Isn’t this desk lovely?
Ah - so pretty. I wish it was mine. Alas, it is not.
In my mind, my desk looks like this every day. I have beautiful fresh flowers, a meticulous planner that is up-to-date, and whatever those are in the glass jar. Chalk? Candy? Not sure, but they’re colorful and I like them.
However, this is actually what my desk looks like most days…
OK, that’s a bit extreme. (That’s closer to what my mind looks like on most days.) Hidden in that pile is a planner that is sadly out of date, a few sticky notes with a list or two, a receipt I’ve been searching for, and that library book I should have returned yesterday.
I know I should clear out the clutter, make space for the things that matter, simplify my desk.
I should do a lot of things that just don’t get done each day.
How do shoulds become actions?
For me, they have to matter more than everything else that’s going on around me.
I tried for many years when my children were small to have a perfect plan for my weeks. I had days set aside for cleaning different parts of the house. There were times of day for cleaning their toy room, making meals, cleaning after meals, playing with them, reading with them, running errands with them. But if I got behind, as one is likely to do when dealing with toddlers, everything was off schedule. So what did I do?
I created a new schedule.
And when that didn’t work, I created another. And another.
By the time my kids were in grade school, I started giving up. I let go of a few of my shoulds out of pure frustration. Others I ignored because they were ridiculous. And then I finally got rid of one that I decided I simply didn’t need to do. It wasn’t a should. It was a could.
That opened the floodgates.
I realized that my shoulds weren’t even mine. They were my neighbor’s or my friend’s or from Facebook or Pinterest.
That’s not to say that I sat around eating bon-bons and doing nothing all day. Quite the contrary - my time suddenly filled with new shoulds. But these were MINE. They meant something to me, they mattered to me, and best of all, they got done.
So when I look at a beautiful desk like the one at the top of the page, I don’t actually think that I should make mine look like that anymore. I appreciate it’s beauty and simplicity. I think that I might be able to clear a few things off my desk to make space for a small vase to hold a single flower. And if it matters to me that much, i’ll get up and do it.
But if I don’t feel like I should do it, I just keep scrolling until I find something else, until a real should pops into my head. Being realistic about what I should do has made a big difference for me.