I’ve started ignoring stupid stuff again. There’s a pile of donations in the garage that have been there since my 100 things 100 days project ended. My four-year old has three acceptable pairs of socks that have all disappeared somewhere between his bedroom and the laundry room. And I’m missing a pair of tinted glasses (that I need to drive) since January.
And I’m not just being too hard on myself. This is stupid stuff!
It’s stupid because every one of these things irritates me daily and every one of them could be solved with minimal effort. Where has my motivation gone?
How was it possible to get rid of a hundred things most days for a hundred days, when I couldn’t toss ten out the window today if the house was on fire.
Blogger Julien Smith writes about motivation (among other things) on his blog, In Over Your Head and, I’ve been pondering his posts since Christmas. With inspirational titles like: The Complete Guide to Snapping the @#$% Out of It – who wouldn’t?
Yes! I thought, I do need to snap the @#$% out of it, but what is he talking about get yourself a system? I’ve been learning systems since I was five years old and I haven’t learned to like one yet.
And just when I was about to say thanks, but no thanks Julien, a system won’t help me get me back on track with my decluttering, he posts this:
I’ve changed a lot in my life, but it’s not because I’m special. I just created special circumstances.
Creating special circumstances sounds like something I could wrap my right brain around. Isn’t that kind of what my 100 things 100 days project was, a set of special circumstances that made it possible for me to crawl out from under the clutter when it had not been possible before?
Looking back, four things stand out as making success possible for me:
1) a complete understanding of how I could benefit from decluttering (more time, less frustration)
2) tying a reward to the action, I love blogging, half the time I only got rid of stuff to have an excuse to write to you guys
3) tying social pressure to the action, because I break promises to myself regularly, but I’d never break a promise to someone else
4) tying a deadline to the action, mostly because it gave me a reason to focus on my goal when my tendency in the past has been to get wrapped up in unproductive things like worrying
Could I do it again? Yep!
Not only do I think having less will be less work, I know it!
So I’ve decided that May 1 (deadline) is imaginary moving day, and for every new thing that gets decluttered in the packing process, my kids and I will put a loonie on the calendar (social pressure). On May 1st we’ll celebrate with a moving party including a draw for a donation in the amount we collect, in your name, to your favourite charity (reward). Here’s my low tech, Julien cover your eyes!, kitchen table system:
So how will sending a donation in your name a reward for me?
Maybe it’s for the same reason that people like to root for the underdog. I think we’re all motivated in some way by an essential sense of justice. Ask someone what one thing they would change about the world if they could, and get ready for their passionate response.
Donating the money to my favourite cause would be wonderful but finding out what you believe in, and giving you the chance to change the world in a very small way that’s important to you would be even better. Plus, it’s the giveaway that will never require decluttering.
Tell me about your favourite cause in the comments below anytime before April 30 and I’ll enter your name in the donation draw. And if you want to imaginary move with me, what’s stopping you?