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“I already did it!”

When my oldest son was about 3 this was one of his favorite phrases.

Time to brush your teeth. I already did it!

Time to take a bath. I already did it!

Time to clean up your toys. I already did it!

The only activity that wasn't met with this refrain was eating. 😉

In his three-year-old mind, once you did something there was no need to go back and do it again.

Luckily, now that he is a fully functioning 24-year old, he understands that some activities will be done repeatedly forever. So far he’s managed to keep himself, his cat, and his dog alive and healthy, maintain a job and a house, and remember to put gas in the car. He's learned to appreciate the art of maintenance.

When I guide my clients through the 5 Step Productive Environment Process the last step is “Sustain Your Success.” I also refer to this step as “Maintenance,” or in my group coaching we call it “Follow Through.” This step is crucial to creating the organized, productive life or business you desire, but often this is where the breakdown occurs.

If you want lasting results and lasting change, here are some ways to sustain your success:

Accountability: Did you know you are 67% more likely to be successful with an accountability partner than if you tackle a goal on your own? While your accountability partner doesn’t have to be on track for the same goal as you, it’s important to identify a person (or group) who understands your goal and is dedicated to checking in to help you reach it. If your goal was to wear your “old” jeans again, find a friend who will check in with you each week and then schedule your workouts in advance.

Scheduled Updates: To make things a habit, you need to schedule them in advance so that you will keep up with them. For example, think of filing papers. Realistically, you won’t file papers every day or as papers come in (which is why I teach my clients to have a place to keep papers “to be filed”). Instead of wishful thinking, schedule the filing. Maybe for you, this is every Wednesday or the last day of every month. I file twice a month during a webinar that I join that is “listen only.” I don’t ever get too far behind, but I also don’t worry about filing at any other time.

You probably have tasks that need maintenance on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly schedule. Your newly organized family room will need a “5-minute tidy” every night, while your garage or attic will need yearly or seasonal upkeep. If the clutter you worked hard to remove was mental or emotional, perhaps schedule time to talk with a friend or professional or plan weekly brain dumps and journaling.

The key is to PLAN this ahead of time (ideally while you are still carrying out the organizing or productivity project) and put it on the calendar.

Remember: what gets scheduled gets done. Accountability and Maintenance are the keys to lasting change.

Have you noticed that when you’re surrounded by clutter, you feel a sense of unrest?

When I am stuck on a project or decision my go-to solution is to declutter something. This isn’t me avoiding the work. Clutter can leave you feeling anxious, stressed, and even depressed. It affects your ability to focus, your sleep, and your anxiety levels. So when I take a bag of donations or sell something I no longer need, I feel lighter and better able to concentrate.

At every moment the objects around you are influencing you and effecting your energy field. So it is time to start being mindful about what you have surrounding you, and whether it is draining you, or bringing you peace.

Clutter is not just the things that we have around us.

But what is clutter?

Clutter is anything that is clogging your life, taking your time, or is a trigger for negative associations. Your life is dictated by what you have around you.

Decluttering isn’t enough to get you out of this space. If you go into it with just intentions of getting rid of “stuff” the piles will just build back up because you aren’t getting to the source. Just doing the "keep, donate, toss" method isn’t enough, when you declutter, it needs to be done to clear out old patterns.

These “things” that you just keep letting slip, and build up, end up becoming energetic blocks that prevent you from gaining the traction you need to reach your goals.

Ask yourself these three questions about the things, habits, and thoughts in your life:

  • Does this bring me happiness?

  • Does this add value to my life?

  • Am I being intentional in keeping this?

If an item hasn’t been used in the last year, you’re not likely to need it in the future. (Unless it is a specialty item like a tent you couldn’t use this summer or a ball gown that still fits and you still love.) That item has become clutter. Sell the items that have value, donate, or throw away the rest. Don’t keep clutter just because money was spent on it!!

Clutter-Free Habits to Start Today!

Start Recycling and Donating Regularly!

Tossing, recycling, and donating items regularly removes cluttered items for good. Make it a part of your routine to tackle these items as soon they become unwanted!

Implement a “One In, One Out” Rule!

Every time you bring something new into your home, another like-item must leave. This is extremely helpful for those that have already thoroughly decluttered and want to maintain the balance within their environment!

The Biggest Clutter Banishing Rule!

This one is a two-part habit, and it can make ALL the difference when it comes to decluttering! Have a designated spot for everything, and put things away after use! If everything you own has a place and you put it back after use. You’ll end up with a neater, clutter-free space for a longer amount of time!

Simplicity is our natural state!

If it piles back up you aren't getting to the source of the problem. There's always an underlying reason. Is stuff your buffer against the world? Your way of hiding who you are? Maybe it’s fear of the future, or clinging to a part of your past that you’re afraid to move on from? Simplicity is our natural state. Assessing these deeper issues, and working to find a positive way to move through your underlying issue of clutter helps bring you a sense of peace in so many different areas in your life.

I Challenge You to Re-program Your Mind!

When you take charge of the different thoughts, patterns, and routines you want in your life you can make them happen. Clutter and disorganization is a habit that has been accumulated throughout your lifetime. I challenge you to start making small changes every single day in your routine. When you start doing this your brain automatically becomes more engaged. It is up to you to make a change and stick with it.

This task can feel overwhelming and daunting to tackle on your own. If this is something you just can’t imagine being able to handle alone, reach out! We can come up with a plan for you to make a change that can effectively and positively change your life!

Schedule a call and let's get started!

About a week ago, I found myself simultaneously thinking about writing this blog, handling client invoices, cleaning the ceiling fan, drinking more water, checking to see if I put my new mammogram date on the calendar, mailing my sister a birthday card, giving the dog his medicine, sending thank you notes, finding toilet paper, reminding my son to start his car since he’s been home for so many days during quarantine, and at least 20 more things. All At. The. Same. Time.

Did that make you feel exhausted just by reading it? Does your brain often feel like a computer with 27 tabs open? Luckily, I’ve found a solution. They’re called brain dumps.

Why Brain Dumps?

I teach clients that the most effective way to de-clutter any space is to take everything out and only put things that help you accomplish your work or enjoy your life back in. The same is true for thoughts and ideas that take up space in your head. By getting everything out, you free up space for creativity, giving yourself the ability to focus on and tackle those important tasks.


To do a brain dump, all you need is something to write on and something to write with. Your goal is to write down absolutely everything that comes to mind. Really - everything. Let your mind wander! Don’t force yourself to make a list of “to-do” items, but instead write down any type of thought that comes to mind. I recently had a client who said the same thought came up twice. That’s okay if that happens…write it down still. You’re not only closing those “open tabs,” you’re also allowing things to come from your subconscious up to the surface.

What it Looks Like and When to do it Every brain dump will look different. Some brain dumps may be a page of organized bullet points while others may look like mind maps and scribbles. The most important thing is that you’re able to get it down on paper. When you choose to do a brain dump is a personal decision that you’ll make. For example, I prefer doing these brain dumps early on Sundays, and then walking away and letting any additional ideas come to me during the day. As they come to me throughout the day, I’ll jot them down, and then organize my lists Sunday night. No matter when you do them, I recommend that you do the initial dump in a quiet place free from distractions.

Organize Your Thoughts

After your initial brain dump, it’s important to come back to it later on to form a plan of action. When you return to your brain dump, your goal is to make a game plan for everything you want to accomplish from it. You’ll want to identify action steps for each item and add them to your calendar, to-do lists, shopping lists, and more so that they are not forgotten.

When it comes to organizing your thoughts, here are ways to separate and tackle each type of item on your list:

  • Quick Results: Read through your list and identify anything that can be done in 10 minutes or less. If you have time, knock some of them out right away.

  • Upcoming Tasks: For things you can’t do today, work on prioritizing the tasks in order of importance and figuring out when you can focus on them. Add them to your to-do list, your calendar, your CRM, or the appropriate place to keep track.

  • Projects: Break up large projects into smaller action items. Always ask yourself, “What is the next action that needs to be done on this project?” Write that down on your list. Many also keep a “Project” list as well in a notebook, Google doc, or task manager app.

  • Errands: Your brain dump will likely include a variety of errands to run and groceries you need. Create a specific checklist for groceries and errands.

  • Thoughts and Feelings: For thoughts that aren’t task-related, like feelings of loneliness or stress about being unhealthy, try to think of one or two actions you can take in the next week or two that will help. Schedule lunch with a friend and sign up for a virtual yoga class. Taking even one small step is a great start! I sometimes realize that I need to journal separately about a thought that surfaces during the process, so be open to this as well.

  • Delete and Delegate: As you review your brain dump, take some time to identify items that you can delegate or simply leave undone.

Your Turn

Some weeks I take the time to carefully transfer my brain dump items to the categories above, and other weeks I only pull out the urgent items. You want this exercise to feel freeing, not like another chore.

While some may benefit from having a specific day to do a brain dump each week, they can come in handy for those times you feel overwhelmed, are planning for the upcoming week, month, or year, feel stuck or out of balance, or have multiple projects on the horizon. Brain dumps are one helpful tool for improving mental clarity, focus, and peace. Experiment with what works for you and let me know what you find! If you’d like to talk through the process or have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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