I was working with one of my PT clients a couple of weeks ago and we were talking about procrastination. I sheepishly admitted that I had been putting off two “must does” on my list and how my mind was making a big deal of it. Right before I went to sleep and right when I woke up in the morning, these two things occupied a lot of space in my brain. Along with the obsessive thinking about them was a layer of guilt.
The next day, my client left a piece of paper in my mailbox at work that was a list of INCOMPLETES and how they are taking up valuable space in our minds and in our lives. The clincher though was the sub title –
“Are you preventing abundance by holding on to these imcompletes?”
She got me ! It made sense, and I asked myself, “What and Who might I be when my mind is clear of the unfinished business, projects and clutter?” The potential had an immediate reaction on me and I scrambled to do the first project to completion. I was surprised how airy and good I felt after it was done. Why had I fought and resisted so much to finish it when it felt so great to have it done?
The beauty part was the variety in the list of the 24 items (see the whole list below). Things like doing mending, repairing items, to addressing personal relationships with unstated resentments or appreciations. When I went through the list, I could check off well over half and even added a couple of my own.
I reflected on my list of incompletes and noticed how they made me feel – distracted and drained and overwhelmed. I had been fooling myself thinking that they were in the recesses of my mind, when in fact, they were standing right in the front of the line taking up way too much space. Space for what? For me, mostly creativity. I hadn’t felt inspired or moved to write a blog post for two months, and felt a distinctive lack of spirit for new ideas and projects. I hadn’t realized that leaving these important “to does” unfinished were the thieves of energy for the spaciousness to be creative.
The funny thing that happened unexpectedly is that I went on a terror to complete more on my list of in completes! I cleaned out clutter, went through my garage, went into corners where I had stashed things I didn’t know what to do with and organized and threw out stuff and gave things away.
I literally breathed more deeply, feeling very satisfied with my efforts.
The next week went by and I had good intentions to keep on keepin on with the list. The week got busy and I forgot about it until I opened my journal and saw it again. I re-read it and realized that I missed seeing an important piece on the paper – what are the “steps you’ll take to complete these”? I saw that there were still few biggies that I hadn’t addressed and that I was definitely thinking about them. I am now taking the steps to look at these. The steps are as simple as: google the information, call the person, set up the appointment.
I recognized that the BIGGER resistance I had to the incomplete, the MORE I had to break it down into steps to just start somewhere. For example, I had a mass of paper work that was in total disarray. My steps looked like this:
- Monday – collect the ALL the papers and put them in a pile – leave stacks in the living room (visible)
- Wednesday – grab a coffee and sit on the floor and SORT the papers into categories (leave them in the living room to remain visible)
- next Monday – File the papers and make subcategories if necessary
- Thursday – Make a list of what needs to be done for EACH paper stack – do the filing
- Do ONE of these each day (e.g.: mail the cheque, drop off the paper at the appropriate office, etc.)
Its working! I am back to writing and for me, this is an indication of feeling more spacious.
I am keeping the list in plain view on my dresser. Clearly I need the reminder! I would like to make a habit of tackling one thing on my list a week. It seems that there will always be something on the list of Incompletes, so I’ll have something to work on weekly.
Consider the list below, and add a few of your own. Contemplate what SPACE the items on the list might be taking up in your life. See what happens when you complete one of them. What opens up in your life for you?
The “list” (with some amendments):
List your in completes and the steps you’ll take to complete each area of your life.
Are you preventing abundance by holding on to these in completes? Make a plan to complete them.
- Former Business Activities
- Promised Not, kept, Not acknowledged or Not Renegotiated
- Unpaid Debts or Financial Commitments
- Closets overflowing with Clothing never worn
- Disorganized Garage crowded with old discards
- Haphazard or Disorganized Tax Records – unfinished taxes
- Checkbook Not balanced or Accounts that should be closed
- Junk Drawers full of unusable items
- Missing or broken tools
- Attic filled with unused items
- Car Trunk or Back seat full of junk
- Incomplete Car Maintenance
- Basement Disorganized or Filled with Discards
- Filing left undone
- Computer, phone not backed up
- Deck surface, counters cluttered or disorganized
- Family photos disorganized
- Mending or Items to Repair or Discard
- Deferred Household Maintenance
- Personal Relationships with unstated Resentments or Appreciations, acknowledgements of birthdays, anniversaries, funerals, celebrations
- Forgivenesses that need to occur
- Time not spent with people you’ve been meaning to spend time with, calling old friends, keeping in contact with family members
- Incomplete projects
- Acknowledgment that needs to be asked for, Apologies need to happen
working on spaciousness,