How to Master Your Muck by Kathi Burns hits everything on the checklist for a well-designed book. A “how-to” title? Check. A celebrity endorsement (in this case, What Not to Wear’s Clinton Kelly)? Check. Interior text in an easy-to-read font with major points highlighted in wide margins? Check. The form equals the function. The book is so well organized that just flipping through its pages motivates you to want to get your life in order.
Burns’ philosophy centers around the belief that change is unavoidable. You have the decision to either man up and face it or get stuck in the muck. Burns is a firm believer that small changes lead to larger lifestyle transitions. All that is needed is space. Physical space free of clutter. Personal space free of guilt. Working space free of interruption. Once things are simplified and broken down into their component parts, contentment is found knowing where things are, who you are as a person, and where you’d like to go in your career.
The book covers a range of topics from managing your email inbox to finding the perfect wardrobe. It caters to those with an entrepreneurial spirit who operate a home-based business; however, it can apply to anyone looking to regain control. Muck is defined as anything that stands in the way of realizing your full potential. An overbooked schedule. A disorganized desk. Ill-fitting clothes. Muck is everywhere.
Regaining control of your life doesn’t have to be hard. Burns provides the road map. Want to simplify an untidy desk? Get a vertical file folder to organize your to-do list. Want your home office to run like a well-oiled machine? Purchase supplies before you need them. Feeling pulled in all different directions? Create a schedule that allows one day a week for outside appointments. Constantly interrupted by email? Check it only two to three times a day.
Burns admits creating new routines is not easy and will take at least four weeks to become indoctrinated into your life. It’s not about being getting caught up in frantic activity and collecting possessions. It’s about clearly stating your goals and going after them. You need to eliminate what you don’t need, salvage what can be saved, and pursue what you’re missing.
Burns states, “Muck is much bigger than the stuff attached to it. There is a domino effect, and eventually you will arrive at the core area where you are really stifled, be it creativity, lack of productivity, depression, or boredom. You will inevitably feel lighter and more creative and energized.”
This is a handbook you’ll refer to again and again. Whenever you feel frustrated and inadequate, it’s just the muck talking. The key is not to give it a voice.