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Finding Your Way Back on Track Again

Tackling an organizing project can be a lot like meditating. Have you ever meditated?

If so, you’ll know one way of meditating is consciously focusing on your breath while bringing awareness to each part of your body, from the sensation in your toes up to the tingling in your fingertips.

If you’re familiar with this practice, you probably know it’s common to easily get distracted and lose your focus.

Sometimes all it takes is 5 seconds of focusing on your breath for your mind to wander off to what happened yesterday or everything you need to do tomorrow.

In some guided meditations, the teacher will repeatedly tell you to expect this and gently guide you back to the present moment and back to your breath again. Just being aware that your mind wandered off is a victory in itself.

This past Sunday I did a guided meditation while lying in the grass with my feet planted in the ground. It was so peaceful. The only people around were Ed quietly picking up branches he’d trimmed and a person strolling by on a horse. The sun was shining, not a cloud in the sky, and the autumn air was crisp.

I started my meditation practice and within seconds, my mind wandered off to something completely random. Once I noticed my shift in focus, I brought my awareness back to my breath. And the cycle repeated itself over and over until I successfully finished my session.

It was probably around one minute and five seconds that my distracted mind realized that meditation can be a lot like organizing… 🙂

Let’s say you’re organizing your office.

You start off strong getting a good handle on your paper clutter. Twenty minutes later, fully focused and “in the groove of things,” you make progress sorting and filling bags of paper to recycle and shred.

Then, BAM! You get an urgent phone call you have to take. Or maybe someone in your house starts screaming or crying. Or maybe you just remembered something important you need to do by tomorrow.

Whatever it is, distraction takes over, and now your focus has completely shifted to something else leaving yet another half-finished project around the house.

But half-finished projects just mean something else was more important to you in the moment when you stopped. It’s not a reflection of failure. Often when we’re working on organizing projects, we can get stuck on something (e.g., making a decision, lack of information, etc.), and end up completely shifting gears to something different that gives us more comfort or certainty.

But if you stopped organizing your office because your daughter was crying, that just means your daughter is more important than your papers. You should celebrate how great of a parent you are since your values are in the right order!

Expect interruptions. But come back to your focus.


Transitioning Back to Your Focus

One of the biggest challenges most people have is transitioning.

You go on vacation and the transition back to the job can be hard.

You move and the transition into the new house requires work.

You have a baby and the transition to the new routine can be tough.

Your kids go off to college and the transition to the empty nest can feel lonely.

In the case of meditating, when your mind wanders off to tomorrow or yesterday, transitioning back to the present moment is what requires effort.

It’s the same thing in the example above, when you fall off track with organizing your office, transitioning back into the “groove” of sorting papers takes some real mental strength…

But like meditating, there is victory in just awareness that you’re off track. And the faster you’re aware, the faster you can get yourself back on track closer to achieving your goals.

If you fell off track with an organizing project, what’s one 5-minute task you can do today (or this weekend) to ease back into it?

Once you re-start again (and get past the tough transitioning period which is always temporary) it’ll be much easier to keep going.

Nobody is going to do it for you. Only YOU can do it for yourself…

Sending love your way,

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    Alejandra Costello
  • About Alejandra

    Since 2008, organizing expert & certified life coach, Alejandra Costello has taught thousands of students in 132 countries how to get organized through her video-based training programs. Her YouTube videos have been viewed 100+ million times. Named 1 of the 5 most organized people in America by HGTV and "The Decluttering Queen" by Good Morning America, Alejandra's expertise has been featured in The New York Times, Oprah.com, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Good Housekeeping, Family Circle, Woman's Day, Parents Magazine, and CBS. You can read more about Alejandra here.


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