Goals & Habits, Mindset & Mindfulness

Does Your Life Need a Defrag?

{This piece originally appeared on my previous blog, in 2011.}

Excuse me while I get all technical for a moment.

Ginali Mosaics, EtsyAs a computer hard disk nears capacity, it gets fragmented.  That means, it starts to store bits and pieces of your files all over the place.  Each time you want to access something, your computer has to go and retrieve it from various dusty corners and ‘glue’ your information back together again… which takes longer and is less efficient.  Hence, savvy techie types do a periodic defrag of their computers, to get things running more smoothly again.

Our modern lives are getting so fragmented, that similar things happen in your brain and your home.  The analogy is pretty clear with space and storage: the more full up your house is with stuff, the more likely it is that you have fragments: items of the same type, but stored in many different locations.  (Umbrellas?  Flashlights?  Sun cream, anyone?)  The obvious solution here is to have a good sort out, de-clutter and then put things away, so that like is stored with like.

Ginali Mosaics, EtsyBecause you have many hats to wear in your life – I’m talking work, home, family, friends, community and hobbies – it’s very easy for your possessions to get fragmented.  Each different role you play probably requires different stuff.  If you toil 60 hours a week in a paid job, never bring work home with you, and have just 1 or 2 hobbies, your living space probably looks very different from that of the Mom-Etsy-Blogger who has 3 kids, volunteers for her church, cares for an elderly parent and is training for her ninth triathlon in between avid scrapbooking.

And don’t forget your brain: the more different activities and roles which make up your life, the more different thoughts are swimming around up there, getting lost, found, and fragmented. You’d be very smart to follow David Allen‘s productivity advice and get all your to-do’s out of your head and down on paper.  Otherwise, your fragments will niggle at you and get in the way of valuable thinking and action time.

In general, the more you can simplify your life, the fewer fragments you’ll have to deal with.   You might like to look at the number of plates you are spinning, and see if they are all truly bringing you joy.  Is there a fragment which you should kiss goodbye?

Image thanks: Ginali Mosaics

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