Jan 8, 2013



You’ve gone through all 10 Goal Setting Steps and written your 2013 Goals. Now it’s time for my favorite part… making them HAPPEN! In order to make things happen, you first have to get things out of your way that currently (or could) potentially hold you back. Like the list of what you are saying NO to in 2013, these distractions are waiting to either make you unfocused today or waiting to be tossed in the proverbial (or literal) trash. Ready for this? The following series will require PHYSICAL ACTION. Not just sitting at your computer thinking about stuff. I’m going to ask you to get up from your desk and make things happen. Let’s smash these 2013 Goals together!

What distracts you most during the day from really getting things done? Make a list of your top 10 distractions right now. Go. Most people’s lists start with Facebook, Twitter, looking at other people’s blogs, email, the Internet, our to-do list, worry, etc. Why do we gravitate toward those things when we don’t want to do the hard work to make our goals happen? If you went through the 10 Goal Setting steps, I’m guessing your goals are really good too! Why do we let distractions keep us from greatness? Because we don’t want to face reality. We don’t want to do the hard work it takes to make our goals happen – even though making that goal happen would be so worth the hard work. It’s weird. We play mind games with ourselves and it all comes down to fear and laziness.

Facing facts obliterates fear. Distractions from facing reality are drugs. They are enticing and lure us in when we don’t want to face the world. You may think that sounds dramatic, but when the average human spends about 55 minutes on Facebook and Twitter a day, I’d say that’s pretty tragic. What could that time you waste on social media be used for? When people tell me they have “no time to work out” I ask them how much time they spend on Facebook/Twitter/blog stalking every day. 15 minutes a day (some of you are more in the three hour+ range) adds up! How much time do you really NEED to spend on social media? Even if you use it “for business” how much time do you really need? I have gotten myself to the point where I will look at Twitter maybe once a day for 35 seconds. It used to consume me. I had so many silly fears: What if I don’t know everything about everyone? What if I miss something? Um… reality check. WHAT AM I REALLY GOING TO MISS??? I was missing my life by living an hour of it a day on social media. You risk missing real opportunity if you don’t stop kidding yourself thinking that Twitter and Facebook are your lifeline to the world. Social media is important. It can be used wisely. You do what’s right for your needs. More often than not, though, it’s used as a distraction, not the tool it has the potential to be. So, today you have two challenges.

Gut Your Internet:

1. You may hate me for this first step, but you will love me after – guaranteed! This weekend, no social media. If you are wincing already, think hard about why you are so attached to it. Take one weekend off of social media and just see what happens. You won’t die. You might actually get out of the house and get some rest – or have a real conversation with someone instead – or stop comparing yourself to others – or use that brain space to start the project you’ve been dreaming about – or get your head out of your iPhone and where it needs to be. The options are endless. I rarely tweet on weekends now. It’s been a huge positive change in my life. My marriage has improved so much since I weaned myself off my phone on weekends and after 6pm on weekdays. I’m present. AND I’m more rested, focused and productive. Quadruple win! I’m going to hold you accountable. Put “Social Media Vacation” on your calendar for this weekend right now. If you are brave, put it on your calendar for every weekend. Done? Awesome. Proceed…

2. Gut your Facebook and Twitter feeds so that when you do view them, they are full of inspiring, encouraging content that fuels you to be your best. Everything we read seeps into our subconscious. Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny. – Unknown It’s your choice as to what you are feeding your mind. Make great choices. I follow a ton of inspiration feeds on Twitter. For me it’s motivational quotes, Bible verse feeds, authors I admire, mentors, etc. Your choice: positive influence or negative influence. Get organized, too. I have several twitter accounts and a couple weeks ago I realized I was following some people on all of my accounts. That clutter was making me not want to read twitter at all. So, I unfollowed some people on certain accounts so that I could actually focus on following them on others. I also unfollowed and deleted feeds that weren’t fueling me to be my best. I realize unfollowing people is a sensitive thing. I get it. But let me just say this: It’s just Twitter!

3. Gut your blog list. Let’s be real. Sometimes you read other blogs to keep tabs on your “competition”. You compare yourself to others. That ends now. Seeking inspiration through others’ work is fine as long as you are seeking it from professionals who are at the highest level. If you are “looking for inspiration” from people who are close to your ability, then you aren’t reaching high enough – you’re just keeping tabs and sabotaging your own value. Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars. Take that to heart. Stop comparing; start studying real success. The higher you set the inspirational bar, the higher you will raise it in your own work. Clean up your blog list and do not accept anything less than what fires you up and pushes you to your fullest potential!

4. If you have Twitter or Facebook bookmarked in your toolbar, delete it. Don’t make it easy. I know you. Don’t give yourself an excuse to be conveniently distracted. Set yourself up for success and move that Twitter icon to the last page of your iPhone apps while you’re at it.

5. Clear the clutter on your computer desktop. If this is overwhelming, start small. Just three tiny action steps forward today: close all browser windows and all programs, make folders, drag clutter into appropriate folders OR trash it. Just like email: make decisions. Clean it up.

6. Unsubscribe, unsubscribe, unsubscribe. You don’t need every newsletter known to man. It’s inbox clutter! How much of the email you complain about is actual email? Gut it. Turn off email notifications and all SMS notifications from Facebook and Twitter, too. Do you really need an email about every “like” and a text message tweet distracting you from your real work? No. I only get emails for direct messages, so I can reply via email if needed. I do not miss that email/social media mess.

7. Install RescueTime to measure your productivity on your computer and/or LeechBlock for Firefox to literally put the brakes on your social media usage. You can set LeechBlock to only allow a certain amount of time on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Once you exceed that allotted time, the site shuts off. It’s brilliant! Put the parental controls on and start training yourself to make things happen. Is it worth curbing your social media usage so you have more time with your kids, to work out, to dream and to finally act on what you really want? Yes. 100% YES.

REAL LIFE > FACEBOOK. Here’s a new iPhone wallpaper for you….


OK, here we go. Write down every space you are in control of and write three tiny action steps under each area that you will do today to begin to clear the physical clutter. Action Steps should be small enough to only take under 2 minutes each.

Example: Ten Areas x 3 Two-Minute Steps = One Hour to start to clean ALL of the physical clutter out of your life. Remember: do not attempt all of this in a day. Just giving you an example of what’s possible if you’re ready for some hard work. If you can only handle three spaces today, just do three. That’s only 18 minutes MAX of time it will take. If you do more, awesome. Don’t Windex
anyone along the way, overachievers! The goal here is to START. Possibilities: Your office. Your desk. Your purse. Oh yeah. You
don’t need scissors, 8 lipsticks, 12 pens and the kitchen sink in there. Your car. Oh boy! I hear this one all the time… especially from planners. How many times have you been embarrassed by the state of your vehicle? How many times have you tried to hide it from clients? Hello! Clean it up! Set yourself up for success. Put storage bins in your trunk if you have to. Your house. This is a big
one, so remember to break it up into separate rooms. Divide and conquer. Everything doesn’t have to be spic and span in a day. But, I bet you could fill that there trashbag up in a matter of 5 minutes if you start walking around. Make it fun. Pump up your favorite song. Most songs are between 3-6 minutes… Just enough time for three action steps. You have till the end of that song to collect the physical clutter in one space and get rid of it! (Be green. Recycle, if possible.)

So, first write out every space you are in control of. Next, write out action steps that you can do today with just you and a trash bag. If one of your steps requires you going to buy storage containers or something else, try to clean another space that you can do now – today – without any extra stuff. Pump up the music and get movin’! Every piece of clutter you let go of will allow you to let something else – something great – into your life. If it doesn’t help you make things happen, it’s trash – on the Internet and in your environment. I used to get stuck holding onto “sentimental things” because I felt emotionally attached to them. Then, I realized that a clean slate helps me get emotionally connected to what really matters. Clearing the clutter allows me to focus on doing my best work. So, TRASH IT. The Skittles in your desk, the Christmas cards from 2008, old magazines, old business cards, negative twitter feeds, old files on your desktop, old bookmarks and the idea that you cannot do this today. You can. We’re all doing it with you – me included. Baby steps. Action steps. Done, done and done! For everything you get rid of, you open your life to let greatness in. Simplify and gut everything. Take no prisoners! Today’s motto: clutter out; greatness in. Get on it. Even if you do the Internet housekeeping now and cleaning when you get home (for those of you with day jobs), just do it. Do what you can… and at the same time challenge yourself! Hard work pays off. If you want change, choose it. Act. I’m excited for you! Who’s up for trashing some clutter today?!

WIN!!! It’s not too late to start the Goal Setting steps and be entered to win a seat to our Making Brands Happen Webinar Series that starts next week. For this part of the series on Making Things Happen, comment with your progress and spread the word about this series via Twitter, FB, Instagram or Pinterest and you’ll be entered to win your choice of a one-on-one branding session with me or two gold foil prints of your choice (one for you and one for a friend) when my new shop launches soon! (A little sneak peek above!) So, leave a comment here with your progress as we work through the next steps! YEAH!


  1. Taylor Downs (@tay_downs) on January 8, 2013 at 9:58 am
  2. Monica T Smith on January 8, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Lara; So far I have given my apartment a good cleaning, written out my goals, written plans for achievement, applied for a new job that would allow me to fulfill one of my goals, contacted potential mentors, inquired about a Masters of Divinity program that I am very much interested in , and started exercising again. I have great plans for the remainder of the week and year and am looking forward to seeing how God moves in 2013.
    Thanks for all of this!


  3. Chandra Verbic on January 8, 2013 at 10:14 am

    I started the goal series a little late but I’m on top of it now! This morning was all about technology… I’ve cleaned up the apps on my phone and iPad, cleared my desktop clutter, deleted distractions from my toolbar and created new folders to keep everything organized – yeah! Next up is clearing the clutter from my purse and my car. And instagramming all the way! Thanks again Lara!

  4. Tracy Brown on January 8, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Just UNSUBSCRIBED to a bunch of email lists!!! Ahhh!! Fresh air flowing! Almost finished with Goal Setting! THANKS LARA!

  5. Elizabeth on January 8, 2013 at 11:07 am

    Lara, I wish I could reach through the screen and give you a hug. I’m loving this series so much and it has given me so much clarity. I’ve commented with some of my answers in previous posts, but need to update with my goals. Oh, I’m so pumped for 2013. There’s going to be a lot of changes happening to our family, but I’m so excited to embrace everything coming our way. My husband doesn’t know what has got into me with my new motivation……the other night I prepared dinner the night before, so that wehn I got home, we just had ot pop it in the oven, lunches are made, laundry is done and put away. It’s such an awesome feeling to have those dreaded tasks completed. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!! I plan on blogging about the series this week and my word for 2013. I chose the word ‘intention’. Congrats on your shop!

  6. Stephanie Uchima on January 8, 2013 at 11:15 am

    I know it’s the 8th, but I finally feel like yesterday was the first day I could start focusing on my 2013 steps and actions. Today I focused on clearing the clutter in my kitchen pantry (because I realized a big part of my happiness is focusing on putting good whole foods into my body), cleaning my computer work folders (I tend to save stuff everywhere and I felt so disorganized), I put out an outfit last night for today, and now I’m cleaning my office desk since I ignored it during the holidays. My car is the next step because yes, I am an event planner and have so much stuff rolling around in the trunk. I think it’s also a good day for a car wash 🙂 It’s 72 degrees in LA!

  7. Stephanie Uchima (@preppy_chic) on January 8, 2013 at 11:16 am

    RT @laracasey: Making Things Happen in 2013: Clear the clutter! Starting the second half of this series off with a bang! https://t.co/C7C69XGV

  8. jacin on January 8, 2013 at 11:40 am

    This is awesome. I deleted FB and twitter from my phone last year which helped tremendously. I also limited my FB time drastically; so much so that I almost want to delete it all together if it wasn’t for the ability to share photos/updates with our friends and family who live across the country (Pat and I are the only ones who live in CA, everyone else is back east). One of my goals for 2013 that I started late in the year last year was to stop looking at the other blogs from my fellow industry pros (unless we were friendors and in that case a comment of support here and there) and put the blinders back on. I don’t know who half my competitors are but it’s served me well to keep it that way so I’m not continually comparing myself. It also helps in the instance of the all-too-familiar “hey that was my idea!”-itis. AKA you think you have a new idea and see its already been done in about 5 different countries and 20 different ways. Or you see someone else doing something that you had done, almost identically and it starts to get you down. But really? Who cares!! By clearing that mental clutter it has allowed me to continue to pave my own path forward vs getting sidetracked in someone else’s detour. Great post as always, Lara!

  9. Jaqueline Faria on January 8, 2013 at 11:41 am

    Lara, so far I have really kicked my social media in the butt. Gutting out my facebook and twitter so I’m only reciveing news feeds and notifications from Friends and family I want to keep updates on. Most of these people are people I talk to everyday or at least once a month anyways. And no longer will these be hitting my phone every few minutes.

    For my emails, I’ve set up a filer that puts any email with the word unsubscribe in the trash. I don’t have any email notifications except for my bible reading plan… yeah!!!!

    I’m at work so clearing the physical clutter will have to wait, but my husband decided to stay home so I asked if he could start clearing some of his clutter as well… (this is also part of my 2013 saying yes to allowing my husband to help out- I don’t have to do everything myself) I know this will make both our lives easier.

    I added social media vacation to my calander along with a few things I could do instead or have been putting off to help keep me focused. I also took another step and added weekly reminders to take a few minutes and re-clear cutter. I’m pretty organized, but I do have a tendancy to let things pile up when I’m stressed. (old magazines, reciepts, clother and shoes not in place) Since were creatures of habit, I know if I start making a habit for every night every weeek, to just take 10 minutes to clear a clutter I alowed pile up during the course of the day/week in one space one room, it’ll help me so much on clearning days, and make me so much happier, like I have my home in order.

  10. Mackenzie on January 8, 2013 at 11:58 am

    I love this! I started to clear out my Internet clutter at the end of 2012 and had my first Social Media Free weekend the last weekend of 2012. Holy moley! You are NOT kidding! I LOVE those weekends (all two of them!) and cannot believe it took me so long to DO IT! I just sent myself an email titled “Clearing the Clutter” and have Action Steps that I can DO when I get home! I am so excited! I haven’t looked at Facebook or Twitter since the 21st of December and I do not miss it one bit. I don’t need it! I cannot wait to get all these things DONE! I still need to go back and write my goals for 2013 but my vison for 2013 has me so inspired. I’m making my YES to… document this week too so I can see it! I’m praying for you and your family so you’ll be able to stay in NC! Have a wonderful Tuesday!

  11. Tabitha on January 8, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Would LOVE to win a branding session with you!!! As far as my 2013 Goals I am making things happen by giving myself a weekly to do list that have two action steps for every one goal. These are serious, action taking steps that are specific and gear me towards that bigger goal. For example, one of my goals is to run a 5K for this week my to-do list says to register for my first race, and schedule my first training session (me running on my tredmil). If I make these smaller goals during the week it’s nice to check something off the list to gain that bigger reward. Plus these are real things that I will really do….not just talk!! I’m so excited Lara thank you for sharing all of this with us!!!

  12. @katieokeefeblog on January 8, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Home sick in bed today, but thankful for @laracasey’s post on Clearing the Clutter. Gutting my social media right now. https://t.co/Wt4IkXFE

  13. @ColinDMichael on January 8, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    RT @joshua_becker: Making Things Happen in 2013: Clear the Clutter –> https://t.co/apbp2BqY (by @laracasey)

  14. Jasmine on January 8, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    I’m super proud to say I can SKIP this step! I’m an OCD cleaner + organizer and I actually need help the other way round. Sometimes I hold myself back from greatness because I feel like I have to clean up first 🙂 And as my husband says, there is rarely ever anything to clean anyway… :))

    Staying organized and constantly on top of clutter accumulation has TRULY been the key for me. I love crafting but I’m one of those people that cleans up after every project and needs the craft table shiny and white before I start the next. The thought of the traditional messy craft room sends shivers down my spine 😉

  15. meg on January 8, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    A few days ago I when I was on working on Goal Setting thanks to all this awesomeness- I decided to take action and DELETED my FACEBOOK account. I made a pseudo name, and that is used only for my FB photography page. So, technically, I’m still “on” Facebook…but not to the embarrassing amount that I was before. I’ve been so inspired by all this- tackling kitchen drawers and cabinets…..Hello, does one mama NEED 9 spatulas? I’m not Julia Child….anywho…thank you, thank you, thank you for inspiring all of us to be better. xx

  16. Lauren on January 8, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    I gutted my Facebook account (it took me a bit of time to figure it out – they don’t make it easy!) but now when I go on it is so much better!

    Your new shop looks amazing! Can’t wait for it to go live! xoxo

    Thank you so much for this series!

  17. Briana Gardell on January 8, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    Ever since the first Challenge, it’s been an ongoing project for me to limit my FB and Twitter feed to only those whom I love and those who will build me up and inspire me. I finally cut the cord with Twitter and deleted my account. But this weekend I am committing to being social media free.

  18. Kathryn Brown on January 8, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    Starting on the steps this week, so refreshing! I feel like so many huge burdens are already lifted off my shoulders just by getting so much out of my head and actually onto paper- here’s to the first steps of progress 🙂

  19. Wendi Solari on January 9, 2013 at 1:12 am

    I’ve been taking this part in baby steps because it easily overwhelms me. My decluttering today consisted of my sewing table, my email subscriptions lists, and Facebook feed (on-going). I am still seeking out things to put on my Pinterest vision board because that seems to be something that really helps out since I am a highly visual person.

  20. @lucyOphoto on January 9, 2013 at 7:09 am

    RT @laracasey: Clear the clutter for 2013 and get focused on what matters. Real life > Facebook. https://t.co/nfzq2W9O

  21. @ashleyterrytx on January 9, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Time to get real: write down your top 10 daily distractions. #cleartheclutter

  22. Kristine Neeley on January 9, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    I never think I’m much of a pack-rat until this step comes. It feels good to have not as many online distractions this time around but my physical spaces need HELP. About to get my hands dirty and get this place clutter-free.

  23. Christina Moodie on January 10, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    I love the 10 ways to gut your internet! I did this right when I got home from MTH last fall and it has seriously changed my life!! I gutted, unsubscribed, unbookmarkeed, WAY cut back my time on social media, just stopped following blogs all together for now. It was like a weight was lifted. Never going back! What I really need to do though is gut and organize my desktop and files. Clean out the old and make room for the new! That is what I will be working on!

  24. Annie on January 10, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    Love the prompt to write down your top 10 distractions. Thinking about this I’ve discovered a big one for me is “Delayed Responding Worry” – that worry and brain space waste of “I’ve read xxxx’s message, but now I can’t forget to respond to them / what I thought I’d say”. Note to self: manage emails when you read them (and obviously have times when you don’t read emails). I’m currently in the midst of unsubscribing… to do more this weekend. No matter how organised I think I am, there is always room for improvement. Thank you for specifying and calling to action the clearing of both the physical AND virtual/cyber junk. It is easy to forget about the latter because it doesn’t invade our actual physical space. Very liberating.

    • Lara on January 11, 2013 at 8:24 am

      So great! Good for you! Go Annie, GO!

      • ANNIE on January 23, 2013 at 2:27 am

        Thank you Lara. I have been going!!! Just wanted to pop by again to say I’ve now cleared about 90% of all my clutter, and yes, it really does make a difference. Every email I now get is an “actual” email. For me, to deal with, or respond to. Quite literally, there is so much less “junk” filling up my inbox. This series has re-set my path (I was getting a tad off track). Still (but happily still) working my way through it x

  25. Karen Stott on January 10, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    Wow… Isaac is going to love you even more for me reading this. He is a lover of all things neat and tidy, and I will admit it, I’m more of a pack rat. I come from a long line of them. I LOVE the social media free weekend and past 6 and will definitely start that this weekend. We’ve been on the de-clutter path for a few months now and it has ben soooo refreshing. I can’t even say how good it feels to be rid of some of the things we had. Some of it we didn’t even know we had! But there is still so much to do!
    I’m not at home so it’s cleaning my toolbar and desktop for now.. when I get home I must tackle the closets! YIKES!

  26. Rose on January 10, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    I came across your blog series part way through but have now caught up and have been so excited to see what new ‘challenge’ you’ve posted as I wake up each morning! I managed to have a headstart on this one though, your steps all seem to be such a natural progression from the last that I’d already cleared up my blog list, unsubscribed from negative people’s newsfeeds on facebook, unfollowed a few people on twitter and instagram and INCLUDED more positive influences not caring what other people think which is crazyness for me! One of the funniest comments that have been made was actually from my husband who said he initially thought my new focus on being more spiritual was ‘lame’ but then something clicked in him and he got so excited that we’re going to create a spiritually strong home. Thank you so much Lara, you’ve helped give us so much clarity and focus on what’s truly important!!

    • Lara on January 11, 2013 at 8:24 am

      Good for you!! That is awesome!

  27. Monika on January 11, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    I’m declaring my social media-free weekend right now, and I am going to use that time to work through my physical clutter! Thanks, Lara, for being an inspiration and encouragement, and for reminding me that DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT!

  28. Kristin on January 12, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Did a major clean up of my FB News Feed, and wow! Thank you so much for this! I feel so relived, taking out negativity and things that don’t matter has taken such a weight off of me. Thank You!

  29. Jessica Chavez on January 13, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    I am LOVING this series!! I got a little behind in the steps but I’m catching up with cleaning the clutter; started with my office to be a little more inspired when going back tomorrow 🙂

    I need to re-unsuscribe because it seems like I like to be in a lot of newsletters :/

  30. Shay Cochrane on January 16, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    My husband and I decided to take the month of January off from Instagram, which, as a photographer – is SO hard bc I love taking and posting images BUT we were spending to much time looking into other people’s lives and missing out on being present minded in our own. It has been a really good personal reminder that moments count – even when you don’t instgram them. haha. I highly recommend it!

  31. Jasmine Cianflone on January 17, 2013 at 11:33 am

    I’ve started this process, with a little help from pregnant “nesting” hormones- oh it feels SO GOOD to get rid of junk- my personal email inbox was sooo cluttered, and I finally set up filters and unsubscribed from a bunch of stuff that I never read anymore. I am looking forward to being more effective and really getting stuff done because I won’t be afraid to go into my inbox anymore!

  32. Carrie Joy on April 10, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    Lara – I have been working on my homework for this one! I’m so happy to say that I’ve cleared my bookmark bar, reformatted my entire computer (yay!) and my Desktop is clear for the first time in forever. Maybe since I bought my computer! Such a freeing feeling! I also went thru my closet & got rid of clothes I wasn’t wearing. So nice! Now when I look in my closet my favorite things to wear are not hidden in all the things I no longer wear. Weeding it out! And I cleaned my car inside & out. Setting myself up for success! All this was not done in a day by any means but I wanted to share my progress!

  33. Ashley Flores on April 28, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Each time I try to download RescueTime, I keep getting a message from my computer saying that it may be harmful to my computer. Has anyone else gotten this message?

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