oh how i need to do this! thank you for the great article. i'm such a visual person that if the file isn't on my desk (and say, um, filed away?) i lose track of it so i (as you can imagine) end up being a complete pile maker and stacker-bee. drives my husband bonkers and occassionally ;) even me!
What a mess...where do I start?
Do you feel you don't have enough space, time or brain power to move your business forward? It's time to clear the clutter to achieve higher productivity and balance in your life.
Okay, I'm not proud of my clutter, but, come on, we all have it. Right now my office is over flowing with boxes, books and lots of other stuff. Things seem to come in and never leave. Would you like to know how I tackle my clutter? Read on.
The first step to balance your life is to clear the clutter. Personally, I get overwhelmed at the beginning. So I've broken the process into three Layers. Let's focus on Layer One.
Layer One is the surface stuff. It's the stuff we've wanted to get rid of, but just haven't done it. Here are some simple steps to get started.
- Choose one area. Pick a closet, a computer folder, or a file drawer. Once you have cleared the clutter there, move on.
- Set a realistic time frame for the project. Figure out what you can do in 1-4 hours. Sessions longer than that will fry your brain. Finally, plan how many sessions it will take to clear the area, and put them on your calendar. Remember it isn't about the whole room, just the closet.
- Come prepared. When you start, make sure you have trash bags, donation boxes and recycle bins. Bring them to your area if possible.
- If you haven't used it, get rid of it. Time to dig in. For this round just focus on the easy stuff to get rid of. Don't stress. If you haven't used it, it doesn't fit, you have doubles, whatever, just put it in the most appropriate container.
- For the more advanced....Since we'll be back here again, you set a "use by" dates. I love to do this with my linen closet. If there are beauty products I can't part with in Layer One, I put a small sticker on the bottom that says "toss if not used by (date)." When I go back, if I haven't used it by the pre-set date, I get rid of it. The guilt about getting rid of it is gone.(This works well for seasonal items, the garage or the basement.)
You can also use these steps to simplify your time. Look at your calendar with a Layer One mindset. Are there items on you calendar or to do list that you keep rolling over onto another day? Are there tasks you “should” do, but never get around to them?
These are candidates for a Layer One clear. For example, in a previous job, I sent notes to graduates of a training program I managed. After the class sizes grew in size and frequency, I still sent notes. The difference was what used to take me maybe thirty minutes was now taking me over two hours!
I struggled each week to get them out. Then a mentor told me to let them go. I interacted with the new graduates differently than when I started the program. I now could email them and see them in person.
I removed this task. I found new time in my day and felt less stressed. Plus I still maintained a close relationship with the graduates.
I encourage you to take a Layer One look at your calendars this week to see where you may be able to clear some clutter.
That's it. Dust off your overalls. You're done. Call the donation company, put the recyclables on the curb, review your weekly calendar. I'll be back next week for Layer Two.
Learn more about the author, Jen Vondenbrink.
Comment on this article
Posted by Lisa Dunnavant, Portland, Oregon |
May 24, 2008
Posted by Jen Vondenbrink, Foxboro, Massachusetts |
May 24, 2008
Hey Lisa, Even if you start with Layer One, it will make a big difference. In Layer One, you still can have your files in piles if that is what works with you, but they will be a lot smaller.
Glad to help!
Jen Life Simplified www.yourlifesimplified.com
- time management
- clearing the clutter