Retirement Digest: Clearing the Clutter

Retirement Digest: Clearing the Clutter

In lieu of summarizing a great article this week, I wanted to share a thought instead.

As has been noted before, when we’re approached to participate in new projects, roles, or some other activity, we are not just saying yes to that new commitment. We are, in fact, saying no to a host of other potential opportunities that are coming down the pipe.

We may also, unknowingly at the time, be sacrificing the quality of our other commitments. Recently, I’ve been lucky to have been approached to participate in a few other projects and boards. While I was thankful for the opportunities, I ended up saying no to each of them.

As I was saying no, it made me realize how many other things I’ve said yes to (literally or figuratively) that have accumulated in my life that are no longer aligned with where I am hoping my life might lead. My goal in clearing my calendar and some headspace is that I can dedicate myself toward four primary areas of focus as the years progress. Those areas of focus are (1) Personal Life (i.e. Family & Faith), (2) My Client Work, (3) the Retirement Field Guide and (4) Writing a (series of) Book(s) – more on this to come.

I’ve discovered over the past year that I only have but so much energy to dedicate to so many tasks. Therefore, if I want to dedicate myself to ensuring my energies and areas of focus are in line with my values, then I had to cut some things I’ve previously said yes to which were taking up mental space.

I thought a list of ideas might spark some creativity in clearing away some of the clutter in your own life. Here’s a sampling of what I cleared out over the holiday break:

  • Unsubscribed from a litany of email newsletters.
  • Unsubscribed from a variety of podcasts and deleted a bunch I had yet to listen to.
  • Removed the web browser from my phone (you’d be amazed how little there is to do on your phone with no web browser or social media).
  • Subscribed to a password keeper (Lastpass) for all my personal stuff so I could eliminate those types of things from memory and improve my online security.
  • Deleted my account from a lot of websites.
  • Deleted TONS of articles I had saved for future reading.
  • Removed as much from my work bag as I could.
  • Canceled some subscriptions (magazines, newspapers)
  • Reduced from four email addresses down to two. (One business and one personal.)
  • Consolidated from using three notebooks I used for various things down to one single notebook.
  • Moving forward – I am going to try my best to abide by Just In Time learning – not learning anything until I absolutely have to as this has been a procrastination technique in disguise.
  • Donated a bunch of clothes I’ll never wear and discarded others.
  • Reduced my social media participation significantly.
  • Fewer lunches out of the office and fewer meetings that are not client meetings.

The list goes on, but in just the couple weeks since I purged the unnecessary, I’ve found myself significantly more focused and excited about work and life in general. The amount of “deep work” I am accomplishing is truly exhilarating. I just wanted to share that with you in case you feel overwhelmed as I did. I’d love to hear if you experiment by doing something similar.


Recommended Reading


From the Archives

Thanks for reading!


This post is not advice. Please see additional disclaimers.

Join the Retirement Field Guide Newsletter

Subscribe below to get Ashby's list of the best retirement resources from around the web.

We won't send you spam. Ever. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit
Comments are closed.