information that is near and dear to my heart, information that is difficult to present. I was feeling anxious about whether the way I planned to present it would work and whether I’d be giving my audience information they would value. That was big psychic clutter! I had some other important items on my to do list that I just could not focus on until I’d presented that speech. Once the speech was done, I rested briefly, and then was off and running again–tackling writing projects that had been waiting for weeks.

Have you got any big obstacles blocking your forward progress? What can you do today to move them out of your path? If moving them isn’t an option, know that when they’re gone you’ll likely enjoy a pleasant burst of energy from having leaped those hurdles.

© 2012 Clutter Clearing Community | Debbie Bowie


Want Focus? Clear Clutter!

I’m sure many of you who have been following me for some time think I am a broken record with my constant urging to clear clutter. I can’t help myself! Almost every time I work with a client who allows me to help her clear a significant amount of clutter from her home, I get a report of the concrete benefits of clutter clearing. It’s one of the best, most doable things you can do at home to reduce stress and move your life forward.

This week I worked with a special woman who is ready for a new chapter in her life. She wants to reconnect with her inner artist and reclaim making art as a way to feed her soul. Her biggest obstacle to making art is not having a space set up to do the work. In the process of claiming a space to do art we began clearing and organizing two large storage closets in her finished attic. Great quantities of outdated financial documents were released as well as old frames, camping equipment, books and other belongings. The day after our clearing I happened to call this client with a question. With enthusiasm and high energy she thanked me for my help the day before and said, “I’ve just been so focused today!”

Are you wanting to be able to focus on what is really important in your life? One way to get more focused is to clear out anything you no longer love or use. The energy of those useless items communicates with you whether you are conscious of their existence or not. When you remove them from your space, you are eliminating their distracting energy. Try it! Clear clutter to clear those distracting energies. You may find you can better focus on what is most important.

© 2012 Clearing Clutter for Good Online Program | Debbie Bowie

“Author, Organizing Expert and Feng Shui Practitioner, Debbie Bowie, is a leading authority on clutter clearing to attract more of what you want in life. If you’re ready to clear clutter and move your life forward, get your FREE TIP SHEET, “Feng Shui Tips for Instant Success” at www.letcluttergo.com.