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In this blog post, I want to cover two “D” words- decluttering and discipline. I’ve been noticing that when you are in business for a while, there is this gradual accumulation of stuff. It can be real stuff, or digital stuff. Right now, I’m noticing the digital stuff.

decluttering-and-disciplineI recently returned from a two week business trip and took time today to clean up my accumulated emails from the time I was away. I noticed a few things that were interesting to me.

First, I have too many email accounts. I have one main one for my current business, but I have another 7 I check for other projects, including one of my other businesses. I have one that accumulates email newsletters, and one that is tied to my shopping cart and keeps track of charges. So, anyway, I realized that I’ve been adding email accounts and I don’t really need all of them. All these accounts are making email feel more cumbersome than it really is, and some of the accounts represent activities and projects I’m no longer actively involved in. So it’s time to reduce the number of these.

Second, I noticed that my focus and interest is changing. I’m moving away from some types of work and particular projects which are losing their resonance for me. This means that I can likely unsubscribe from a slew of email newsletters that no longer fit my new business focus. So it’s time to do some unsubscribing.

Third, I realized that another thing I’ve picked up along the way is a whole bunch of domain names that I have never actually used. Time to cull these down, saving myself money and energetic cost.

These were the pieces of decluttering I noticed.

On the discipline side, I realized that things are about to pick up in pace, and I will have to work not harder, but smarter. I want to focus on getting things done in a timely fashion, which I normally do anyway, but, now, I want to do them more joyfully and with more meaning. I want to stay connected with the meaning and purpose of my various business activities, and to stay in touch with what I’m doing them for.

I’m also making time for some new projects, one of which is marketing my book, and I’m looking forward to developing a strategy for that. I realize that I’d been focusing on just one type of work for months and months, and that was making me feel stagnant and bored. I realized, too, that I am ready to shift from working more alone or solitary to working more with people. I love the creative exchange that happens when I can talk and create with like-minded people.

I’m also going to look at growing my visibility in terms of speaking and teaching, as these are areas of absolute joy for me. Basically, I’m looking to cultivate discipline to do what I must do, and to find ways to do it more joyfully and with fun as a main focus.

I raise these issues together because I think that decluttering and discipline actually go together. When you declutter you streamline and pare down to the essentials. When you have discipline, you take those essentials forward to create the results you want.

It’s only when you have too many choices and no clear plan that you feel overwhelmed and confused.

I invite you to consider decluttering and discipline as two sides of a related process. Where in your life can you streamline? What would streamlining give you the focus and discipline to create?

Stated another way, what would you get rid of  if you decided to declutter? And what you invite in by being more disciplined?