December is the time of year where it feels like everything needs to happen all at once. You are probably feeling your energy pulled in all directions. Your desire to do nice things for others, buy gifts, attend holiday parties is mixed with your introverted need to snuggle up and relax on the couch. On top of all that is your inner type A personality who needs to get things done before the end of the year. How do you balance it all?? Be present. When you’re in holiday party mode, have fun! Manage your brain so that you can have fun without guilt and really experience the people around you. When you’re in relaxation mode, savor it, and remember your body needs to rest. When you’re in get-stuff-done mode, be super realistic and compassionate with yourself. This is the best time of year to admit to yourself that you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, and to let go of unfinished projects that you know you’ll never get to. If you want to tie up loose ends so that your home can be more organized before 2023, this post is for you!
What are loose ends?
Loose ends are any projects or “to-do’s” that you haven’t finished. They are the #1 source of clutter in any home. Here are some examples:
-unfinished art/craft projects
-unfinished home improvement projects
-paperwork that needs to be acted on
-paperwork that needs to be filed
-paperwork that needs to be purged
-purchases that need to be returned
-things that need to be donated or posted on “Buy Nothing”
-boxes of miscellaneous items that need to be gone through
-volunteer projects that you haven’t gotten to yet
-emails that need to be responded to/ deleted/ archived
-commitments that you’ve made but cannot keep
-hanging up artwork
-decluttering “doom drawers/closets/corners”
-open internet tabs on your computer or phone
These issues may have seemed really important at one time in your life, but in reality, they are causing you more stress because they are not truly in alignment with your goals. Many people with ADHD are major people-pleasers, and this is often a major cause of clutter in the home. One reason is because people-pleasers tend to put off their personal responsibilities of keeping up their homes so that they can be of service to others. Another reason is that people-pleasers inherently say “yes” way too much! December, being at the end of the year, is a wonderful time to resolve these issues before you bring them into the new year.
Let it go!
Turn up your sense of urgency. If a project isn’t a “hell yes” (as in, “hell yes, I really want to finish this project!”) it’s a “hell no”. Let it go! Aim to reduce your to-do list to a manageable amount. If something isn’t still a burning desire (and not absolutely necessary), let it go. Or delegate the task to someone else. Hire a maintenance person to finish home improvement projects. Give yourself the gift of peace this holiday season by nixing some of your to-do’s. Mentally hit the “easy button” so that you can fill yourself up with feelings of “I am enough/ I’ve done enough” instead of feelings like you still need to do more. Hire a professional organizer or enlist a friend to help you go through your back-log of mail. Were you planning on returning things, but the return deadline has past? Cut your losses and just donate them. Your generosity will be returned to you in the future, I promise! Be a little more ruthless with your decluttering. If you end up throwing things out instead of properly donating them, while this isn’t ideal, use that guilt as a lesson to buy less in the future and move on.
Get it done!
For the things that you still really need (or really want) to do, make a plan on completing them. Get really realistic with your time and schedule them on your calendar. Take into consideration all your other commitments. Maybe you need to ask another parent to pick up your kids at school so you can use that time to get a few things done. Ask for help if you can’t do something on your own. Many people with neurodivergence work really well with a body double. This is a person who is present, but not always active. They may be doing a quiet task like reading, knitting, or doing a diamond dotz project while you process your old paperwork. This works really well for many people to help them stay on task. Remove distractions. Get a babysitter, take your dog to doggie daycare. Do whatever you need to do so that you can put your mind to finishing your stuff so that you can start 2023 strong. If “not getting things done” is a chronic problem for you, consider scheduling an appointment with someone who is well versed in mental health. You may do really well with a prescription for ADHD medication, anxiety medication, or antidepressants. This may be a short-term solution for you while you retrain your brain to learn some new neural pathways, or it may be a long-term solution. While I love helping people find natural solutions, I am fully a supporter for medicating, when needed. Proper medication can truly change your life for the better!
Remember what you have done!
Many people forget all that they’ve accomplished for the year because they are so distracted by all the things they haven’t done. Get reflective. Look around your home and make a list of everything you’ve done this year. Scroll through your social media posts and photographs you’ve taken over the year to help you jog your memory. Give yourself a little pat on the back, and start 2023 on a high note!
By Jean Prominski, Certified Professional Organizer
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