Social Clutter and Full Calendars - Conny Graf

Today I want to talk about social clutter and add that to the mental clutter, and how we have as a result of those two an over-full calendar and endless to-do lists. 

The three areas thoughts, time and people work together and a shift in one area will create a shift in the others.

But be aware this category of clutter will take us into tender and possibly difficult territory, but bear with me, of course I am not suggesting that you don't honour your word or that you declutter your family and friends. 

But when you try to make everyone happy, you can end up being unhappy yourself.

You'll discover

Resources

  • If you want to know more about my background check out my about page
  • Check out the eBook From Chaos to Peace - a simple program to clear your clutter and change your life that I co-authored with my friend Vicki McLeod
  • Join my Facebook Community
  • If you have a message that you would love to share with the world, starting a podcast is a great way to do it by the way. Buzzsprout is the host of my podcast. With their help it was easy to launch, promote and track my podcast.

    My show was online and listed in all the major podcast directories (like Apple Podcast, Spotifiy, Google Podcast etc) without any hassle. And the team at Buzzsprout is passionate about helping you succeed, they provide you with everything you need and you can start for free and with some gear that you already have just like me. 

    Follow this link to get started, it let's Buzzsprout know I sent you and you will receive a $20 Amazon gift card if you sign up for a paid plan even after you tried it for free. By the way, this also helps support my show at no extra cost to you, how amazing is that?

Subscribe & ​Download

Reading instead of Listening

​If you listened to my podcast since the beginning you know that clutter is more than just the physical stuff. In episode 2 I introduced you to all the different kinds of clutter, 

  • physical clutter including paper clutter
  • digital clutter
  • mental clutter
  • social clutter
  • emotional clutter
  • even spiritual clutter

The last few episodes we talked about mental clutter, for example episode 20 with Marina Villatoro who talked about how decluttering her thoughts, specifically her limiting beliefs and money stories and helped her becoming successful with Day Trading. And then of course last week, when Sue Maisano shared with us how she was able to reach her crazy out of reach goal by clearing her mental clutter so she was able to hear her inner voice. Both amazing conversations if you haven't listened to them yet, make sure you go check them out afterward.

Today I want to talk about social clutter and add that to the mental clutter, and how we have as a result of those two an over-full calendar and endless to-do lists.
The three areas thoughts, time and people work together and a shift in one area will create a shift in the others.

But be aware this category of clutter will take us into tender and possibly difficult territory, but bear with me, as always, I will never tell you to get rid of anything, what I do is showing you what the consequences are of not letting go certain things and obligations.  

Also, a journal, a diary or a regular notebook can be an excellent tool to use for more awareness and reflection. Writing down things and let them sit for a bit and then come back to them.... or maybe you even want or need support. You could buddy up with someone, for example a trusted friend, and let him/her know you are working on some positive change and whether she wants to join you in the journey.

Ok, are you ready...

Let's take a love tour first, if you don't know what I mean, I have a whole episode about it, it's episode #5 The love tours. The Love tour is showing appreciation and gratitude for what we have. It's so easy to focus on what is not right, what's not working, or what bothers us, that we forget to allow ourselves to honour and value what we have.

The Love tour is also a way of becoming aware how we feel about what we have in our life. We often have so much things to do and people in our life that we don't really appreciate the single occasion or the individual person anymore but are only overwhelmed by the amount of appointments we have in our calendar and life. 

So, take a ‘love tour’ through the people and activities in your life. What do you love about your life, your family, your friends, your job or business? Be present to the goodness in your life. Make a ‘gratitude list’ in your journal of all the people and activities that light you up, that fuel you and bring you happiness and joy.

Don't skip this part! Once you've done your love tour, once you've written down your gratitude list you move on to the other side that we all have too:

Our calendars are full, often overfull and our lives get cluttered with obligations and relationships that may not be so joyful, maybe unloving or even toxic.
Remember: Clutter is really anything that no longer serves a useful, joyful or meaningful purpose in your life. It is anything that does not truly support you and the life you want to live. But do you know what life you want to live? Do you know what your priorities are? Are you clear what your priorities are at this time in your life or at this stage of your life? In episode 14 I talked about how to align your home with your priorities, now we are aligning your calendar and social network with your priorities. 

Often life takes over, work, school, chores, outside demands, and we lose sight of what would be important to us, but you can take a few minutes and think about it.
You can stop this podcast or do it later, but write down 3-5 top priorities that you have in your life right now. 

And if you struggle with the priorities, in the ebook that I co-wrote with Vicki McLeod we share resources that help you identify priorities. 

When you have your 3-5 priorities, spend some time looking at your upcoming calendar and assessing your commitments and activities and then ask yourself,

  • does your calendar reflect these priorities?
  • Where does it where were does it not?
  • Where can you say a wholehearted ‘yes’?
  • Where is it time to say no?

When you have clarity about your priorities, it's easier to become aware of what your yes or no might really mean for you. Because when we say yes to one thing, we are saying no to something else. For example, saying ‘yes’ to helping out a friend (while a very kind thing to do) might mean saying ‘no’ to time for yourself, or time for a priority in your life.

The reverse is also true. When we say ‘no’ to one thing we can be saying ‘yes’ to something else. For example, saying ‘no’ to a new contract may mean saying ‘yes’ to more time and freedom.

One of my favourite books is called Atomic Habits by James Clear, I talked about it on this podcast before. James puts the yes/no dilemma this way:

When you say no, you are only saying no to one option. When you say yes, you are saying no to every other option. 

Saying no saves you time in the future. Saying yes costs you time in the future. 

No is a form of time credit. You retain the ability to spend your future time however you want. 

Yes is a form of time debt. You have to pay back your commitment at some point.
No is a decision. Yes is a responsibility.

This is very deep and you might need to read this a few times, and also sit a bit with what your priorities really are.

When you really get clear on your priorities and clear on when you want to say yes and when you want to say no, you made a big step forward, you are more clear in your mind, and from here it's easier - I didn't say easy - I said easier, to take action.

Because saying no is really hard for some of us, many of us are ‘people pleasers’ or ‘peacemakers’ and we have a hard time saying no, or we might even be thinking we can't say no. But if you want to align your calendar and social life with your priorities, you will have to learn to say no.

Review your upcoming calendar or schedule again. What do you want to say more ‘yes’ to? Can you make room for it by saying ‘no’ to something else?

After identifying your true yesses and where you would rather say no, what you want to do now is, identify one or two areas where you can make a small change toward more satisfaction. Remember, I am all about small but consistent steps.
Take at least one step toward creating a schedule that supports what you truly want. It may take some time to weed your way through your current obligations and make the shift.

Especially with social clutter it's typical that we may find ourselves in relationships that simply do not serve us. Again this can be tricky territory and of course I am not suggesting that you don't honour your word or that you declutter your family and friends.

But when you try to make everyone happy, you can end up being unhappy yourself. And if we are unhappy your brain might offer you negative self-talk which is mental clutter and also a form of emotional clutter.

Again, it’s not necessary to ‘declutter’ all the negative people in yourlife, nor is it possible or realistic get rid of all our negative thoughts but we do want to increase our daily joy and create more ease and flow in our lives.

Start with baby steps and keep moving forward, always remember, Time is our most precious commodity, once used, you can't get it back, so spend it well.

For example:

  • how can you increase the time you spend with your positive and successful peers
  • how can you build a new positive peer group. Who are the people you want more of in your life?
  • who are the supportive people and trusted allies and friends who cheer you, support you and help you achieve your priorities? 

And then also reconsider the people and activities that weigh you down. Make a list of the people who drain you. who are the ones that are constantly negative, or with whom you engage only because you feel obligated.

Vicki and I go much deeper in our ebook on how to start re-designing the time you spend and who you spend it with. So go check it out, you can get it for under $10 and it will help you kickstart your journey from chaos to peace not just in this area but also with household, office, paper, and digital clutter. 

Let's summarize real quick: 

  1. Get a journal or a notebook
  2. Take a love tour through your calendar, the people and activities in your life.
  3. Make a ‘gratitude list’ in your journal of all the people and activities that light you up and bring you happiness and joy.
  4. Identify and write down your 3-5 priorities for your life and compare your calendar and your social circle with your priorities and ask yourself do they align?
  5. Identify what you want to say more ‘yes’ to and make room for it by saying ‘no’ to something else. What and who are the activities and people who drain you and you only engage with because you feel obligated and find ways to reduce the time you spend with these people or on these activities
  6. Start with baby steps  and on a daily basis ask yourself how can you change your schedule to be aligned with your priorities and reflect what you truly want. Where can you say no to have room to say yes to the things that light you up and bring you joy and happiness. 


That's it! Next week I welcome Jill Morris as a guest here on the podcast, Jill is a life coach for artists and musicians and we will talk about her perspective on how to declutter our to-do lists.

As always, don't just listen to me or read this blog, go take action, start decluttering your home, office, files, finances and calendar and create the life you love and that aligns with your priorities.

A few minutes a day keeps the chaos away. 

If you have any questions

If you have a question about decluttering, organizing or something you heard me talk about on the podcast I'd like to invite you to a free public call "ask Conny". You can ask me a question anonymously or just listen in what others ask.

Register here, I look forward to seeing you there. 

Sharing is Caring
>