Cars used to be more than transportation to me. They were a sign of my freedom. A 4000 pound representation of my identity. My identity when I was 17 was hard working and nearly broke (at least by today’s standards). I was driving a used Honda civic I had souped up with rims, loud exhaust, and a very loud stereo system. My little red Honda was fast, fun, and sometimes furious. On days I wanted to push the limits, I made sure to vacuum and wash her. She simply seemed to run better when clean.
If you know me personally, at least personally enough to ride in my car, you know that my car is not always a picture of show-room perfection. Having a job that involves driving from customer to customer all day, and coming home to lots of stuff to do with a big family doesn’t always give me a chance to clean. Just like the days of my little red Honda, though, a quick cleaning of my car seems to make things run a little smoother.
The value of simplicity is lost on many of us.
Busy-ness creates tight schedules, pressure, and “space” for thought. Living a cluttered lifestyle hampers creativity for most people I know. Steven Pressfields infamous “resistance” lays in the midst of all that clutter. Whether it be creativity or simple productivity, clutter, busy-ness, dirty-ness, or disorganization, when we don’t control our “stuff”, controls us. The good news is you have a choice. You can choose to change this. I write incessantly about living intentionally. Create some time in your life, maybe one multi hour block per month to check in with neatness and organization. Having a clean inbox, desk, car, kitchen, etc will NEVER happen automatically. Give yourself a goal around organization and neatness. Your month may seem like a slow unwinding of your cleanliness, but that’s ok. If you build time into your week or month to RESET it, you don’t have to stress.
My best work comes in a clean car, clean office, and freshly polished shoes. Reward your efforts with a small deliverable after you have cleaned your office. Cook something exciting after you’ve cleaned and organized your kitchen. Oh boy is it fun to cook when you can find the basil and oregano. Take your spouse out for some Froyo in that shinny clean car.
This post isn’t about cleaning or organizing. Notice how I don’t give a 5 step how-to? This is about control. You are Mission Control. You decide how you want to live and work. You don’t need a new book deal, or a raise, or even a job at all to make these adjustments. You just need intentionality and some action.
What is the most important CLEAN space for your life? How do you maintain your sanity while maintaining your commitments? Please Share!