Out With the Old

  • June 01, 2015
  • Caroline Nevin

Spring has sprung, and it’s time for renewal

When the first weeks of spring start to green our view, there is an inevitable release of winter blahs and the world seems full of potential again. We feel rejuvenated, inspired and resolutely resolved to do better and be better. Now is the ideal time to de-clutter, streamline and re-prioritize our life, we think. So, once again, we dive into the task of clearing and cleaning, re-discovering what we truly value, and creating an environment that supports – rather than addles – our mental, physical, financial and spiritual health.

There are no end of resources to help de-clutter our lives. Google “de-clutter” and you’ll be faced with a daunting mountain of webpages to visit. Ironically, there’s a lot of clutter about clutter. To save you some time, I will list a few simple rules that appear in one form or another in many of those sites (do feel free to share your own too, please).

Rule #1 – Everything Has a Place (or Time)

The basic idea is that the more you make things predictable and intuitive, the less brainpower and time you spend on things that aren’t so important (like searching for keys, matching a container and its lid, or sporadically clearing e-files). Check out unclutterer.com for some great tips on this.

Rule #2 – Only Keep What You Need or Love

Clutter is simply postponed decisions – the things, activities and people we truly need or love are much fewer than what we now have in our lives; we’ve just not yet made decisions about what to do with the rest. Now is the time.

Rule #3 – Know Why the Clutter Got There

Clutter is whatever gets in the way of what matters most. Often, it is “emotional clutter” – belongings, habits and beings we keep in our lives solely because of unresolved issues about the past, fantasies or worries about the future, or self-criticism of actions taken or not taken. Identifying and analyzing your personal reasons for holding on helps you assess what’s worth keeping and what gets in your way. Most decluttering sites advise journaling as you begin examining the clutter you have kept and why.

Rule #4 – This is a Process, Not a Task

New habits take time to develop. The trick is to do it in small chunks, and just keep doing it. The more you learn about what you truly value, and the more you practice applying it, the easier and faster the process of life de-cluttering becomes.

Rule #5 – “Good Enough” Really Is.

Perfect is the enemy of Good. Celebrate when you’ve made progress, and be vigilant about not using imperfection as an excuse to stop trying.

De-cluttering isn’t just for individuals, it’s useful for organizations as well. Here at the CBA, we are fully engaged in a very important renewal process called CBA Re-Think. We are looking at everything the CBA currently does, examining why we do it the way we do now (or why we do it at all), and whether we’re providing what lawyers truly value. The objective is to make decisions that create “space” and resources for the things that lawyers say they most need and want, for now and for the future. We need you to get directly involved in this process in order for it to work – a Virtual Community is being established for everyone to provide their input and ideas, and there will be in-person workshops across the country, including June 19 in Vancouver. Please join in this important process and help us renew the CBA!

Caroline Nevin signature

Caroline Nevin