Editing Yourself!

Just as one might edit a composition for school, you can edit your stuff. Once my family got so fed up with all the stuff I had that they got out extra big garbage bags and set me to work. 7 bags later we took a photo of me in the midst of all the full garbage bags. I did not keep the photo because it looked like I was being thrown out with a pile of trash.

Ever since then, my family has talked about when I need to edit. It is usually when my stuff is taking over my living space.. Editing one’s stuff is tough just as it is tough to edit a composition. It takes thought and patience. 

When editing a composition, one goes through line by line and asks questions. Questions such as:

  • Does this fit with everything else?
  • Is it repetitive?
  • Is this necessary?
  • How could I make this better and more succinct?

Less is More

Remember, less truly is more. I believe this because I interpret that as meaning you are more likely to use what you have picked to keep. With less you develop deeper relationships with what remains. You are more likely to use it mainly because now you can find it.

Last weekend, I started re-arranging my book shelves. My bedroom was getting overwhelmed with piles of books on the floor everywhere I could fit them. I wanted to move some of the books into my living room because they are related to work and that is where I keep my other books related to work.

I have six book shelves in my living room and three in my bedroom. But no more space on any of the shelves. So somethings had to go. I boxed up books that I am no longer referring to, are dated and/or no longer a primary interest. I still needed more space.

Time to to do some painful editing. What could I live without? While doing this process I reminded my self that I am not using these particular books and better to give them away to those who will benefit from them.

That is an important detail when editing – know where the stuff you are removing is going to go at the beginning so that once you have sorted what is to go, it has a place to go. This is to avoid letting the stuff sit around, of no use to anyone, then becoming the definition of clutter.

I will admit, that after this particular weekend of editing, that I have boxes of books to give away sitting in my second bedroom. My excuse is that I need help to carry the books to my car. I’m sticking with this position!

A Sense of Accomplishment

A few things occur after editing:

  1. There is a sense of accomplishment
  2. Your place usually looks better
  3. You now know where to find what you want immediately
  4. Duplicates of items have been eliminated
  5. You, if you give away the stuff, offer the opportunity for someone,most likely less fortunate to enjoy what you are not using

Generally, a good feeling is had by all. To accomplish editing, I suggest you do it in chunks. That way you make less of a mess and have clear victories.

I first worked with sorting, editing and shelving my business related books. Then I stopped for the day. The next day I tackled my productivity and focus related books and stopped for the day. By doing it this way in chunks, I felt success at the end of each session. Also, by keeping my sessions short, I didn’t tire and get burnt out of the editing and therefore not finishing. 

I still have some books to sort but that is for next weekend. Keeping editing to short chunks increases the likelihood of accomplishing what you set out to achieve.

Is there stuff of yours you want to edit? Break it into chunks and accomplish a little each day. Small successes motivate more action.

Final note: when editing your stuff, just pull out what you are going to work with in that session so that you do not leave a mess at the end of each session. Seeing the mess is discouraging and makes it hard to continue. But if you do it in chunks and see things gradually looking better it is encouraging.

What is waiting for you to edit?


Abigail Wurf, PCC, M.Ed helps professionals, entrepreneurs, and small business owners affected by ADHD and/or Executive function issues achieve success in business and in life. Located in Washington DC, Abigail works with clients in person, over the phone and over the Internet. Her new book, “Forget Perfect: How to Succeed in Your Profession and Personal Life Even if You Have ADHD,” is loaded with tips to help overwhelmed people get things done and be more strategic about how to live their lives. To receive a free consult from Abigail, make a request through the contact form and she will get back with you to schedule.