Why is this here? KISS it and Leap it.

Why is this here?

I love this question. It’s currently the front runner as my summer of 2007 mantra.

I keep looking at all my stuff (and ‘stuff’ comes in an astounding amount of different clutter-heavy forms) and asking myself Why is this here? And further, How much does it matter that this is here at all?

I am not quite sure why this happens for me, but as predictable as the calendar pages turn, the summer months get me to think about productivity, and in particular, how necessary de-cluttering my life is, if I am to be more productive than I might presently be. When it comes to productivity there is always room for improvement.

KISS – Keep It Simple and Summery

Maybe it’s just the lightness of summer. For instance, and in comparison, I think of the winter as very heavy. In summer you’re shedding whatever clothes you can while still remaining decent, while in the winter you are piling them on, layer by swaddling layer.
While we tend to love Christmas, fact of the matter is that it’s a very burdensome holiday; all that decorating, gift shopping-wrapping-sending-receiving, meal planning, worship and end-of-year soul-searching, money finagling and unScrooge-like behavior to fit into the calendar! On the other hand, the summer gives us the 4th of July, and encourages us to just have an outdoor picnic, get healthy, and blow something up (I mean fireworks”) You can also have a few garage sales and really make a clean sweep of things while collecting some piggybank money for the next rainy day.

Thanks to our Ho‘ohana for June (our live-work value of the month), I have already rewired this summer feeling I get: I’ve connected my Productivity! De-clutter! voices to KÅ«lia and Break ThrÅ«! It challenges me to go for the more dramatic, to go for bold and edgy, and for the extreme when tackling whatever project I’ve set my sights on. If not, it will be just another summer where I take just another swipe at breaking through clutter and old systems without any significant leaps forward.

Why not Leap it?

No just another. I want to leap. Not reach, not jump, not scale, but LEAP. EM Sky brought this word back into my consciousness in an email conversation we had with our JJL authors, and it’s stuck with me in my summer productivity context too. The leap I want is not a leap of faith, but a calculated leap that spans worthwhile work I have fully planned and executed well.

A leap of faith would mean that I believed well; a calculated leap would mean that I intentionally created action, and did well.

Leaping can also relate to form and function work, which always feels great to me. For instance, on the heels of asking myself Why is this here? (function) is, Where could it be that would be better? (form).

An example:
Though I am still learning to use it, I suspect that the better place (form) for a couple of my financial spreadsheets (function) now on Excel will end up to be QuickBooks.

Example #2: I used to do all my blog posting drafts in a Word doc, and now I write them directly in my TypePad drafts, finding that they get lined up, fleshed out, and programmed for posting far better than before.

Folks, I must tell you, this is the stuff of break throughs. Sometimes we look for really big things, letting BREAK THROUGH be this big white elephant in the room, when as the saying goes, even an elephant gets eaten one bite at a time (or something like that.)

However keep in mind that the Why? question is the important one. You need to first ask yourself why you need anything at all before you ask yourself where it could work better, for maybe the truth of the matter is that it doesn’t work at all anymore. Why is the de-clutter hero of the day.

Archive Dipping:


  1. says

    Big progress comes from little break-throughs. A little change here, a small improvement there, and slight, ever-so-slight change day after day and soon you look up a month or a year later and things are different.

  2. says

    Aloha Wally, welcome to the Ho’ohana Community! I think you key on the significant difference; it’s not the size of an action taken which influences the breakthrough, but the fact that it was a “change” or an “improvement” and not just a fleeting thought which was not decisively acted on.

  3. says

    Rosa, I love how you describe the difference between your winter and the Christmas celebration and your summer of shedding layers and blowing things up.
    It is so different for us here in the southern hemisphere. At the moment it is cold, bitterly cold for our sub-tropical city of Brisbane (and those down south are doing it even tougher!), and we are piling on the layers. But somehow, I am more motivated to de-clutter now than I am in the lazy, hot & humid days of our summers. I am planning a major declutter project in July as I take some time off.
    So, even though we are opposite in seasons, you have made me think deeply about what I am aiming to achieve with my decluttering. What’s the big leap I am looking for?
    And I will be asking “Why is it here?” constantly not just of stuff and things, but also of activities and mind patterns, goals and dreams – I have made it my screen saver just now (as you reminded us recently:). How timely was this post for me!!!

  4. says

    Your timing is wonderful Karen, reminding me what a lucky, lucky girl I am in this Hawai’i heat! Cold is fun to play in when there is snow, but we honestly look at the plane trip as worth the expense, knowing we prefer not to live with it. Our news recently has been about the drought here, and fear of what carelessness with the 4th of July fireworks can potentially mean with all the brittle-dry brush everywhere.
    Dwayne Melancon has a great post up at his place about decluttering material stuff now too, however like you, my present targets are those “activities and mind patterns, goals and dreams.” I have a lot to wade through, and I am doing so with the leaper’s relish!
    Thank you for keeping me energized with your visit!