Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Creative Block Or Domestically Lazy? A Small Pep Talk To Prevent Both

It never ceases to amaze me how far a little organization can go.

There is a group of people I know who have “artist's block” in common. I used to count myself among them, but no longer. In my case the only thing preventing me from creating is clutter. They say identifying the problem is half the battle, so I’m hopeful.

Clutter comes in two forms: physical and cerebral.

Physical clutter is the pile of laundry waiting to be washed. The corner of the kitchen counter covered with mail needing to be dealt with. Dishes in the sink or dishwasher. The box of supplies delivered which remains in the entryway waiting to be unpacked. I let things accumulate until they bog me down. When I’m bogged down the task of de-cluttering seems so overwhelming I put it off for another day. And another. And another. The only thing accomplished by that is the accumulation of even more clutter.

Cerebral clutter is the myriad of things running wildly through my head. The schedules. The mental lists. Creative ideas coming and going, lost in the whirlwind of more practical plans. As is true with physical clutter, cerebral clutter weighs on me. If not remedied, my mind will collapse to a point where it can stand no more stimulation than to watch paint dry.

For some the chaos of clutter is a positive thing. Either it simply doesn’t distract them or it actually gives them drive. For me, the clutter has to be reduced before I’m able to step forward.

Last weekend I took three tasks that were weighing on my mind and committed myself to complete them before anything else. One was to wash the kitchen, dinette, entryway, and powder room floors. The second was to transform my closet from winter wardrobe to summer. (Yes, it is July already, I know.) Lastly, I wanted to take inventory of the remaining items from the winery show and store the items properly.

Cleaning the floors acted as a means to clear the long-ignored task from my mind. It also made my floors brighter and less sticky, which is a very good thing. Alternating my wardrobe gave me many more weather-appropriate garments to choose from, as well as giving me the opportunity to collect outgrown and unworn clothes for donation. Taking inventory gave me a clearer vision of what I have in stock and motivated me to rearrange things in my studio in order to store my products in a much more organized and convenient manner.

After completing these three tasks last weekend not only was much physical clutter eliminated, my mind opened up and was freer to concentrate on more important and interesting things.

If you feel you are experiencing a “block,” otherwise known as a frustrating lack of motivation, I highly recommend taking a small step of action toward decluttering and organization. Mundane chores don’t take that long to complete and should be done on a regular basis; left undone they can cause immeasurable stress. Keep a small notebook and pen or hand-held recorder with you always to keep track of important, creative, or useful ideas for later action. Try to have a place for everything, and keep everything in its place. Once your home is in order, your mind will clear, leaving you with the freedom to pursue leisure activities without the burden of physical or cerebral clutter. Less physical clutter = less cerebral clutter.

Note: This entry serves as a reminder to me to get off my butt and remember the priorities. Dust the dining room even if you don’t feel like it. Vacuum more than once a month you lazy fool! A clean, tidy, and organized atmosphere will most certainly clear your mind and give you the energy to do what is fun, like filling all those candle orders!

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