Decluttering Your Commitments

Several years ago there was a home improvement show that helped homeowners declutter their house and remodel one of the rooms in their home. I don't recall the name of the show. However, I remember that they would roll out tarp and demarcate three distinct groups as they were decluttering: "Keep," "Trash," and "Donate." A flag signified each area so that it was clearly marked which category the items should go towards.

Homeowners had to make choices. Many of these homeowners displayed quite a bit of agony moving their items from "Keep" to "Trash" or "Donate." It was hard to let go of some articles they had held on to for some time. However, by the end of the episode, they didn't miss these items at all. They were thrilled with the new layout of the room and the lack of clutter.

I've been thinking of this show lately, and talking about it with clients as it relates to commitments. Many folks -- myself included -- lament that there is not enough time in the day. I've started to maintain that it's less about time management as it is commitment management. We commit to too many things, and then find ourselves without enough time to fully enjoy or complete those commitments.

So, back to my show. What if we applied the Keep/Trash/Donate decluttering principle to our commitments? As we look at what is on our calendars, what do we really need to keep? What can we trash or not attend to? What can we donate, or in this case, delegate and ask for help?

I've been playing with this idea lately. When I agree to do something, I ask myself why I'm agreeing to it. Is it something that truly feels me with joy? (Marie Kondo would be so proud.) Is it something I absolutely must do? Is it something that I can delegate to someone else? For example, it's tax season. I hate doing my taxes. I'd rather walk across hot coals than get out a calculator and work with numbers. But I have no choice, I must file taxes. This is one of those commitments that I prefer to delegate and ask for help on. That frees up some time for me to spend on another activity. I feel better already.

There is a finite amount of time in our days and lifetime -- it's up to us how we fill those days. It's up to us how we will manage our commitments. What will you keep, trash, or donate?