I recently talked about how our minds are the most important tool for our organizing efforts in Our Minds & Our Organizing – how when we use it clearly we can figure out the solutions for our unique situation. And of course our mind handles more than the logical data in our lives – it’s processing our emotions. Our thoughts and feelings interact and intermingle influencing our actions and behaviors and when we improve our awareness then our choices will support our life and goals.
The feelings we have can inspire us to make changes – “this space feels cluttered,” “I’m so frustrated at how I’m managing my time,” and “I get so anxious when I have to deal with paperwork.” As we recognize the feelings we’re having, we can then start the process of finding a way to change things and feel better – at least ideally.
Those same feelings can prompt avoidance and discouragement – where we cannot conceive that there is hope for things to be any different – hopeless, another feeling. It can be challenging to withstand the influence of our feelings – shirking tasks we feel we’re not good at or can’t succeed with, procrastinating things since “what’s the point?” and giving ourselves all sorts of messages that support reasons that we cannot change things. Yet if you examined those things logically, without the negative beliefs, would the evidence show your “complete incompetence” or just that you are not perfect and might need support, skills building, or practice?
These feelings can also trigger action to resolve the annoyance quickly – more of a reaction to your feelings. Just like when interacting with people and someone blindsides you – it can be hard not to just react (whatever that looks like for you: snapping, yelling, apologizing, withdrawing) and realize later how things could have been handled better. Similarly with our organizing, it can be easy to react to our organizing and tasks annoyances with our emotions. Therefore, do we jump in and do anything to relieve the discomfort? Or do we take some time to consider how to move things forward and make sure we’re not making more work or more complications for ourselves down the road? If we’re busy reacting to our feelings of unhappiness, without evaluating our approach with the logic our mind can offer – it could be counter-productive.
We can draw an analogy to a typical junk drawer – it can be easy to just drop in all the random things we don’t or can’t deal with right now and it becomes the jumble where it’s hard to find anything. The thing about a junk drawer is that it’s small and so what goes in and how much it can hold limits the degree of chaos you’ll have to deal with eventually. Yet when we’re plagued with the need to fix that thing that’s bugging us, it’s often not as small and limited as a junk drawer. That’s when the temptation to throw everything into the closet or a bin/bag/box, or rent a storage locker can lure us into thinking this is the best option. And it might be the best option – the key is to consider your motivation, the logic of doing it, and then approach the stuff in a way that will minimize frustration and maximize getting your goals accomplished.
You can see that our emotions can have a tremendous effect on our efforts – whatever those efforts might be – both in a positive as well as a detrimental way. These feelings can drive us – hurrying us to get through them – after all, when emotions are uncomfortable, why would anyone want to hang out with those unpleasant feelings? It can be tricky to distinguish between our thoughts and feelings since there is such interplay between them. Yet when we examine things from a logical point of view – looking for the evidence that supports and rejects our ideas – we can make the most of our emotions for inspiring change. Ideally we’re using both our minds and feelings to develop the systems that will help us simplify and accomplish what we want.