As the last of the Christmas treats are finished off, and the festive decorations are taken down and packed away for another year, we have a golden opportunity to carry on clearing away things that are no longer needed. This year, Monday 9th January is ‘Clean Off Your Desk Day’, a great time to have a good old sort out and get your workspace organised and ready for the coming year. BMut why stop there? Why not de-clutter the rest of your life while you’re at it? It may sound daunting, but clearing the decks is a great way for a Productivity Ninja to start the year. Here are some ideas on how to get started.
We’ve all been guilty of hoarding old paperwork, piling up reading material to look over later and squirreling away documents in desk drawers ‘just in case’ we might need them again. Now is the time to channel Marie Kondo and decide what you absolutely need to keep, and which items it is time to let go of. Are you really going to read that article you’ve been hanging onto since last September? Do you really need to keep that pile of invoices from 2012? Get the shredder going, fill up your recycling bin and ditch all those chewed-up old pens. Once you have a clear space in which to work, you’ll be surprised how much easier it is to focus on what is really important, without constantly getting side-tracked.
One of the things that seems to get clogged up with rubbish faster than almost anything else, is our email inbox. No sooner have we waded through the deluge that somehow appears to greet us every morning than there is another tidal wave of unread messages to deal with. It can be utterly overwhelming but rather than continually drowning in emails, try setting aside some time to get your inbox to zero (Think Productive’s Email Training can help here). Practicing good Email Etiquette is another way to help stem the flood for everyone; set a good example for others and be the change you want to see in the (online) world! If you are able to, switching to Chat apps such as Slack or HipChat can reduce the reliance on email among your team and get communication flowing more freely.
This is where a good Productivity Ninja brings their ruthlessness to the fore! Take a good, hard look at your diary and ask yourself whether you really, really need to be in all of those meetings. Are they adding value to your day? Is the purpose clear, and do you get something useful out of it? If you are the chair of any meetings, it might be a good opportunity to polish up your Meeting Skills and make sure you are running effective, productive sessions yourself.
Your To-Do List
Finally, take your ruthlessness to your to-do list. Are there any items on the list that you keep putting off, rescheduling and de-prioritising? Be brutally honest with yourself and ask whether they really need to be done, or done now. If it isn’t important enough to be done, delete it. If it’s a good idea whose time has not yet come, put it in your Ideas Park so you can go back to it another time – that way, it’s not cluttering up your view of what you actually need to focus on, but it’s not lost altogether. If it really does need doing, take a deep breath and get on with it – right now! Once you have cleared out those nagging tasks, you’ll be free to enjoy your de-cluttered life, and get on with being properly productive.
How are you de-cluttering your life? Share your successes with us in the comment section below or @thinkproductive
By Nicola Knight