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In The Other Side of Organized, Linda Samuels, CPO-CD® will encourage you to get organized enough to reduce the stress of life’s details and make time to embrace your passions. Already, thousands of clients and readers have found help and inspiration in her advice, personal reflections on change and connection, and vision of what can be accomplished when you find that sweet spot between chaos and perfection.

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« How to Mindfully and Easily Discover Your Next Step | How to Prime the Pump to Make Great Change »

One Interesting Way to Use Mindfulness to Focus Change

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with disorganization, with life seeming not quite right, or with wanting a change, but not knowing where to begin, you’ve come to the right place. The idea of change can paralyze us. We have the tools, but ignore the clues that daily life gives us. We move so fast that we don’t notice the indicators. Can you identify with this?

It’s not uncommon to go through our busy days on autopilot. We set up systems and patterns for convenience and efficiency, but as time goes on, things change. The systems that once worked no longer do. Or, the systems haven’t been maintained, so they no longer function. Maybe we never established effective systems in the first place. But we keep going. We ignore that things don’t feel right. Our piles of clutter irritate us, but we ignore them. We’re annoyed that we can’t get out of the door on time, but we keep getting out late each day anyway. We’re experiencing stress due to the disorganization on a regular basis, but we stuff those feelings away. Status quo has taken over and the way forward eludes us.

I’m proposing one simple, but not necessarily easy technique. Use mindfulness to help you focus on which changes to make. When we’re mindful of the present moment, we increase our awareness of our moment-by-moment experience. After all, how can we make a change if we aren’t fully aware of our challenges? I invite you to slow down. Instead of ignoring irritations during your day, note them. You don’t need to dwell on them, but increase your awareness of them. These will be your clues for identifying potential areas to change.

For example, let’s say that every day you are about to leave the house and you can’t find your keys. So each morning you go through the “hunting for keys” scenario, which in turn makes you late getting to your appointment. You’re annoyed and stressed, but you keep going anyway, repeating the same pattern day after day. You stuff that stress away. This isn’t healthy harboring this type of daily stress.

However, consider this one small tweak. Activate some mindfulness. Instead, the next time you’re late getting out of the door, notice what’s going on. Start by being present with the issue. Be mindful of your actions. What are you feeling? What are you doing? Use mindfulness to help you identify potential indicators for change. By living more mindfully, you can figure out strategies to help solve the “lost keys” and other challenges. You may be surprised when you become more aware and present. You might just notice where you stashed your keys when you come home at night. Or you might decide that it’s time to give your keys a “home” so that you can always find them.

Beginning with awareness is the key. What have you noticed about change? Have you used mindfulness in the process? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Come join the conversation!





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Reader Comments (10)

When something goes wrong (even something as minor as spilling water while making tea), I've realized that the cause is often a LACK of mindfulness. Paying closer attention to what we do while we're doing it (e.g. putting the keys where they belong when we arrive at home) goes a long way to preventing future problems.

February 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

Nail on the head, Linda! Your article comes at just the time when I need it and am ready for it. Thank you! Now to apply some logical creativity to today's little organizational issue. And keep applying to the many others.

February 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRobin Steinweg

@Janet- That's a good point about how being mindful also helps prevent "future problems." I didn't mean to suggest that mindfulness is a cure-all, but they are some definite benefits to pursuing mindful living practices. I didn't mention it in this post but have in others which can be found in the "Mindfulness" section. Having a mindfulness meditation practice is another way of cultivating mindfulness, which can positively affect other aspects of our lives.

February 26, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Robin- I'm so glad to know that you found something here that resonated with you right now. It's great that you're feeling "ready" for change. I'd love to hear more about using your creativity with organizing. Wishing you all the best as you move forward.

February 26, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Wise words, I agree completely. I find that the judgment on what I do tend to stop me from finding the opportunities to make a change. So, keeping my emotions neutral helps a great deal.

February 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSabrina Quairoli

Ah, I love this post. Sometimes we know we are annoyed or bothered, but can't figure out why. Being mindful in that moment of discomfort will help us identify the trigger. I see this with furniture placement a lot. People are uncomfortable in a space, squeezing in here or there, knocking a knee into a piece of furniture. But since it's been this way a long time, it is hard to consider that this could be changed. When I come in with fresh eyes, I can ask about the furniture layout/the large number of chairs/the large bin/basket that sits empty in the walkway. If you are feeling stressed or unhappy, stop and ask, "why?"

February 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

@Sabrina- We can be really hard on ourselves. I totally relate to the judgment piece. We can be our own worst critics. You mentioned that it helps if you keep your emotions neutral. What helps you do that?

February 26, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Seana- Thank you so much. The two phrases that jumped out at me in what you wrote were "fresh eyes" and asking "why?" Especially when we're having a challenge with identifying what the issues are, it's so helpful to seek help to get that other perspective or view. Sometimes the things that are right in front of us are so close that we can't see them. Or as I mentioned, we got used to them being annoying and don't perceive them really as an issue. However, when they are tweaked, it's amazing how much lighter, happier, energetic or "x" we feel!

February 26, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I use mindfulness as a source of learning. It's a matter of noticing what happens with a reoccuring event, like lost keys. It's taking a moment to notice that when this occurs, it's typically because there are too many simultaneous "shiny objects." It's a powerful way to be aware of and initiate new behaviours.

March 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

@Ellen- What a wonderful perspective to use mindfulness as a learning source! I love that. And you're so right that those distractions that can come in the form of "shiny objects" can pull us away from the present moment. But distractions are also part of our human experience. However, training the mind to be more mindful can definitely help with attentional issues.

March 1, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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