Growth is Uncomfortable!

Published on
February 22, 2021
Time to read: 
Home office with wooden furniture, black high back chair, rainbow tower, laptop, headset, ergonomic keyboard and mouse, and printer. Also gliding rocking chair, two tripods, boxes and more office items.
This is an actual picture of my clean and tidy home office, memorialized as it is unlikely to stay this clutter free.

My last post was about the challenges of decluttering my office space. I’m happy to report that my office is actually really tidy right now! The image with this blog was taken using my smartphone to immortalize this rare occurrence.

Now I have a confession to make, having a space this tidy is very uncomfortable for me!!! People who know me from my days in the military, from my time in military college up until the day I retired, know that I thrive when surrounded by what looks like chaos to others. One of my past mentees even commented about the state of my office on the Facebook thread that accompanied my last blog.

I really like to be able to see and lay my hands on every project that I’m working on. That being said, it’s also nice to have all my highlighters and pens in one place, so I don’t have to search for them. I’m seeking a balance between creative chaos and organization.

Monday, when I mentioned the discomfort of working in a clean office to one of my WE-CAN Project at Queens coaches, Orlena Cain, she said that discomfort means that we’re growing. She reminded me that people can become accustomed to and comfortable with situations that are not healthy for them. Orlena suggested several ways of decluttering in our group session that morning, and repeated them during our one-on-one coaching session that afternoon.

One of her suggestions was to declutter email files by unsubscribing to newsletters we don’t read, deleting completed email threads, and emptying spam and trash folders. I know I get a vicarious thrill every time I empty my email trash!

She recommended spending 10 minutes every day decluttering, setting an alarm clock if necessary. One of my high school friends suggests starting with 5 minutes, and a Thought Partner I've worked with suggests starting with 3 minutes. The idea is that by starting with a manageable period of time, we get something done, and often we get into the groove and invest more than the time we originally allotted to the task. 

Orlena shared that listening to inspirational music while sorting emails works for her. That resonated with me, as I regularly listen to two of my favourite CBC Podcasts while filing, Unreserved with Falen Johnson and Under the Influence with Terry O’Reilly.

I’ve learned that sometimes people need to be ready for a lesson before they can absorb it.  I’ve noticed that it may take three or more times before a new idea sinks in as applicable to me.  I’ve written about this before, back in April 2020 in my blog post called Digital Bread Crumbs (See blog post when I wrote about how many times people shared the value of having your business listed in Google my Business before I finally took action. Shout out to Dionne Baker, Shop Boss Secrets, my eCommerce coach, who sets practical tasks for me such as back linking to previous blogs!

I won’t promise to keep my office this tidy all the time, because that’s simply not realistic. For example, I’ve already put the clear storage box with my draft book manuscript, highlighters, and copious notes, onto the flat surface in front of the flag presentation box. I can still see the flag and medals!  I’ve also temporarily thrown the comfy new fleece sweater my spouse gave me for my birthday onto the gliding rocker. I’ll be taking that with me when I leave my office at the end of the day.

While remaining tidy is uncomfortable, I’ve drafted plans, including seeking help from professional organizers, to help me store and access my papers, books and other resources in my office space. Someday, I may even post photos of the wooden bookshelves I plan to eventually install and of an open closet filled with colour coded file boxes.

What growth is making you uncomfortable this week?