Clutter and Your Basket of Time

Snow Clutter

Snow clutter and sunshine – winter in New Hampshire!

Clutter is constraining, confusing and sometimes confounding.

I’m thinking about clutter as I look outside at the high snow piles that, right now, obscure the view out my office window and make it hard for people and animals to move around.  Clutter comes from all kinds of places, including the sky sometimes!

But what I want to talk about today is the kind of clutter that we have a hand in – and  therefore have some control over. It’s the clutter that Leo Babauta wrote about in his excellent post on zen habits titled The Empty Container.

He writes:

Instead of thinking, “How can I get rid of this complicated mess?” … let’s ask, “What if I started with a blank slate?”

What would you do if your life was a blank slate?

If it were an empty container, with limited space, what would you put in it?

That’s the thing – whether we’re talking about space or time.  When clutter clogs either or both of them, we are unconsciously saying a resounding “No” to many things that we consciously hold dear.

I wrote about time as a basket back when I first started The Time Finder. It’s a foundational concept for me, and one that is a consistent theme in Heart-Based Time Management™.

In Find Time by Knowing What to Give Up I write:

If you think of your time as a basket, you can see how adding one thing to a full basket will have to displace something else. There is no way around this fact.

So here’s the paradox: We often think of saying “Yes” as positive and affirming – and of saying “No” as the opposite.  But they really aren’t opposites when it comes to managing limited time and space.

When you say “Yes” to anything, you are creating the potential for clutter – and for bumping something that you truly value out of your basket or container. So that may not always be so positive.

Conversely, when you say “No” you are making a choice that retains space and time – and affirms the primacy of something else that is already in your basket.

This is what we do constantly, throughout our days, weeks, months and years. We say “Yes” or “No” over and over – making decisions about what to put into our basket of time – and what to take out.

This simple-seeming activity, in the deepest sense possible, defines our time and our lives.

So the next time you are choosing, think about clutter and about what you value – and remember that a “No” is really just a “Yes” to something else!

Learn more about the gifts of energy, time and meaning that my unique, Heart-Based Time Management™ System offers.  To begin your transformational journey sign up for my FREE Finding Time Success Kit.

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