I use the phrase “what matters most to you” in many of the blog posts I construct on Unclutterer. They’re just five words that don’t mean a great deal on their own, but used together can be the recipe for a remarkable life.
What matters most to you is your motivation for getting clutter out of your life. Your spouse, your children, your creativity, your career, your spirituality, your sense of security, your quality of character, your desire to laugh, your health, your ability to provide for others, or maybe even your love of a hobby might be some of the millions of possibilities that make it onto your list of what matters to you most.
On the bulletin board hanging immediately above my computer monitor is a list of what matters most to me. Every time I look away from my work, I’m reminded about these important things. I remember why I’ve chosen my career, why I write about uncluttering, why I work from home, and why I do everything I do. It’s hard to lose track of my priorities or lose motivation with such a concrete reminder in front of me.
One of my listed items is “embark on new adventures.” I thrive when I’m planning a new project, preparing to cook a new dish, plotting my next vacation, or learning a new skill. Embarking on new adventures isn’t just something I like to do, it matters a great deal to me and I prioritize it above many other things. At least once a week (and usually more often that that), I try something new. Some of the new things I have done this month: built a robot, learned how to operate a dSLR camera, visited Philip Johnson’s Glass House, eaten a meal in a taxidermy-themed restaurant, and successfully made meringue. It’s not that these things were difficult, they were just things I had never done and wanted to do. In doing these things, I also made some sacrifices: I didn’t get the small dent removed from my car’s bumper, I didn’t buy a new dress for an event I attended, I didn’t attend my home owners’ association meeting, I didn’t go to visit my parents (I’ll visit them next month), I didn’t respond to every e-mail in my inbox, and I didn’t go to an acquaintance’s baby shower. I focused on what matters most to me, and I prioritized my attention accordingly. When you focus on what matters most to you, you will do the same.
If you haven’t completed this task before, let me recommend that you open up a new document on your computer or get out a sheet of paper and write down the things that matter to you most. What is included in your remarkable life? What isn’t? Can you envision a life for yourself where you are free to pursue those things that matter most? Create the list and then reference it as often as necessary. As the days go by, you may realize that you put some items on your list that didn’t really matter to you but that you thought should be on there — scratch them off and reconfigure your list to represent the life you desire.
Then, get rid of the clutter, and focus on what matters most to you.