Commitment Clutter & the Arrival of Spring

Spring has sprung and I wish I could say these beautiful blooms are residing in my garden, but alas, winter, not aware of the calendar, is too slowly releasing its grasp on the North Coast.  I am confident though that within the month spring flowers will be blooming somewhere along the shores of Lake Erie.  Where ever and when ever those spring blossoms burst forth for you, I wish for you the opportunity to enjoy those all too brief blooms.

Clutter unfortunately can steal away our time to enjoy things such as the first blooms of spring.  Before your mind’s eye focuses in on those piles you have on your dining room table or the maze that is your basement, take note that clutter comes in more than one form.  While much attention is given to reducing the physical clutter in people’s lives, the clutter I often find most detrimental to my clients is Commitment Clutter.   Too many commitments leads to stress, frustration and not having time to get things done around the house which in turn results in physical clutter.  A leading cause of Commitment Clutter is the inability to say no to opportunities and requests.

I recall a client sharing with me how much more in control of her life she was because of a coaching discussion we had, in which she agreed to say “no” sometimes so that she could make time to nurture herself.  In the course of a few short months, she learned to say “no” to certain requests and opportunities and was experiencing firsthand the huge difference extra “self time” was making in her life.

I know first hand what a difference reducing the number of commitments in my life has made over the past year – much less stress, more time to relax and connect with the people who matter most, and even time to enjoy those spring blooms.   Instead of saying yes to every “great” opportunity that comes my way, I’m considering opportunities in light of what I consider essential and in light of my current life focus of relationships.  Like my client, I’ve learned the benefits of committing to less and as a result am no longer struggling with Commitment Clutter like I used to.

This spring, what might reducing your Commitment Clutter and doing less make possible for you?

p.s. If the idea of doing less intrigues you I invite you to check out this posting by Leo Babauta, of Zen Habits  – Do Less: A Short Guide.

Photo Credit: Amy Mayr (thanks sis!)

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4 Responses to “Commitment Clutter & the Arrival of Spring”

  1. Linda Samuels March 24, 2015 10:03 pm #

    Oh, does this post resonate with me, Andrea! I’ve never heard the term “commitment clutter.” I know that syndrome, though and usually call it “calendar clutter.” But whatever we call it, that type of clutter can be challenging, as you’ve described.

    I find that while I’m careful about my “yeses” and “nos,” there are periods when the “yeses” bloom into a bigger bouquet than anticipated. Then I go through some shifting to rebalance and refocus so that I don’t lose sight of some of the essentials like relationships and good self-care.

    • Andrea Sharb March 25, 2015 7:45 am #

      Linda, glad to hear it caught your attention. Ahhh, those blooming yeses can be challenging, especially when you you find yourself holding a bouquet of skunk cabbage instead of the bouquet of daisies you were anticipating. ; ) Wishing you a spring filled with blooming relationships and self care my friend.

  2. Ellen Delap April 6, 2015 8:35 am #

    Love the idea of commitment clutter.

    It takes new awareness to begin thinking with this perspective. It’s moving from a sense of obligation to opportunity for some. It can be what we are passionate about and ends up requiring more time that originally thought.

    Thanks for the opportunity to reflect.

    • Andrea Sharb April 6, 2015 8:55 am #

      Ellen, I’m happy this post provided you the opportunity for reflection. You’re right in that it does take new awareness. People are so engrossed in the “everyday” of their lives, they unfortunately don’t take the time to consider what they really want from their life. Building commitment clutter awareness can lead to some pretty powerful outcomes. I can totally relate to your statement, “It can be what we are passionate about and ends up requiring more time that originally thought.” I had a life changing experience along those lines in the past 18 months and I understand how those once-passions can end up being the clutter that fills our lives. Releasing them can be hard, but I know that the one I released made a such a significant difference in my life, that I can’t imagine not having made the change.

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