Which comes first, Clearing or Structure?

If you’ve moved several times as I have, you may have experienced this frustration: I remember the exact spot I put the item I’m looking for… three houses ago.

In my mind, I can see it on the shelf of the closet that now belongs to someone else. Where it is now? Not a clue. By sorting through and re-organizing, these mysterious items reappear and I can find them when I need them.

So, I have been clearing my space at an even deeper level.

You may have seen my recent Instagram post (@theunmarkedpath) showing the leftovers from the closet in my office.  It’s headed to the basement.  Now, I don’t waste time looking for that box of file folders – I can find it in the office closet.

In the basement, I’m creating a place for my fiber that allows me to access what I need when I need it. The stack of leftover projects from the office closet? It goes here. The boxes of memories? They go there. No more spinning around in circles looking for something I need right now.

Clearing creates a way to find things later. Not only has it opened space in my office, it has opened space in my life. No more confusion or wasted time searching.

But an open space begs to be filled, right?

I filled it by using the structure of a 28-Day Framework for Change found on my website. By following the format of the form, I focus my daily activities on things that are important. It channels my attention onto what needs doing right now, and that helps my business grow.

Clearing helps you decide what is important, what to keep and what to toss. It provides room for structure, and structure provides room for growth.

But it doesn’t always work that way.

Recently, I worked with a client with a closed-head brain injury. You may know that this particular type of injury is especially insidious because you look perfectly normal from the outside, but inside, the brain is a bit jumbled. The synapses snap a little differently and it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Sometimes you feel like you just don’t know what you’re doing.

This is incredibly frustrating, especially for a highly intelligent person. The thoughts are there, but they show up differently. It’s important to have routine so that simple decisions are already made. Then, the bandwidth is there to access information needed in the moment.  What’s useful here is to create structure.

A structure helps you organize your thoughts and subsequent actions.  

This client showed me a daily record (a.k.a. structure) she had devised for herself that had every daily activity listed. There was a space to record waking time, contents and timing of each meal, daily exercise – all her physical requirements were remembered for her.

But the most brilliant part of her form was how she incorporated the rest of her life. She had a place to identify stresses and successes and how she handled them. There was even a reflection space to process lessons learned.

Creating structure in her life allowed her to clear the details so she could function more normally.

So which comes first? Do you clear to make room for structure, or create structure so you can clear? Or do you do something else? Please comment below and tell us how this conundrum shows up for you!


2 Replies to "Which comes first, Clearing or Structure?"

  • Ginger
    October 11, 2016 (8:07 pm)
    Reply

    I appreciate your example of the structure she built to provide the function she had lost., it was an interesting practice to try to think how I could apply it to my life, especially the last identification of stresses and reflection of learnings. I would have loved to have an example of her list ~

    Thank you for doing what you do. I always look for the grain of stimulation I can use for myself!

    • Debra
      October 11, 2016 (8:13 pm)
      Reply

      Thanks so much for your comment, Ginger! I’d love to hear how you’re using this grain of stimulation in your life right now.


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