I have to confess…OK, this is a bit embarrassing….My office is sometimes in shambles. When I return after a series of meetings with multiple project folders and an action item or two for each, I haven’t always been disciplined about sorting through everything before calling it a day.
It had gotten to the point where I couldn’t think straight anymore. I hated being in my office. I felt confused and tired and finally I’d had enough!
I spent a good part of the weekend clearing out old files and making room in my file cabinets to store some of the piles that had been accumulating on my desk, bookcase, floor and…You get the idea.
I filled up half of the recycle container and salvaged enough paper that had only been printed on one side to last for months of printing. If felt as though the fog had lifted.
I was actually surprised and delighted with how easy it was to make decisions about what to keep and what to discard. Over the last several months, working with my coach and mastermind group, I’ve organized my energy around three primary topics.
I speak, train &coach on:
- Leadership & management
- Sales & marketing
- Personal effectiveness
So as I went through folders, it was immediately obvious what needed to be retained and what could be tossed.
Why am I telling you this? Well, whether you’re a neat-nick whose desk is always clear or more like me, it’s important to periodically take stock and release the things in our lives that no longer serve us. The purging process clears the mind and heart I believe and opens us up to receive more goodness in our lives.
While the sky is grey in the photo, the rainbow to me symbolizes a brighter future…the doorway (or skyway) to new opportunities, better times, unlimited potential and unseen possibilities.
Here are some tips for clearing away the clutter in your life…
Buy a label maker if you don’t have one
My label maker was one of the most fun and productive tools I used in this cleaning process. Papers that didn’t have a ‘home’ found one in a folder with their ‘name’ on it. Printed labels will make the folders easier to find in the future, saving even more time.
Make a commitment and set aside a few hours
It had been so long since I last did this, it took several hours. Make sure you have enough time to devote so that you get an experience of satisfaction with the progress you make.
Keep items you’ll use the most, the closest to where you work
Prime real estate is right around your desk. Keep only those projects you’re working on RIGHT NOW on your desk. Files you access regularly can be nearby. Things you access only rarely can be in file cabinets
Put on music that moves you
I find music energizing and uplifting. Have you ever noticed how much faster your workout routine seems to go when you’re listing to your mp3 player? The same dynamic helps with the clean-up process as well.
Label the storage boxes for easy retrieval of those items
I’ve seen some people whose clean up process is to take everything not needed right away and stick it all in a box.. Then they shove the box into a closet or garage with no label for later retrieval When they need to find the item, they don’t know if it’s in the box from last week, last month or the several from last year. Big time wast. Put similar items in the box then label it. f
Remember to drink lots of water
Our bodies need water to thrive. When we’re focused on a task, however, we forget (or ignore) those faint yearnings for refreshment. I LOVE water, yet I can hear myself sometimes say “in a minute” and before I know it an hour has passed and I’m even more parched. Listen to your body and respond when it talks to you.
Take breaks more often than you think you need to
Do something completely different. Sing, play music, go for a walk. Set time frames for your efforts. “I’ll work 1 hour on purging this file drawer” “I’ll spend 30 minutes filing these receipts” Be disciplined and focused but resist the urge to keep your nose to the grindstone for too long. You’ll drain your brain and your body unnecessarily.
In the future, before filing a project away, throw out the interim emails and sticky notes
As I went through my files, I found many emails and sticky notes that were important at the time, but that were completely irrelevant once the project was complete. If you puge the files as you ‘close out’ the project, you’ll save yourself lots of time later on.
Purge yourself of relationships that are no longer serving you
People can really drain you. If there are people in your life that you dread being around, stop being around them. If you’re in groups, teams or a family where it’s difficult to avoid them, set boundaries for the behavior you’ll tolerate. You ARE in charge of your life and if you’re suffering silently, you need to stop. Either drop the relationship or take responsibility for altering its direction.
Whew! That was a lot. The bottom line is…Just do it!