Creative Play Newsletter - Spring Cleaning - Julie Brown Neu

Creative Play Newsletter – Spring Cleaning

Promote, Prioritize, Pause, Preserve boxes

Spring is coming roaring in like a lion this year for me. Work is crazy busy; my personal life is crazy busy; and I feel like I am in the middle of a swiftly moving river being swept away to whatever is next. The river rarely takes me to the activities that are the highest priorities for me, however. My creative time, which is what sustains me and keeps me from having days where my diet consists of macaroni and cheese and cake (that would be Tuesday), always seems to be the first to disappear. I see it standing on the bank, calmly waving to me, as I rush by in the river, arms flailing. 

When life has gotten so out of control like this, I know that what I need most is a reset. I need to stop, remind myself of what’s really important to ME, and do a little Spring Cleaning. I don’t mean literal cleaning, though clearing off my desk and sorting through my stacks of accumulated paper can be incredibly satisfying. What I mean is that I find the things that are on my To Do list that can be sent out to the curb. Here’s what I do:

  • I start by making a list of all of the stuff – the projects at work, the volunteer committees, the laundry and dishes, AND the stuff I want to do, like quilting.
  • Then, I create a 2×2 matrix (management consulting habits die hard). I label the boxes Promote, Prioritize, Pause, and Preserve.
  • I first pick off my list the handful of activities that are the most important and put them in the “Prioritize” Square. 
  • Then, I go through the rest of the list, putting activities in the other quadrants, as appropriate, trying to balance between “Promote” and “Preserve.”  
  • If I don’t have anything in the “Pause” square, I keep looking until I find some.

This exercise brings clarity and helps me to understand if I am actually spending my time on what’s most important. But, once it’s done, the hard work begins because I have to find the courage to stop doing everything in my “Pause” category. Ironically, that includes “Spring Cleaning/ Organizing.”

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