The Unmanageable Mess


What in your life have you left untouched?

By that I mean it's something that you know you should have dealt with, or organized, or labeled from the getgo ... but you didn't. Maybe it's hundreds of unread emails lurking in your inbox. Maybe it's a pile of photographs that's only growing over the years. Or is it those receipts, or medical papers, or useful documents that you just stuffed into a file cabinet?

These kinds of things will never accomplish their purpose the way they are. You can't enjoy the photos sitting in a bin in the garage. You can't find that warranty from the heater you bought 2 years ago that's now broken.

That's why we should organize these things. But we didn't, and now just the thought of starting to work through it just makes you tense with stress.

I know that feeling. I was exactly the same way with my internet bookmarks. When I found an article or a video or a recipe or a gift for someone… I bookmarked it. And then I never sorted them. So there I was with a hundred and one bookmarks, with no organization and therefore totally useless. Their whole point was to be useful to me but I couldn't find them in the mess!

I'll let you in on a little secret. Well, it's not actually a secret, but you'd think it would be since so few people actually uses it!

Baby steps. Little, tiny, baby steps. It’s the only way to get past the overwhelm.

One Step at a Time, Impossible becomes PossibleSet a timer, and work on that unmanageable mess for 15 minutes. That's is exactly what I did to sort through my bookmarks. For 15 minutes I created folders and starting sorting. When it was over, I stopped and moved on. Then the next day, or the next week, I did another 15 minutes. Soon they were in beautiful organized folders and guess what? I never felt overwhelmed.

The key is to not look let yourself zoom out. A lot of times looking at the big is important, but not here. Do not let yourself think of the 427 emails. Let's say you're doing five emails a day. Great! So you don’t have 427; you only have five. You don’t have 3 tubs full of pictures, you only have this small stack.

As long as you think like that, you will conquer it. As soon as you start stressing about how huge the task is, you’ll stop because you feel like you can never finish it. You’re shooting yourself in the foot!

So set a small, very manageable daily goal. 15 minutes. 5 emails. Seriously small, there’s a reason they call it baby steps. Take one step at a time and before you know it, the impossible becomes possible.

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