10 Ideas to Conquer Digital Clutter

One of my goals for 2021 is to conquer digital clutter. That is a vague, ambiguous goal so I set a more specific, measurable goal to clear the digital clutter from my phone weekly. Generally my digital clutter falls into three categories: photos, notes, and websites. Here are ten ideas in these categories that will help you reduce the digital clutter.

Photos

This is the largest bit of digital clutter I have – and I bet most of you are in the same boat. Right now I have 685 photos on my phone. It is overwhelming to go back and declutter all of them so I am starting where I am. Each week I deal with those photos I took in the previous week. There are a few of the actions that you can take.

  1. Delete. I cannot be the only one who tries to carry too many things and ends up taking photos of the side of the car. Or trying to get a cute photo of the dog sleeping, I end up with 10 of the same snoozing pup. Delete the obvious, narrow down the precious.
  2. File. Screenshots fall into this category. Some examples might be the screen shots of books I want to read or products I might want to purchase. Each week I add to my To Be Read list on Goodreads, buy the item if is a no brainer, or add it to my Amazon wish list.
  3. Inspiration. Quotes, ideas, or other inspiration I want to use for Sustainable Sue work goes to Trello or Scrivener. Trello is a project management app where I can create a “card” with the quote (or whatever I took a photo of) and add it to the board. For example, the board might be quotes on digital clutter I could use in a post about the same topic. Then when I want to write about digital clutter, I pull that quote off of my Trello board and place it in the post.
  4. Save. Some photos I save for scrapbooking – these live in Lightroom. Each week I put a heart (on my iPhone – I bet Android has an equivalent) on those photos I want to save. On the first day of each month, I have a reminder that pops up telling me to move photos to Lightroom. I don’t have to scroll through 600+, I just get the hearts and move them to Lightroom and then delete from my phone once Lightroom is backed up.
  5. Share. I share memes and old photos with friends and family. Here is a gem that came up this week of me and The Girl back in the day.

Notes

This is the digital equivalent of Post It notes.I keep notes in a couple places on my phone so decluttering my notes is a critical component to conquer digital clutter.

  1. Lists. When I am driving down the road and need to capture a thought, I ask Siri to capture it and she adds it to my “Braindump list.” This is a catch all that is sorted at least weekly. Sometimes I add things to my calendar, sometimes things move to another list, sometimes things are deleted because I have no idea what I meant.
  2. Notepad. This is another catchall spot that builds up. If I hear something meaningful I want to remember later I will open the Notes app and jot it down. Same with a website I want to check out later from a webinar I am watching or perhaps shared notes. But these notes are not helpful if they just live in the Notes app. Weekly I move them to a place that is more useful. This might look like any of these:
    • Set a time block in the upcoming week to review the website.
    • Move the quote to a Trello board.
    • Delete the idea that seemed brilliant in the middle of the night, but seems useless in the light of day.

Websites

This is a recent pain point for me. I am not sure when my browser got so out of control. Today I have 64 windows open. Experts disagree on if this impacts your phones performance or not. What I am interested in is whether or not this is Sustainably Productive. When you shine the lens of sustainability on 64 open Chrome tabs – no big deal. But the productive side of the equation is different. I can’t find a ding dang thing amidst 64 open windows. Not productive.

“Clutter is not just the stuff on your floor – it’s anything that stands between you and the life you want to be living.” Peter Walsh

For this task I set a timer as part of my weekly digital declutter session. 5 minutes to close windows. I start with the most recent and close. I look at the website that is open before closing it in case there is an action step I needed to take.  For example, I may have left the window open because I was halfway through paying for an online meal pick up for the week when the doorbell rang and I forgot to go back to it. Some windows are quick – when Facebook opens in Chrome, for example. No brainer – close it, I would rather use the app.

I would love to help you conquer digital clutter. Check out the Sustainable You Environmental Surroundings course to learn more today.

By |2021-01-23T18:47:55-05:00January 26th, 2021|Environmental Surroundings|0 Comments

This is Sustainable Productivity

Sustainable Productivity is the backbone of the work you are doing to create a life you don’t need to escape. As you are deciding if the adjustment is the right next step for you, ask yourself this question: “Can I continue to do this lifelong?” Not that you must continue forever, but could you if you wanted to. It is ok to change your mind and of course, life changes around you. It is natural that internal and external factors impact our habits. Sometimes the answer to the Sustainable Productivity question (“Can I continue to do this lifelong?”) is no.

To gain more control over habit changes and adjustments, you can break down the Sustainable Productivity question (“Can I continue to do this lifelong?”) into 2 separate parts. This blog post will walk you through that.

Is this sustainable?

The beauty of the Sustainable Productivity questions is that they can apply to all aspects of life.

  • Habit change – is this change sustainable?
  • Time management – is this schedule sustainable?
  • Clothing – is this pinching waistline sustainable?
  • Chores – is this pace of mulch spreading sustainable?

What “sustainable” looks like will change as you make adjustments to your activities and as life changes around you. What feels manageable today? Is this something you can maintain lifelong? Not that you HAVE TO, but CAN YOU if you want to?

A habit can be sustainable but not productive. Anyone who has ever binged Netflix knows this. While it may sound fun in the beginning, eventually you find yourself wanting more. Wanting to contribute in a better way.

Which leads to the second Sustainable Productivity question.

Is this productive?

There are so many things that need your attention these days. If you are going to do take an action, that action needs to work for you. It needs to positively contribute toward your life, your goals, your purpose, your values.

In our world we have plenty of examples of non-productivity. We tend to relabel it as laziness or wasting time. I encourage you to define “productive” differently. According to Dictionary.com, productive is defined as achieving or producing a significant amount or result.

What if you redefined “productive” and what “counted” as a significant result in your life? Here are a few ideas:

  • Sleeping 7-9 hours each night is productive.
  • Blocking travel time into your day to create a realistic schedule is productive – even if that means you get less done.
  • Saying no to something that is not a HELL YES is productive.
  • Saying yes to an activity that puts wind in your sails is productive – even if that means you leave a chore undone.

You may need to stop and take a deep breath here. Are you uncomfortable just reading that list? Do you have a knot in your belly thinking about missing 1 bedtime tuck-in each month so you can take a pottery class? That is a sign that you are in the right place?

Keep reading.

Sustainable Productivity

The place where these Sustainable You questions intersect is your sweet spot.

But you have to be able to answer yes to BOTH questions.

A habit can be productive, but not sustainable. For example, getting up at 5:00 am to watch a MasterClass lecture is productivehobbies and learning are part of a sustainably productive life. But if you are not getting enough sleep and starting to resent that early alarm and hating your hobby, that is not sustainable. Therefore, this habit is not Sustainably Productive.

That sweet spot where sustainable overlaps productive is where Sustainable Productivity lives. This is where you can continue something lifelong if you want to.

You are allowed to change your mind when something is no longer Sustainably Productive for you. In the Sustainable You course you can learn about how to know something isn’t working and which change to make. You can also get dozens of suggestions for  adjustments in multiple aspects of life.

As you go through your daily activities and appointments in the upcoming weeks, ask yourself the Sustainable Productivity questions.

Is this sustainable?

Is this productive?

You don’t need to take action at this point, just observe what your intuition is telling you. If you have any reactions or aha moments, comment below. I would love to hear from you!

By |2021-01-18T09:01:56-05:00January 19th, 2021|Habit Change|0 Comments

Taking January by Storm

You cannot swing a dead cat without hitting announcements about taking January by storm.

Don’t let another day go by!

New Year New You!

Turn the calendar and turn your life around!

As a productivity coach, this is my prime business time. Resolutions are ready to be made. Change is ready to be had.

And Yet

I had grand plans. Campaigns and free resources. Blog posts filled with humor and touching anecdotes. Connections and outreach to spread the word about Sustainable Productivity.

I was going to fill the slow weeks of Christmas and New Years with time blocked planning in a schedule that would cause the military to wilt. I was going to Get Shit Done.

I just hit the wall. It felt like my creativity dried up, my mojo and energy bottomed out. My get up and go got up and went.  There would be no taking January by storm. It was neither productive nor sustainable.

I limped through hours of my day job, then read fiction and watched garbage TV while crafting. Long time readers know I have been alternating reading the Harry Potter books and listening to the Harry Potter and the Sacred Text (HPST) podcast chapter by chapter.

In the book Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, in what seems to be a throw away sentence in the almost 800 page book, Tonks says she is too tired to stand guard. She needs a break and asks for help. Instead of powering through and putting herself and Harry at risk, she leans on the Order to help her. The way Casper and Vanessa sum this up on the HPST podcast is succinct and spot on: Respite is viewed as a luxury, but it is a necessity. We need to lean on others to help carry the load.

Respite is viewed as a luxury, but it is a necessity.

I needed help for sure. Asking for help is not my strong suit either. I wonder if you might be able to relate? Let’s look at a few ways you might be able to lean on others so that you can get the respite you need.

Handling the Load

Leaning on others can look different depending on the load, the season, the person, the helper, and various other reasons. Here are a few examples of how you might ask for help carrying the load instead of powering through.

  1. Literally. It is asking your partner or kids to help bring in the groceries. Or going to the store to buy you cold medicine.
  2. Emotionally. This could look like unburdening your mind and heart into a journal or with a therapist.
  3. Oppositely. Sure you relax better in a tidy space, but what if your tank is empty at the end of the day? Would it be more restorative to sit down and read for 15 minutes or power through and clean out the closet just because it was on your to do list?

I tell you all this for a few reasons.

It is not too late for you.

It is not too late for you. Ever. Maybe looking back at the 2020 holiday season you realize you packed too much in and you are running on fumes now. It is not too late. Start again with today, right now when you are reading this. Put 10 minutes into your calendar to just sit down. Or take a walk down the block. Or hide in the closet with your book. Whatever might feel restorative to you.

Restorative – not numbing. Hide in the closet with your book, not a bottle. Walk down the block to notice nature and take it easy, not sprinting to see how far you can get in 10 minutes.

Good enough is both.

Good enough is both. Growing up I often heard that good enough is neither. But what if you flipped that around, “good enough is both”? Cleaning out one shelf is good enough for today. Doing the gentle yoga stretching class instead of power yoga is good enough.

Then you can check in with yourself tomorrow to see if there is more space to do more or if you need to continue to give yourself a respite. Maybe instead of taking January by storm, we take small, solid, comfortable steps that are consistent over time.

Before we wrap up, I want to share my 2021 theme with you. I take that end of year burnout seriously and am backing off. Instead of setting New Years Resolutions or picking a word, this year seems to be the year I need to back off a smidge. My 2021 theme is a paraphrasing of St Francis of Assisi:

Wear life as a loose garment.

I will refer back to this often in the hopes that it inspires you to do the same or to seek out a pace to life that matches the season you are in. In the meantime, remember that respite is viewed as a luxury, but it is a necessity. Resting helps create the space in our lives to mentally, physically, and emotionally have room to move.

What about you? Did you pick a 2021 word or phrase? Maybe you set some goals or resolutions. Let me know in the comments or Instagram.

By |2021-01-10T08:56:11-05:00January 12th, 2021|Habit Change, Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Goal Getting in the Grey

I won’t lie to you – it can be difficult to get excited about goal getting in the grey. Whether it is grey days of winter or grey areas of life. These can be a tough mountain to climb. 

I am not so good with grey areas of life – I trend towards bimodal thinking. My modus operandi has been that I am either hard charging through a training plan or sloth. You are either on my side or against me. I am learning a brand new skill or never taking a class again. Whirl winding through chores and errands or hoarders is setting up a visit to shovel out the piles.

It is EXHAUSTING.

The pressure is on in the new year to set resolutions and light the world on fire. Right after you made all the magic for your family at the holidays. Friend, you cannot light anything on fire with an empty tank.

It is EXHAUSTING.

Do you feel like this end of season amaryllis?

Listen to Your Mother

As we start a new year, I encourage you to consider the way Mother Nature works. Winter is a time of dormancy and hibernation. A short respite of 2 months before ramping up growth in March to bust onto the scene in April. 

If Nature has survived – even thrived – with these hours of operations for millennia, who are we to say our schedule should be different?

Reframe Your Goals

This is not to say that you should throw out any goal setting. This is where we redefine goal getting in the grey. Instead, you can reframe those goals for the first 8-12 weeks of the year. Maybe finding gentler, softer activities that support the end result you are looking for.

  • Instead of running through snow and ice or pounding away on the treadmill, spend a month or two exploring yoga to increase your strength and flexibility while maybe even healing that nagging hamstring injury.
  • Avoid struggling to restrict calories to continue your weight loss. Focus on mindful eating and creative meal planning during a time when fresh fruits and veggies are less abundant. 

Another approach could be to use the dark, cold weeks of shorter days to slowly ramp up your new goal to really hit the ground running in the spring. 

  • Spend time to declutter that spare room and set up your painting easel. Research upcoming classes and save up to buy supplies.
  • Curl up on the couch with your phone and liberally unsubscribe, unfollow, block, and delete. Get rid of everything that does not contribute to a life you don’t want to escape.
  • Explore the Sustainable You course and reveal a new way to approach habit change that sticks. 

It may not feel like you are making progress towards your goals, but you are. Planning to plan. Setting up your environment for success. Considering a new way of doing things. This means change is happening within you.

Change that will eventually bloom into the success that you desire.

amaryllis

Amaryllis in all of its glory after it has rested all winter.

By |2020-12-26T08:12:17-05:00January 5th, 2021|Habit Change|0 Comments

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