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The Power of Mental Housekeeping

In today’s post, Valerie Trask, founder of Seattle-based coaching business Masters of Moxie, explains how to de-clutter your physical and mental space in preparation for a thriving 2017.

We already know that clearing out the junk drawer, ditching old magazines, and organizing your filing cabinet can make you feel ready to take on the world; however, don’t neglect the less tangible clutter. Just like investing time in physical cleaning, putting effort into your mental space can have powerful impacts on your life.

How to liberate yourself from three common types of mental clutter:

1. Past mistakes and failures

Shutting down my first venture was excruciating. Beat down and and burnt out, I shoved all of the artifacts from the business into a box and banished it to the depths of my closet. It wasn’t until much later that I finally took a deep breath and went through the box. Recycling old business cards, brochures, and anything non-tax relevant felt empowering in a way that I never imagined. I didn’t realize how heavily that box weighed on me until it was gone.

I often meet people who haven’t totally forgiven themselves for a venture that never took off or a big career blunder haunting them from the past. Toss your old notebook dramatically into the fireplace, shred the business plan, burn sage over your desk – do whatever gesture, big or small, that makes you feel closure.

2. Dropped correspondence

You meant to respond to the email, then enough time passed and it felt uncomfortable so you saved it for later. Now hitting reply seems ridiculous, but it’s still on your mind.

Pick up the phone, apologize profusely, and say that you’re eager to pick up where you left off. While you’re at it, block off time to delete, file, or archive anything collecting virtual dust in your inbox. The easiest way to stay on top of email is to file everything except active conversations.

3. The lingering to do list item

How many weeks or months has that been on your to do list?! Ask yourself if it’s really worth your time at all. If it is, then break it into three miniature to-do items and do the first one right now. Yes, now. Sometimes a little momentum goes a long way. Then give yourself a deadline for the other two and tell a friend you’ll buy them an uncomfortably expensive dinner if you miss it.

A little more on today’s contributor Valerie Trask 

Serial entrepreneur Valerie Trask has been a founder, first hire, advisor, coach, and consultant for industries ranging from tech to education to food. After three years as Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer for Seattle-based cooking device tech startup, Sansaire, she is now focusing full-time on Masters of Moxie, coaching and consulting for entrepreneurs.