How to finish whatever you start….
Most often, people with a clutter problem are anxious to get started, and that’s entirely understandable. They’ve built up a head of steam in the form of frustration, and feel that they just can’t stand the mess for another minute. Now that’s very useful energy, but it’s generally short lived. It might sustain you through a quick tidy up if things aren’t that bad but it’s unlikely to carry you through a long and sustained sort out.
Think for a minute about how that frustration with clutter works. If that’s all you’ve got to go on, it’ll prompt you to clear whilst there’s a big mess. But what happens when the mess starts to disappear? The trouble with this energy is that as things get better, there’s actually less and less ‘fuel’ in the form of frustration, to get you to complete the job, and it’s very tempting to make the situation temporarily better, so that you can get on with other things.
There is actually another form of energy that you can tap into which is much more like a slow release carbohydrate than a quick sugar high. It also enables you to build up a head of steam, but unlike the first energy I talked about, it actually gets stronger and stronger over time, rather than petering out, as the clutter starts to disappear.
A lot of clutter books start with an assessment and some visualisation. And I’m guessing most people gleefully skip that part, but that’s generally their biggest mistake. You wouldn’t start on a long journey in the car without re-fuelling, and it’s the same with clearing clutter in any serious way. You’re going to need enough of the right type of fuel to see you through the process and you have to find that first.
The real purpose of all those visualisations is to provide you with that fuel. This is how it works. When you visualise what you’d like the space you’re clearing to look like, you create a goal and a real finish point that’s going to give you satisfaction. If you hold that image in your head as you clear, you’re moving towards what you want. And what happens when you get closer and closer to what you want? Well the last bits seem easy don’t they? With this energy, making a start might be slightly harder, but you actually gain momentum as you go on. After all if you were running a marathon, the first few miles might be hard, but you’d feel silly if you gave up with only a mile to go. That’s because you’re visualising the finish line, not aiming to get away from the start line.
This principle works with just about everything. If you really want to finish what you start, and finish it well, then the best preparation you can do, is see the task finished in your mind’s eye before you begin. That way, you’ll be ‘pulled’ to complete whatever you start, and it’ll feel easier and easier as you get towards the finish line.