Too much stuff

Unless you’re an extreme minimalist (props if you are) then you’re likely to be always taking on more stuff, more projects, more emails, more clients, a bigger house, a bigger garden, a 2nd car… and on and on.

But when does all that stuff become too much?

Everything new that we acquire takes a varying degree of ongoing maintenance, whether it be physical maintenance like cleaning a car or mental maintenance like thinking about that project which is due at the end of the week.

If you’re constantly taking things on and bringing things in, but not finishing things off and getting rid of things… then your mind isn’t going to know what to focus on, what the priority should be.

You won’t have time to do everything because there’s now too much to maintain and you’ll start to drop a couple of those many balls you’ve been juggling.

I know because it’s happened to me, in fact, it’s happening to me right now – I have too much stuff.

I have known that it’s been an issue but haven’t prioritised getting out of it. After speaking to my mentor the other day, he said to me: “Dan, you’re doing too much, you need to simplify – this should be your number one priority”.

I’m sure there’s a psychological term for not giving yourself permission to focus on something you know is extremely important but aren’t prioritising, then when someone else tells you to do it, you instantly realise that’s what you should have done all along and actually start implementing it…

I don’t know what that term is, but it worked and it was enough for me to start making some changes.

What that physically looks like for me is:

  • Finishing organisation that I started over the Christmas holidays (files, photos, bookmarks, backups etc).
  • Setting up a CRM system for my business.
  • Setting up an online workspace to keep all of my notes, plans and writing in one place.
  • Condensing my email folders and purging old emails I don’t need (over 3,000 unread).
  • Listing our 2nd car (that we don’t need) for sale.
  • Implementing a system for ongoing housework.

(I’ll have this list completed by the end of Feb, feel free to check in with me by email and if I haven’t – I’ll send the first person who checks in NZ$100).

When you have too much stuff and too much maintenance to do, it can become very stressful. There are only really two solutions to this in my mind:

  1. Get rid of some stuff, whether it be projects, emails, physical stuff… whatever.
  2. Implement a much better system for dealing with the stuff, so that it’s out of your head and you know it’s taken care of… and you know how to deal with new stuff.

Having a regular review and implementing a little of both solutions can only be a good thing for anyone.

I have already started implementing and can’t wait to finish getting rid of some more of that stuff.

You can read an update to how I got on with achieving the things on my list here.

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An SEO Consultant based in Mansfield Woodhouse, United Kingdom. I'm obsessed with SEO at the moment, but I also love talking about and interpreting marketing in general, productivity and entrepreneurship.

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