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What HAPPENED? Too much Time STUFF!

Clock facePHEW! What happened to 2016?

We’re 11/12 of the way through the year and if you’re saying this, it could be due to too much temporal clutter!

Even I, a STUFFologist – an expert in decluttering the cluttergories of our lives – have lots going on and feel involved in too many things!

Sometimes, we go through periods like these and all we can do is keep up… barely! A family emergency?  We have to fit it in as we set aside other important tasks. Fortunately, there are only 24-hours in a day! Otherwise, we’d be busy, Busy, BUSY for Many MORE hours!

You may recall one of the cluttergories defined along the left side of the page is:

Temporal CluttergoriesTemporal clutter is when we fill our days with so many activities we can’t focus on any one. People who say they’re too busy are often suffering from temporal clutter.

We fill the open slots in our days with seemingly interesting diversions.

I’ve been reviewing author Dorothea Brande’s two-million copy selling 1936 book entitled, Wake Up and Live where she writes about successful people heading toward goals while those who fail head away from goals. In other words, failures engage in self-sabotage. Brande employs an elegant example in the first chapter. (Bracketed “you” replaces use of male gender.)

Suppose [you] had an appointment a hundred miles north of [your] home, and that if [you] kept it [you] would be sure of having health, much happiness, fair prosperity, for the rest of [your] life. [You have] just time enough to get there, just enough gas in [your] car. [You] drive out, but decide that it would be more fun to go twenty-five miles south before starting out in earnest.

Doesn’t make sense, does it?

Yet, how many of us take a break or worse, explore a diversionary route when faced with eventual success? If toward the end of this year, you’re finding achievement of your goals elusive, take an honest look at how you’re spending your time. Brande expands on how we justify our decision to fail.

When failure comes about through devoting precious hours to time-killing pursuits, we can all see … by looking more closely, by discovering that this work gets us nowhere, that it both tires us and leaves us unsatisfied, that we see here again energy is being devoted to the pursuit of failure.

This year, I took steps to focus more on the things that will help me to reach my goals.

Fewer and Better Quality Speaking Engagements
I’m surprised to find fewer potential clients who are prepared to partner in co-creating a stellar program. When I find that rare person who is willing to work to produce an optimal program, I accept the invitation and together we create a memorable and rewarding program.

Reduced board service
For those who know me, I bring everything to the table and more. Surprisingly, there are too many board members (unfortunately) who want/need the prestige but are not prepared to fulfill their fiduciary duties. An example is corporate board membership where board members serve in 9 or more other boards receiving fees of $245,000 or more for each board. Seriously? If your board meets quarterly and you’re a member of 10 boards, you’re needing to prepare for 40 – 80 days of meetings in a year let alone trying to fulfill your primary job as a CEO. Not gonna happen… effectively.

Let go of the temporal clutter in your life. 

Take these final weeks of the year to focus your efforts toward your goal(s).

So often we justify interim failure by saying we’ll start anew in the New Year. Why program yourself toward failure? Work toward success! Dorothea Brande believes success takes just as much energy as failing. I’ve found I feel much better when I test out strategies as the year comes to a close. By the time the New Year arrives, I’m on a roll having already taken steps toward success. I feel much more confident about tweaking my approach as I go along. Try it. NOW! Don’t you deserve to feel better than you do, right now?

3 replies
  1. avatar
    Eric Riddle STUFFologist says:

    What a timely article Brenda. 2016 has been a challenging year for me, with various health issues in the my family.

    My parents live about 100 miles from my home, and their health has declined mightily in the last few months, with my Dad finally passing away on 11/24/2016. The temporal clutter in our lives often interrupts what is truly important with what is apparently urgent.

    As I go through the life process with my parents, it gives me the opportunity to clear some of the cluttergories in my life. The end of the year is a fine time to remind ourselves of what really matters, people NOT things. Thank you for this article.

  2. avatar
    Brenda Avadian STUFFologist says:

    Thank YOU, Eric and Marva for your comments.

    Eric, it was a sad day to lose your dad on Thanksgiving, just as we lost my F-I-L last year’s Thanksgiving Day. If my experience is an example, it will add perspective to your holiday next year. You are now the patriarch of the Riddle clan. Meanwhile, there is much to do after a family member passes.

    Marva, I like your perspective succinctly articulated. Didn’t even consider that. Recall seeing something on Facebook a while back: The rearview mirror on a car is smaller and the windshield larger, so we focus on what’s ahead.

    Thank you, both.

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