Post written by Leo Babauta.
Every January, people rush out and get a gym membership, set a list of goals or resolutions, and get ready to take on a new year of frenetic activity.
Unfortunately, we don’t often clear space to make room for all this new stuff.
The beginning of the year is a great time for renewal of energy and taking on the things we’ve always wanted to tackle — clutter, fitness, work we’re passionate about, debt, and so on. But it’s also a great time to clear out your life, starting out the year on a blank page that’s ready to be filled.
While everyone’s life is different, I’ll share some of what I do to clear out my life.
- Review the year to think about what I learned, what mistakes I made, what I accomplished.
- Clear my schedule as much as possible. That often means saying no to people.
- Wrap up old projects, end commitments to people, so that my work plate is clearer than normal.
- Toss out old fitness and eating plans, to make room for new experiments.
- Clear my email inbox. If I haven’t answered the email recently, it’s probably not important, so I archive it. Act on or answer other emails, so that my inbox is emptied.
- Clear out other inboxes. That might be an inbox on a social network, or a list of things I wanted to do or read, or any kind of list really. File them away under someday, or delete or archive. Anything that’s taking some mental energy because I know I need to get to it, gets cleared.
- Clear my computer files. Usually this means deleting a bunch of files I don’t need, but I also just consolidate files into one folder or put them in an online archive (like in Dropbox).
- Clear paperwork. I rarely have any papers these days — I’ve slowly turned everything digital. But I still get things in the mail sometimes, so if I have any lying around, I dispose of them to clear out any remaining paperwork.
- Clear clutter. If there are areas that have become cluttered, I clear them out. Often it just means taking a box or bag of things that I’ve been meaning to donate to Goodwill.
- Clear my errands. I’ll make a list of all the errands I’ve been putting off, and do them in one afternoon.
- Clear my finances. I’ll take a few minutes to review my checking and savings accounts, Paypal, investments, etc. and make sure everything is in order. If there are little things that need taking care of, I do them so that my mind is cleared.
- Clear pantry and refrigerator of junk. Old crap that’s been lying around. Junk food if there’s any there (I don’t usually have any anymore, but I used to). Left with just good whole ingredients for healthy foods.
This might take a couple days, working off and on in little bits. For some, it might take longer. But when you’re done, it’s amazing. Your mind is clear and refreshed. You feel like you’re ready to take on anything.
To be honest, I do these things regularly throughout the year, and it’s great to keep a clean slate most of the time. But the new year is always a perfect opportunity to clear everything at once.