I’m a big fan of Mari Kondo and the KonMari method for decluttering. I have done it numerous times with my clothes, books, and other material possessions. The moment has come – I run out of things to declutter! 😳
So, why not apply the method to the mental clutter? Here’s a simple checklist for your mental spring cleaning:
- Inbox Zero: answer/delete emails; unsubscribe from newsletters you’re not interested in or are too chatty (you can leave the EyesOnTheGoal newsletter – I promise to always send you interesting content ;); move any tasks from your inbox to your todo list
- Snail mail, paper letters: process these boring letters from the bank, the health insurance, etc. once and for all – trash them, file them, act on them.
- If the sender offers e-correspondence, go for it! It will take you a few minutes to set up, but it saves you a lot of time in the long run. Plus, it’s more friendly to the planet Earth!
- Facebook: answer all unanswered personal messages; tell your contacts you’re not on Facebook that often, so if they want to reach you best is to send a text, email, call, come visit, WhatsApp or whatever you prefer. That’s what I did, because Facebook is an evil place, and it sucks my time even if I sneak in for a sec to check a message. Ideally, remove the Facebook app and Messenger from your phone so you don’t get tempted. I’ve lived this way for years – rest assured – the world won’t come to an end just because you’re not online and available 24/7
- LinkedIn: answer all unanswered messages from recruiters, contacts and respond to the piled up contact requests
- Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, … – you know the drill
- Make a brain dump of all that’s pending, and apply this technique: for the tasks that take less than 5min, just do them on the spot. For the rest, apply: Love it, leave it, change it. It’s OK to drop off a task – as long as you make it consciously. If you are not going to do it anyway, why keep mental space for it?
- Scan your mind for recurring conversations and loops: maybe you have feedback to give, a favor to ask, get in touch with someone, or even call your mom. This kind of things drain tons of energy. They’re like open tabs on your browser – the sooner you close them, the sooner you’ll open space for new ideas, more creativity, and action!
- Return unanswered calls, texts
- Make lunch/coffee appointments with the people you always say to “Oh, let’s catch up next week” but you never come back to. Be careful to only pick the ones you really want to see. Love it, leave it, change it is your friend
- Record all your costs for the current month
- Update your net worth
- If you haven’t automatic savings plan yet, set it up
- Back up the pictures from your phone
- Deinstall the apps on your phone you don’t use anymore
- Disable the annoying notifications – they’re robbing you of your immediate attention
- Look at your goals and overall direction and ask “Does it spark joy?”. It’s very normal that with time, some of the goals we set are no longer inspiring us. We keep chasing them out of habit, or inertia. Hence, the need to reevaluate and be sure to put your effort in the right direction
- If you aren’t clear on your goals – be sure to discover your core values first, and then define your goals.
- Visualize those goals – having them in front of your eyes every day will free up so much space. You don’t have to think about them anymore. They’ll remind you of themselves every time you walk by the vision board or the wall where you’ve posted them on
FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)
- If an idea is nagging you, write it down. I find the “Someday maybe” list from David Allen’s GTD (Getting Things Done) useful in this case
- If the idea keeps coming back, take one little step towards it – 1h research, or a short call, share it with a friend. Give it some energy without committing, and you’ll see if it can fly
- Books, courses, workshops, conferences, so many interesting things to do! That’s a tough one. For the books adding them on my wishlist in Amazon does the job for me. For the courses and workshops – put them on the “Someday maybe” list and if they re-surface, then just make a decision if you’re going to participate or not
- Recognize the FOMO for what it is – a fear! You’re already doing enough, put your minimalist hat on and say “No, someday maybe, but not now.”
- Clean up and order the files and icons on your desktop
- Clean up and order your desk
- The negative self-talk – take notes of what it’s nagging you about. This little monster wants attention and you gotta get to know him/her. More on that – in upcoming posts. For now – get to know it.
I do this mental declutter once a month. Pick up a date for it and add it on your calendar – the first Sunday of the month sounds like a good choice.
Now go out and play!
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Wow, I didn’t know you were a minimalist.
Really useful list! I do a lot of it already, but I could improve in some areas, like the goals.
Turning off the app notifications on my phone was a really good thing to do! In the first few hours/days I checked some apps very often. But then I started to only check them when I need them or when I have free time (waiting at the doctor’s or something like that) or when I decide that it’s time to write to loved ones/play a little bit of Sudoku/…
Kate App says
I overcome my phone separation anxiety the hard way.I dropped and broke my phone the first day of a 4w long vacation on Hawaii. It was a Nexus Android phone, which was too exotic and I couldn’t find anywhere I could repair it on the islands. So I just learned to live without it.
My next phone was a low-tech device, which had only the basic apps.
Is there anything you would add to the list? This is a living article, which I’m planning to expand to include even the hard to detect mental energy eaters. 😈
Love this post <3
Kate App says
I’ve just cleaned up my pending LinkedIn invitations – such a relief! 😎
Would you add anything to the list?
Kate App says
Thanks Mr. Route2FI !
Scanning trough your blog I see we have a very similar view on life, work and freedom.
Looking forward to meeting you in person – @FIWE 2019 maybe?
Really good idea! Already cut the notifications of my phone and email subscription and I have to say that it brings much more relief than expected 🙂