How To Use Outer Order To Create Inner Calm: 3 Simple Secrets From Gretchen Rubin

You already know a dozen big things you should do to improve your life. Exercise more. Eat healthier. Spend less time using technology. But instead of tackling those big tasks head-on, what if you simply fix the small things in life?

I believe everything is connected. Solving the smallest problems, like putting the remote in its right spot, can have an enormous impact on your day, your mindset, AND your health.

According to my good friend and best-selling author Gretchen Rubin, there’s a strong connection between the clutter clogging our lives and how we feel.

Gretchen says, “In my study of happiness, I’ve realized that for most of us, outer order contributes to inner calm.”

I couldn’t agree more. Everything affects everything.

  • When I'm tearing the house apart looking for my keys, I start the day in a terrible mood.

  • When dirty clothes are pouring out of my hamper, I skip the gym because I feel guilty that I'm not doing laundry.

  • When the fridge looks like a barren wasteland, I’m far more likely to order out for pizza.

How do the small things in your life, like a messy desk, unmade bed, or dirty dishes, affect you?

Now, think about this…

How would your day, mood, and your happiness improve if you just set aside a few minutes to create more order?

3 Simple Ways To Create An Inner Calm

Don’t Let Perfect Be The Enemy Of Good

What stops me from organizing my closet? I’m so glad you asked. I'll tell you!

It's a sea of shoes lining the floor, those shirts I bought on vacation that I just can’t throw away, AND the thought that I need an entire day to make any progress.

That’s perfectionism at its best! If you don’t have the time, why bother? (Are there any fellow recovering perfectionists out there?)

But “good” is always better than “perfect.”

The truth is: you don’t need an entire day to make progress. You don’t need a whole hour or even ten minutes. All it takes is one simple action. Next time you're facing the beast, don't focus on how long the battle will last. Instead, ask yourself, "What's one action I can take to make progress?"

At MyBodyTutor our mantra for crushing perfectionism is progress, not perksin.

Make It Fun

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Come on! Make if fun? There is absolutely nothing fun about decluttering.

Gretchen says, “This approach is arbitrary, but that’s one reason that it’s effective: it helps us to see our environment in a new, playful way.”

When is the last time you turned something into a game? I bet you’ll be surprised at how long it actually was.

There’s a reason my most successful clients schedule time for fun. Fun is instant happiness! Have you ever seen a kid frown while they're jumping on a trampoline? No? Me either!

Make a game of it. See how big of a dent you can make on the stack of bills and letters piling up on your counter.

Pull out your phone, set a 10-minute timer, get the kids involved, and see what happens. In fact, I want you to give yourself a 3…2…1 countdown and get to it!

Follow The “One-Minute Rule”

One habit you must adopt is the “One-Minute Rule”. Here's how Gretchen explains it, “Do any task that can be finished in less than one minute, without delay. Hang up a coat, read a letter and toss it, put a document in a file, throw away a pen that doesn’t work, put the toothpaste back in the medicine cabinet and close the door.”

Is there a task you're dreading that would take less than a minute to finish? Just do it and be done!

Even better, is there a “one-minute” action you can take to improve your health? Maybe you can log a meal, put a gym visit on the calendar, or set your walking shoes next to the door.

The Takeaway

Everything we do affects everything else - from coming home to a perfectly made bed to the joy of finding that the remote control is exactly where it should be. ;-)

When you create order in the things around you, you may just find that you’re a little happier, the day is a little easier, you feel an inner calm!

Gretchen's Outer Order, Inner Calm is jam-packed with helpful, practical tips to bring order to your environment.

“By getting rid of the things I don’t use, don’t need, or don’t love, as well as the things that don’t work, don’t fit, or don’t suit, I free my mind—and my shelves—for what I truly value.” —Gretchen Rubin

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