Learning to love what must be done has been a life-theme of mine for several years now, and I see it as the primary message of both Simplified Organization, my signature ecourse on organizing and managing life, and Simply Convivial, my blog. Rather than love our own pet hobbies and then grumpily perform our household duties and parent our children out of a sense of mere obligation, we will not only work better, but also find contentment and joy if we are willing to place our love in our duties.
This is a shift that doesn’t happen overnight. It is an attitude-habit that we must learn through practice over and over again, every day. Eventually, our affection and satisfaction grow where we intentionally place them.
In all my emails and articles, I hope to help you (and myself!) reorient our focus and choose love in the mundane moments.
What is an organized attitude?
An organized closet it one where each item is returned to its proper place. An organized attitude is one where each response is put in its proper place.
Instead of just accepting every incoming item (thought) and letting whatever comes fill up our head space, we must evaluate what comes into our minds and either dump it or keep it – on purpose.
We must take responsibility for and care of what comes into our homes, and in the same way we have to also take responsibility for what comes into our heads. Just because it shows up doesn’t mean it has to stay and doesn’t have to become a pet or a secret treasure.
Organizing our attitudes is taking control of our thought-lives and aligning the story we’re always narrating to ourselves with truth and grace and gratitude.
How do we organize attitudes?
If we think of our thoughts like little items that come in and clutter our closet of a head, then we can think of controlling our thoughts like decluttering. Toss out the garbage, don’t shove it deeper into the far corners.
Have a policy: Only truth and gratitude allowed here.
It is a difficult policy to enforce, but one that will repay us fourfold every time we put it into effect. Practice will make it easier, and forgetting isn’t failure.
The more we are able to practice the policy, the more of a habit it will become, until slowly, slowly our mindset shifts and the complaining spirits that used to vex us will no longer feel comfortable and natural.
It will take time. It is not an overnight transformation. But it is oh so worth it.
For more specific, baby-step strategies, check out this ongoing blog series:
What’s in a name?
One attitude-organizing strategy I try to use for household chores I find boring is to rename them.
For example, I’ve turned laundry time into listening time, thinking time. I do one or two loads of laundry most days, and so it’s an automatic part of the day. In the mid-afternoon I cart up the clean laundry to my room, folding it onto my bed (so putting it away isn’t optional) and listening to a podcast or audiobook. I close my bedroom door and for 15 minutes I have a little laundry “retreat.”
Suddenly, laundry has turned from a dull chore to an excuse for refueling and refreshing.
Have you renamed previously distasteful chores and turned them into a part of your day you sometimes even look forward to?
I’d love to hear about it. Tell me your story: