In This Edition:
1. Decompression is Vital For Everyone
2. Breathing Space Ideas
3. Dealing with Other People’s Clutter
The NBA playoffs are in full swing, the kids are out of school, and it’s time to take some nice trips. Getting out of the office helps you to “decompress.”
Decompression is Vital For Everyone
When U.S. troops began returning from World War II, they were assembled in large numbers, consigned to ships, and over several months slowly sailed home. During the time on board, they got to reflect with one another, and “decompress” — a term I use freely in my book Breathing Space — to mentally and emotionally prepare themselves for reintegration into civilian society. When they returned, many were greeted by parades and celebrations. There was national recognition, there was personal as well as public reflection, there was closure.
Society at large prepared for their return. Not everyone had a smooth transition, but the probability of reintegrating into a peacetime existence was heightened because of the nature and duration of the transition time, the recognition, and the closure.
Conversely, U.S. troops departing from the Vietnam War came home one at a time, injured or in a hurry. They came via jet planes that transported them in less than 24 hours from a hellish environment back to the world they had left, plus a couple of years. There was little or no transition time, no camaraderie with people who had shared a like experience, no time to mentally and emotionally prepare for re-entry into the civilian world.
While the WWII vets came home, got married, had children, bought houses, became the men in the gray flannel suits, the Vietnam vets couldn’t have relationships often and suffered a high rate of drug abuse, suicides, and so on.
Most were not greeted as heroes or given celebrations. Society at large had no preparations for their return. Consequently, Vietnam era veterans had the most difficult time reintegrating into society of any class of American veterans. In your life it is vital to give yourself time to decompress, in small ways, everyday…
Breathing Space Ideas
Start the June off right by cleaning out your garage of years of clutter.
Finish the job by having a yard sale or donating clothes and toys to the Salvation Army, Goodwill, church, or other such organization.
Now’s the time to enjoy the weather, so steal away to the beach, lake, or neighborhood pool. Other outside activities in which to engage might include boating, waterskiing, or fishing.
Celebrate your independence from clutter at your desk, home, car, and all the spaces of your life. Then go have yourself a happy Fourth of July.
Get in shape. Depending on where you live, summer is far from over. There is no greater incentive to start a new exercise program or restart an old one than the prospect of looking good in your old bathing suit.
Next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up a bouquet of fresh flowers and display them somewhere highly visible.
Go through your sock drawer, and put all strays in a rag bag.
Instead of sending your kids outside to the sprinkler, take them strawberry, raspberry or blueberry picking one afternoon. Make a pie together with your recent harvest.
Walk around your yard barefoot like you did when you were a kid. Feel the grass between your toes. Stick your feet in dirt or in a puddle.
Visit a historical monument and let yourself get immersed in the challenges that people of that era faced.
Dealing with Other People’s Clutter
While visiting someone else’s office you notice reports and folders piled high and a desktop strewn with papers — things are in disarray. You immediately know that you have little chance of being treated efficiently by this person. You don’t have the resources to straighten him out. Sometimes, of course, you have no choice but to deal with this person. He or she may be your boss, or your spouse!
Aaron is a staff writer for a local magazine. His job involves reporting to an editor who is hopelessly deluged with clutter. Aaron knows that the editor’s job involves handling an endless stream of paperwork. This editor’s office and desk, however, has many more stacks and piles than Aaron has ever seen in one room. Aaron’s solution is ensuring that his submitted work will be easily found by buying a box of fire-engine-red report folders and always turning in his clearly labeled assignments in these folders.
When you have the option, avoid dealing with clutter bugs — a decision you’ll have to face with increasing frequency as this era of too much information overcomes more people!