Blog: Minimizing Financial Clutter
The Secret to Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing
Do you ever get the feeling that someone is trying to tell you something?
I'm currently in the process of reading three different books (Having a "Mary" Heart in a "Martha" World, Feel the Fear…and Do It Anyway, and Younger Next Year) and attending a series of online lectures by "time management" experts. And all four of those sources of information have been telling me the same thing this week. Is it some weird Halloween-related coincidence? I don't think so.
The Christian book, the psychology book, the health book, and the time management guru are all telling me the same thing that Stephen Covey, author of the 7 Habits series, said:
"The main thing is to keep the "Main Thing" the "Main Thing".
You have to decide what is most important to you, and then commit to taking daily action to make it happen.
Each of us has one or more "cornerstones" in our life – the people, beliefs, or activities that are most important to us. Yet, there are many other people, beliefs, and activities that may also be somewhat attractive to us. But we have to choose; we can't do it all or have it all – at least not at the same time. We each have to decide on our individual priorities and be at peace about putting the rest aside.
But – simply deciding is not enough. I may have decided that I want to be physically fit and healthy, but unless I commit to taking action to make it happen – it won't happen. (I found that out many years ago, when I noticed that paying the gym membership fee every month, but not actually going to the gym, didn't cause me to lose any weight.) What is commitment? Commitment is doing the most important things before you do the things that are less important. I don't know about you, but I can procrastinate with the best of them when it comes to doing some of those "important, but uncomfortable" tasks that I have decided are priorities. Exercise? Yeah, it's important. I'll get to it – right after I wash a load of clothes, check my e-mail, and play a game of solitaire on the computer. No. True commitment is doing those important things FIRST. True commitment means doing those important things even when I don't feel like doing them, or when I'm afraid of doing them.
I think the most important lesson I learned this week was the necessity to take daily action on my priorities. Repetition is the only thing that builds habits. And it is our habits, not our intermittent stabs at something, that will help us achieve our goals and priorities. For me, daily action means scheduling time for 30-60 minutes of daily aerobic physical activity. Every day – for the rest of my life.
Now, let's relate this to living an organized life.
Many of my clients tell me how important their families and friends are to them. They would do anything for the people they care about. They dream about being able to have their loved ones over for parties and dinners in their clutter-free homes. Unfortunately, for some of them, dreaming is as far as they go. The successful clients, however, realize that in order for their dream to come true, they will have to make some hard choices. They decide to eliminate some things and activities that are not true priorities for them. They commit to creating and executing a plan to organize their homes. And they schedule sufficient time to clear the backlog as well as daily time to maintain their homes.
Does this sound difficult? Consider this: We each have the same number of hours in our day. The difference between those of us who live life according to our priorities and those of us who don't is what we choose to do in each moment of choice. Do we spend hours in front of the TV instead of opening our mail and paying our bills? Or do we treat our household management as our "job", and do it whether we feel like it or not?
We are not victims. We have the ability to decide our priorities. We have the ability to commit to them. And we have the ability to develop the daily habits necessary to achieve the results we seek.
posted on: 11/2/2008 11:30:00 AM by Katherine Trezise
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Katherine Trezise is president of Absolutely Organized, based in Baltimore, MD. She is president-elect of the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization. Katherine holds a masters degree in business administration, is a Certified Professional Organizer® and a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®. Absolutely Organized specializes in helping people organize their homes, paperwork and financial records to make room in their lives for the things, people and activities that are most important to them.