Declutter your Mind and Eliminate Your Irritations

Are there things you’d like to get done around the house, office, or yard if you only had the time? I learnt a simple technique to de-clutter the mind that spurred me to get things done and even inspired me to take more action in my life outside these areas.

I first heard of this technique from Jack Canfield, author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series of books. He calls this exercise the “Irritations list.” Very simple idea that has two very powerful consequences.

But first, here’s what’s involved in the technique:

Walk though your house or office with a pen and paper, listing all the things that irritate you. They might include small chores left undone, some leaky plumbing, a blown light bulb, or squeaky door. Anything at all that irritates you about your current environment, that you’ve maybe let slide.

At our house, the area I use for my office had no power points on the wall so I had to use an extension cord from the next room. Every day, we had to step over this thing so as not to trip up. Eventually, it became “part of the furniture” and I kept putting off installing a power point.

This procrastination about small tasks sends a powerful message to your unconscious, creating filters in your “map of reality.” By leaving the extension cord in the middle of the room, I was reinforcing in my mind, that it is an acceptable thing to do, and I am quite happy to create more of the same. Gradually, the house (and your mind) turns into a mess!

Okay, so now you have your list of about 20 things that annoy the hell out of you that you would change if only you had the time. Well, now you do because you are going to schedule it in! Pick the next available weekend and enlist the help of your family and friends to attack all the things on the list. Get them done in one fell swoop!

By inviting a posse to help you out, you are multiplying the energy and fun to this project and cutting the time it will take down to something achievable.

The Two Powerful Consequences of Eliminating your Irritations

1) This one’s pretty obvious – you declutter and get the stuff done. All those annoying little things are cleaned up and you feel great too. My father and I installed a brand new four-outlet power socket in the wall of the office and I could finally ditch the trip-wire extension cord. Strange thing is, every time I walk past the now-clean floor, I feel good. I remember the achievement. Simple, yet powerful.

2) The second benefit is a little more subtle, but far more powerful. You give your unconscious mind reinforcement that you can achieve something that you intended. Starting with achieving all the items on the irritations list might be a small accomplishment in your life, but it builds your confidence and belief that you can achieve, period!

So, what irritates you? Take a look around and use it to your advantage!

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  • Tabatha Mar 19, 2012 @ 19:34

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  • Jane Chambers Jan 10, 2012 @ 11:45

    It is certainly true that the little irritations weigh on my mind and that I’ll always notice one when I’m in the room with it, but never seem to have the time then and there to handle it. Good tip about the list and scheduling the time to correct the irritations.