It seems so simple, but it works
Having a few clothes on your floor seems harmless, right? How about a few empty dishes in the sink that are waiting to be cleaned? Or perhaps putting your laptop away under your bed is useless because, you know, you will probably use it tomorrow, right?
Most of my life has been lived letting these subtle little messes remain while thinking it was no biggie. I’d happily leave a mess on the floor because doing my writing was more important. It was so easy to skip over the little messes I was leaving behind me, which were messing up my life plan without me having any idea.
Then, this American dude with dark, slicked-back hair like the Fonz, stepped into my life. His name was Joshua Becker. I started reading about minimalism and at first, it did sound like a religion. As I went deeper into minimalism, I discovered a more simplistic version, which is the art of cleaning up your mess. Cleaning up my mess became an experiment for me and I wanted to see what its effects would be.
A Discipline That Carries Over Into Other Areas of Your Life
Whatever it is that you want to do in life, to do it well, you need an enormous amount of discipline. Cleaning up your mess is less about the mess itself and more to do with the discipline you get from the activity. Cleaning up is a sign that you are being disciplined and holding yourself to a higher standard. It allows you to stop setting a low bar for your life and take your standards up a level.
As you raise your standards by cleaning up your mess, you also open yourself to raising your standards in other areas of your life. Rarely does fixing one part of your life have isolated benefits. When you begin a new habit that serves you in a positive way, you influence other areas of your life in an often invisible way.
In my case, learning to clean up my mess meant treating myself better and also committing to other activities like going to the gym. If you can be disciplined at cleaning up, why can’t you be disciplined with exercise?
The act of cleaning up your mess becomes evidence you can use against yourself in a court of law whenever you find yourself telling lies or not going all-in on areas of your life that you know you can do better at.
A Warm-Up for the Main Event
The main event in my case is writing. Cleaning up my mess has become a trigger for my mind as to what is about to follow. The new routine has evolved into cleaning the dishes, picking up the clothes off the floor, putting lose items away and then sitting down to write.
With the mess put away, the mind doesn’t escape the creative process of activities such as writing into the abyss of mess you have left behind in your surroundings. Before you begin to exercise, you warm up. Why can’t you warm-up for the main goal of your life by first cleaning up your mess and enabling the beautiful feeling of a crystal clear mind that is ready to shine for the world to see?
A Focused Mind
Focus is overlooked as nothing more than a productivity guru’s wet dream. This generalization is like stabbing yourself in the face a thousand times with a well-sharpened, moderately priced hunting knife. After experiencing a crystal clear mind, I would happily pay the price of admission that comes from domestic pursuits such as cleaning up the mess.
My home has been clean and tidy for most of this year. My default response to clean up the mess as it exists (not when it becomes overwhelming) has brought backspace in my head that was previously rented out to distracted thoughts of putting on a maid outfit and one day in my dreams getting my domestic shit together once and for all.
I’m no longer tripping over clothes on the floor. Instead, I’m tripping over ideas in my head that I use to be creative, which have been birthed out of clearer thinking, as a result of less mess. The price of a focused mind allows you to do work that is rewarding and will live beyond your physical human existence.
With focus, you can do anything in life that your little beating heart desires. Focus is the enabler of dreams and the daily practice of all those heroes you used to collect in scrapbooks as a kid and idolize over. Be the guy/girl in the scrapbook and feel what it’s like to be focused.
The art of cleaning up your mess allows you to cultivate a crystal clear mind that is able to be deployed on much more important goals in life. The mess in your physical world is a dark cloud that sits inside your head whenever you want to do your life’s work and holds you back.
The mess that is staring you in the face is easy to fix and you can trade it in for better focus and the awesome, life-changing work that comes from a clean space not buried in the mess.
- Clean up your mess.
- Experience a crystal clear mind.
Achieve goals that your previously messy thinking didn’t allow for.
All Rights Reserved for Tim Denning