Four Phases to Declutter, Create Space, and Achieve Goals

My week of Creating Space was a lesson in learning what is attainable! There were many positives like following a tight schedule and getting more done than I think I would have, but the stressful part was attempting to get it all done when life steps in.

In addition, I had this huge goal of finishing my novel to get it to the printer. That definitely ate up a lot of my time, but was part of a my business plan.

My Create Space project needed to be broken down into four phases that I will schedule for the rest of this month.

Phase One–Declutter & Clean–Go through each room and get rid of what I didn’t like, need or use. This involves removing everything, checking for doubles like having 6 wooden spoons in my kitchen drawer and 100 pens!

Handle it once. Give it away, donate it, or sell it. Right now some boxes are still in my dining room, so that is on the to do list. Cleaning each room as I went through helped to break up the monotony and emotional struggle of decluttering. All my windows have been washed, which felt good.

I didn’t finish any particular room completely. So in the future, I would declutter and clean each room as a specific goal. For example, take two days to declutter my bedroom, closet, and bathroom. Then detail clean if needed. Then that room is complete.

Phase Two–Files and Binders–This should really be first for me, because part of the reason why I took on this project was to clean my office, clear my files and teaching binders, so they were organized and the lesson plans and handouts were easily accessible.

This phase will take a full week, and I will specifically break down this goal for the week of July 23.

Phase Three–Index Journals–This is more about creating accessible history and finding entries easily. I only started indexing my journals two years ago, so I have years of journals that aren’t titled or indexed. Part of this plan is to do just that.

In addition, I currently write a separate journal to my sons, but I had previous entries mixed in with my personal journals. I managed to mark those. I will make this a project to transcribe them into separate journals. I only have a few, so this might be a winter goal.

Phase Four–Digital Decluttering and Organizing–The best way to avoid this is to go through my photos and files and get rid of what doesn’t work each month! I was great about this when I first got my Mac, but five years later I’m overloaded! I did manage to create some space, but it’s disorganized. I get very frustrated when I can’t find a file or photo. I am uploading my files and photos to Google and am doing it in what I think is an organized manner.

I need a week to do this right. I haven’t set a goal for this yet, but since my computer is vital to my job, it has to be done in the next couple of weeks.

I also made a list of what I needed to replace or never purchased–like curtains in my bedroom and now my office.

But back to my main reason for creating space–building an efficient and effective business. Next week I will focus on my files and binders. Then I will have the space to create my book promotion for Saving Atlantis, which will be published this fall.

Here is what I managed to finish:

 

Was my Create Space plan SMART?

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Click on photo for more ways to accomplish goals by Pishon Design Studio

Specific–I was very specific in what I wanted to get done and what I would do each day. That helped me to be extremely productive.

Measurable–Crossing items off my list never felt so satisfying, even though part of me was bummed for not getting everything done.

Attainable–I have to put half of what I want to get done in my calendar, because it always takes so much longer. I have a tendency to add in too much work. But at least I have a guideline to follow and know what needs to get done.

Realistic–Not in one week! Another is Relevant–I should have stuck to the ultimate reason I wanted to do this–for my business and I probably could have had my office done.

Time-based–I will break down the rest of my Create Space into longer time periods.

The most important part of my week was that I made time to take care of myself. When I chose to exercise or be with my family, I truly enjoyed those moments. I was mindful of my decisions.

Thank you to everyone who encouraged me online and in person. You held me accountable and gave great advice!

What is your goal and how are you going to achieve it? Start today!

Day Four–Digital Create Space

Sometimes you are forced to make space, because nothing else will fit. This is where I’m at with my macbook. I’ve had it for five years and this is all the space I have left.

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I can no longer download photos or back up my phone. So this morning I worked on my book, carefully editing each page by reading it out loud.

Then I transferred videos and quite a few photos onto Google Drive and deleted them from my computer. It’s very time consuming. While my computer was expelling data, I went through my journals. This was more of an organizing project than creating space. I had journaled to my boys and for myself using the same journals. My plan is to separate them. First, they were messy and Stephen would never be able to read them. Second, they were in the midst of my personal writing, and I didn’t want Stephen to have to read them if he really didn’t want to.

Today, I identified pages written to him and Nick. Now I will set aside time each week to transcribe it into separate journals. It’s a process.

I now have 29 GB free on my computer, but I’m not stopping until I get through my files and photos. There’s so much junk and photos that aren’t clear! The only problem with automatically saving your photos to the Cloud or Google is that all the bad photos gets placed there as well.

It’s becoming clear that my Create Space week may take most of the month, so the rest of life doesn’t get backed up.

A wonderful part of my work today was that I could do it outside in the beautiful weather.

My self-care included walking my dogs and going for a motorcycle ride with Stephen, who is a new rider. It’s a special day in a mom’s life when her son asks her to go riding with him. Life is good!

It’s not over yet! Tomorrow more editing and transferring files!

Day Three–Closets Create Space

Full disclosure. I did not venture into the closets today. My morning began in the usual fashion. I was almost finished with the edits that my fantastic proofreaders found in Saving Atlantis. I had to get it done. Then self-care could not be ignored, so I went to Lynn’s wonderful Baptiste class. I was with Karen, one of the proofreaders, and I had some questions about her comments. We discussed it over refreshments at Uncommon Grounds.

I came home, finished the edits. The 10th draft is looming over my head. Time to reread the manuscript. Then I filled out an application for the Albany Book Festival in September, which is important for my business.

By that time, Stephen came home, and we watched the end of the World Cup Soccer semi-finals. I won’t go into my disappointment that England lost.

I had promised Luke I would go on a date with him to a car show. We rode our motorcycles, talked to Camaro enthusiasts, and ate dinner. We saw our friend’s new motorcycle–Fat Bob and of course had to go over every detail! I walked the dogs and now it’s 9:30pm.

I thought about the closets and feel like they aren’t a high priority, but they are on the list. What to do? I could berate myself for falling off the create space wagon or I can give myself a break and start over tomorrow.

I still have editing to do and tomorrow is cleaning bathroom cabinets, indexing my journals, and transferring personal files to storage to create that essential space on my computer. I’m falling behind, but I did leave some time on Saturday to make up for whatever I didn’t get done.

Even though I didn’t do what was scheduled, I had a great day. I want to share a book I’m reading about having less to make room for what matters. It’s called The Year of Less by Cait Flanders. She doesn’t necessarily give you a guidebook on how to live with less and be happier. It’s more of a memoir on why she decided to put restrictions on her purchasing and how living simply helped her mentally and physically.

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I’m not quite finished, so the rest of the evening will be filled searching for inspiration in a book!

Day Two–Kitchen Create Space

Can you tell I’m decluttering? It felt more like adding to the chaos today. Day two of creating space was challenging. I thought the kitchen would be fast and easy. How wrong I was! It was difficult to stay focused. I had some foundation items to take care of, and I’m still editing Saving Atlantis. I find setting a strict schedule is forcing me to be efficient, but I physically can’t do what I had planned in one day.

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I took this photo when I had to take a break. It’s my whole life in a nutshell, but I love that my journal just happened to be in the midst of the storm. Enjoy the little things. So very true.

I had the pleasure of talking with one of my lovely nieces, I walked the dogs, lifted weights, and took time to enjoy the evening sky.

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Back to business. Anything that was chipped, not used in years, or didn’t serve me any longer were placed in boxes for Stephen’s apartment and donating. I got caught up in changing where I placed my dishes and glassware. They were switched a few times, but we’ll see how it goes!

I left my storage container area for last. I didn’t take a picture of it, because I believe it would burn your eyes. Just ask my sister, Michele, who has seen it first hand. But I will show you the results!

 

 

 

I love that there is so much space. My good dishes were way up high, and I always forgot what I had to use for those special occasions.

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All my storage containers were placed mostly at eye level. It looks so neat, doesn’t it? We’ll see how long it lasts. I like to have the tops on the containers, because it takes so much time to find the cover. It takes up more space, but saves my sanity.

My utensil drawers drove me absolutely nuts! I had about 30 pens mixed in with serving spoons, 20 coupons for Venezia’s Pizza, (which went to Stephen), post-it notes, paper clips, and bad batteries. I kept only what I needed and got rid of the rest.

I cleaned the front of the fridge, but will do the inside this weekend. I still need to clean the outside of my cabinets, the appliances, and the counter will need a good scrubbing. So far my office and my kitchen aren’t quite where I need them to be, but keeping to my schedule definitely kept me on task. I accomplished much more than I had hoped.

I’m not getting to transferring my computer files to create needed storage space on my computer. I had scheduled this for the evenings, but I will do this on a separate week.

I feel good about where I am in the process! I am hearing from a lot of you who are decluttering. Let me know how it’s going and if you have any helpful tips!

Day One–Office Create Space

I made it through the first day of creating space in my life and home. I decided to go with the highest priority and clear out my office. Anything I decided to throw away, recycle, or place in a different storage place was handled once. I knew if I put boxes in the kitchen, they would still be there.

By 1pm, there still wasn’t much room on the floor. I felt slightly overwhelmed, but I had cleaned the closet, the drawers, and my bookcase. I managed to clean out my cabinet, remove boxes and throw out a couple bags of garbage and fill the recycling bin halfway. I even cleaned out my desk!

My current office was Nick’s bedroom. I still had his martial arts decor and many of his clay and ceramic figurines on my bookshelf. I decided that part of creating space was changing the decor to reflect my personality. I felt sick to my stomach removing his throwing stars, nunchucks, dragon banner, and his clay creations. I took photos of all his items, so I have those memories. I removed his burgundy and black curtains and packed them in a box. I went into the spare room to find his matching sheets and couldn’t find them. If you saw the room, you would understand why. It has been the catch all place for everyone.

I was frustrated I couldn’t find it, so tried again before I brought the box downstairs. I caught sight of it under some artwork. When I lifted the papers, I found my leather vest that has been missing for a couple of months! I laughed, because if I hadn’t decided to change the decor it would have taken me a while longer to find my vest. It was like Nick was letting me know it was all right.

True to my self-care schedule, I went to Sheryl’s Baptiste class at 4:30pm. Sheryl taught a heart opening class, and it was perfect for my intention. Open space for something new. I felt fabulous after class. The day was going well.

After yoga, I got distracted by dinner, but I accomplished a lot. I still need to decorate the room, create a cozy meditation area, and go through my business and writing files. This last part is going to be done next week I think. It will be a longer process, but I have the space to do it now.

I feel good. Tomorrow is the kitchen. This will be easier I hope! The only flaw is I planned to clean out the fridge, but I just went food shopping yesterday! So the family will be charged with eating a lot this week and it will get moved to the weekend action plan.

Thank you for your support! Love the encouraging words!

Create Space–Tracking Goals

I woke up this morning with a renewed clarity for my business. It stemmed from the goal tracking I’ve been working on for the last couple months for myself and my journal workshops.

Last month in journaling class, we worked on specific goals. This included what accomplishing that goal would mean to us, why we were doing it, what was standing in our way, and what detailed steps were needed to achieve this goal. Of course a deadline was included. The goals ranged from self-care, losing weight, writing a book, and planning a trip.

I did this for general self-care, which included journaling, lowering or eliminating gluten and dairy, as well as increasing exercise, and meditation. It’s still a work in progress, but I have been tracking it and journaling how I feel physically and mentally.

However, I also wanted to Create Space in my personal life (home) and my business (office). I have written many times about having too many balls in the air. I have recently tossed some to others or to the side. As a result, I have chaos throughout my workspace and home.

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Need I say more? Embarrassing, but I’m going for full disclosure here & I want to see if this process of using my journal works.

Over the last couple weeks, I identified what I wanted to accomplish–clearing specific rooms, cleaning them, throwing away clutter, and organizing papers and files. What stood in my way was time, the sheer enormity of the project, fear, and still having to work.

I broke it down into clearcut areas. I rearranged my schedule to take this week off (so if you don’t hear from me, you know why). Each morning I am committed to editing my book, because that is still on a deadline.

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I want to do this, because my goal is to have a successful publishing/writing business and a healthy and empowering personal life with less stress from the mess!

I’ll journal about the process each day and what clearing this space means to me and why fear comes up. I think it’s because once this is done nothing is standing in my way, so the fear of failure looms, but lets see what happens!

I have my support group and scheduled yoga and walks mixed in to keep me centered and sane.

Each part of this process is broken into specific daily steps. Today’s goal: J9’s office space!

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The details even came down to specific meals for the week and moving a meeting.

 

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Keeping it positive, light, and bright are essential for getting the work done. Daily mantras will be huge!

I’ll circle around each night to let you know how it goes. Wish me luck!

June Month in Review

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June went by in a flash.

It always starts quick with a weeklong venture to the Americade Motorcycle Rally in Lake George. Luke, friends, and I rode motorcycles back and forth to Lake George each day. We demoed bikes from manufacturers, walked around, and met other bikers. It’s always a cold and rainy week, but we plowed through and had a great time.

We rode bikes by day and roller coasters at night that week, because our annual Gillette Carnival fundraiser was the same week. It made for lots of goodness and by the end of the week, I was wiped out.

Because I habitually have so much on my plate, I had to get the eighth draft of The Puzzle Quests: Saving Atlantis done, so my illustrator, Danielle LeBlanc, knew the page count for the spine and another set of readers could look for those nitty gritty mistakes. There are still quite a few, so you know what I’m doing in July.

By mid-June, I was exhausted, overwhelmed, and emotionally spent. Yet I was determined to find balance and self-care. In my adult journal workshop, we worked on setting goals and tracking it to support our purpose. Doing this with everyone clarified what I wanted to focus my time on, who I wanted to spent time with, and what I needed to do to make it happen.

If there is one think I have learned, it’s to ask for help. Volunteers, friends, and my wonderful husband joined in to help with fundraisers, get me to yoga, and simplify the rest of my summer.

Balancing work, play, and self-care has always been a conundrum for me, and I think many people feel the same way.

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I took this picture of three balancing rocks while I was with my husband for a soccer tournament in the middle of June! It reminded me of what I juggle in my life. In order for these rocks to maintain balance, there has to be a secure and firm foundation.

The three rocks represent my purpose, family, and life. My purpose is what I’m passionate about, my higher calling, which is to bring hope through my books and teaching writing. In order to do this, I need to take care of myself, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

The next rock is my family. I am extremely family oriented. I have my husband, sons (one here and one in my heart), siblings, my mom, nieces, nephews, and and friends who are my chosen family. I love to spend time with all of them and have to balance how often I can see them and how I can help them when needed. Love is the ultimate reason why I’m here, and I express this to my family as often as I can.

The most precarious rock is life. It’s what happens along the way as I try to take care of myself, fulfill my purpose, spend time with my family and friends, and be the best I can be. When life throws me a curve or throws me off a cliff, I have to trust my foundation of family, friends, and purpose.

Then I can rebalance and start over.

July will be a month of simplifying, clearing space in my life and my physical space, in order to create in a more positive atmosphere. Completing the ninth draft of Saving Atlantis, and enjoying my beautiful family. Reflecting back on each month keeps me on my path and makes me grateful for this practice.

How was your month of June? Review, reflect, and do what serves you best!