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Free Your Mind - The Rest Will Follow

Picture this: Halloween and New Year’s Eve, all rolled into one event.  It’s a raucous evening in Santiago de Compestela, Spain, where the citizens observe the feast day of St John the Baptist (San Juan) every June 24th.  At midnight on the eve of the feast day, neighborhoods light the huge bonfires that they’ve built to ward off the ghosts, witches, and evil spirits for the next year.  Little kids throw sticks, scraps of paper, or anything flammable into the fire.  Adults write down their problems and worries on pieces of paper and drop those into the fire, with a prayer that St John/San Juan will take away their problems and grant them their wishes.

The evening is one of huge celebrations with eating, drinking, and dancing throughout the night.  There’s much to celebrate since the good folks are theoretically free from all of their problems for the next 365 days.

Like New Year’s resolutions, there’s a little more to it than just writing down a wish.  After acknowledgment, a plan needs to be developed and implemented.  So in addition to tossing their worries into the fire, they need to follow up with a plan to free themselves from their top challenges.

What does freedom from worry have to do with organizing and productivity?  Wrap your brain around this:

“Relaxation is the prerequisite for that inner expansion that allows a person to express the source of inspiration and joy within.” – Deepak Chopra

When our brains have freedom from worry, a great weight is lifted.  We feel happy, relieved, and content.  We have clarity.

Studies have found that people with clear minds are at their most productive because their brains have been decluttered, allowing room for problem solving and creativity to occur.  That’s why some great ideas have come to fruition to folks while at a retreat or while relaxing on vacation.  The Rubik’s cube of our thoughts that seemed impossible to align after so many twists and turns can now be completed with a few artistic flourishes.

As I waited for my turn to throw my worries into the fire, I zeroed in on what I needed to do to make my worries go away.  With a loud local band blasting away in the background, I suddenly started humming En Vogue’s hit from the early 90s, “Free your mind, and the rest will follow.”  Just coming up with those steps was freeing.  Taking action will be empowering.

So free yourself from a problem that’s weighing down your brain.  Identify it, come up with a plan to either overcome it or live in peace with it, then implement that plan.  Your brain will thank you with the gift of productivity.

Helene Segura, M.A. Ed., CPO®, CPES®, is an Organizing and Productivity Expert.  As a Certified Professional Organizer® and Certified Productive Environment Specialist®, the owner of LivingOrder® San Antonio (www.LivingOrderSA.com) helps clients get control of their stressful living and working spaces by teaching them how to understand their core issues causing disorganization and thereby prevent it in the future.  Helene serves on the team of organizing experts at The Clutter Diet.  She coaches clients in person or via telephone and conducts informative organizing and productivity workshops for groups and businesses.  

Helene is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and its local chapter, NAPO San Antonio, for which she was one of the founding members as Director of Communications and Technology.  She is on the Steering Committee of and a National Trainer for NAPO's Quantum Leap program through which she volunteers at local non-profits.  Helene also serves as the Director of Communications for the international Board of Certification for Professional Organizers.   

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