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Ask Sam: Clearing the “Extra” Room

The Question…

Dear Sam,

I am enjoying your Get-It-Done Toolkit very much! I just love
listening to you talk and love your upbeat, encouraging, yet gentle

It is great to hear that I can do it “my way,” and this has given me
the freedom to accept that I kind of hurl myself somewhat haphazardly
into things. There IS a “poor planning” jeopardy in this approach,

Here is a question…my first project is to clear out the “extra” room
that has turned into a catchall closet for everything/who knows what.
I made a great start on it, including wrestling an old bookshelf out
the door and into the garage on my own. (whoopee!) After the initial
steps, I have arrived at the STUCK moment, where I look at things and
just have no idea what to do with them, where to put them.

Today I reached that space; usually this would result in my turning
away from the project to “deal with it later,” since I didn’t know how
to proceed.

Well, I chose to spend 15 minutes in the room anyway, and
opened the window to let the sun in (mimicking a joyful experience
from the past). I used the 15 minutes to make a list of all the
piles in the room and anything else I could think of. I moved a few
minor items. So I did accomplish my 15 minutes.

Still, however, I feel stuck and do not know how to proceed with any
level of productivity. I am wondering what advice you might have for
this stage. I am sure others go through it!

Thank you very much for your excellent course. I look forward to
listening to more of your talks and to absorbing your great energy!

Donna, California

Sam’s Answer…


Hooray for you, Donna!

I am sitting here just beaming at your wonderful accomplishments so far. Really good work. And it thrills me to bits to know that the GID Kit is working so well for you.

Here are a few suggestions for you for your “room” project:

1) Decide what you’d like that room to be. A craft room? A writing room? Prayer center? Workout room? Once your room has a defined purpose, it becomes easier to figure out what needs to stay and what needs to go.

2) Next, think of three words that you would like to be able to use to describe this room. Maybe it’s something like “Clear, Open and Peaceful” or “Warm, Cheerful and Clean.” Then write those three words on to a little sign and post it where you can see it. Anytime you are in debate about an item, ask yourself if it supports or contradicts those words.

3) Keep setting your 15 minute timer and working in short bursts. Go longer if you are so moved, of course, but give yourself permission to quit after you’ve done 15 minutes a day.

4) Call a friend – a real, loving, trusted friend – to come and sit with you for an hour or two as you work on the room. They don’t have to do anything; they can just sit in a chair and have a cup of tea. The idea behind this is twofold: 1) it’s great just to have some company and someone to talk things through with a little bit and 2) sometimes just knowing that someone’s coming over will prompt you to make some big strides before they arrive.

5) Don’t forget to reward yourself! Every time you make some good progress I want you to give yourself a treat – whether you go for a nice walk or take a yummy afternoon nap or buy a new book or a fancy cup of coffee – it doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive – maybe pick something your Inner Nine-Year Old would like. (I find that when my Inner Nine-Year Old is happy I get a lot more done 🙂

Please let me know how this goes for you, OK?

And again let me say: YAY!!


The Results…

Thank you so much, Sam.

How cool is it that you send a personal reply and so quickly!

Just to let you know, I have continued to move forward, even in the
face of the stuckness, and have made headway. My 15 minutes has
turned into 45 minutes for two days.

I am realizing that I can use this first project as a template for any
project I wish to undertake. 🙂

I love the 3 word idea especially, and I am going to try that.

Thank you again.

Warm regards and blessings,

2 comments… add one
  • Caroline August 29, 2011, 2:29 pm

    “I am realizing that I can use this first project as a template for any
    project I wish to undertake.”

    OMG that is a fantastic idea!

    I think it happens like that subconsciously anyway, but to use it as a conscious strategy is awesome!

    Have been giving something similar some thought a while back: how, we should kind of figure out the success strategies we already have, and apply them to areas where we feel less successful. The above adds a whole new dimension to that.

    • admin August 29, 2011, 3:29 pm

      Thank you, Caroline! And YES, totally — tying “success strategies” to “areas we want to improve” is a great way to encourage continuous improvement.

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