Declutter your work life

Slide1From time to time in our lives, we feel like things aren’t working, that the time we’re spending doing things isn’t worth the results.

It’s time to declutter!

Clutter, both physical and mental (and virtual), has been linked to depression, according to a recent UCLA (CELF) study.


I’m slowly decluttering my house at the moment.

  • I made a list of all the places in the house that need decluttering. Each is just a one- or two-hour job.
  • Each day I do one or two of those jobs, and cross it off the list.
  • For each item, I decide whether I’ll keep it, donate it, throw it away or take it to my eldest son’s garage sale next month (where it will raise money for the orphanage in Guatemala.)

Decluttering a house is fairly straightforward if you do it bit by bit.

But how do you declutter your business?

Declutter your computer

  1. Clear your computer desktop—sort everything into folders.
  2. Tidy the files so they sit neatly in rows.
  3. Empty your inbox—sort mail into folders.
  4. Unsubscribe from newsletters or promotions that you no longer read.

Declutter your workspace

  1. Gather everything into one big pile and clean your desk.
  2. One by one, go through the pile and put the document or item where it belongs.
  3. Empty your drawers and get rid of everything that you no longer need.
  4. Do the same for your bookshelves and your cupboards.

Declutter your business

  1. Make three columns. Label them “awesome” “okay” and “awful” or something similar.
  2. Look at everything you did last year—go through your calendar and think about each job.
  3. If you enjoyed the job, or parts of the job, make notes in the first column.
  4. If there was something you didn’t like, make notes in the other columns.
  5. When you’ve finished, examine what’s in the three columns. What’s the common factor about the things in each column? Do certain parts of a job appeal to you more than others? What do you enjoy most? Is it the people you were working with? Is it the satisfaction of completion? Is it the place you were working? Is it the degree of control that you had? Whatever contributed to your enjoyment (or lack of it), make a note of it.
  6. Now comes the decluttering part:
    • If you can get rid of any of the column three jobs, do it. If it’s in your power, don’t agree to do those jobs again. If I hated writing résumés for people, for example, I would simply say no, if asked, and recommend them to someone else.
    • If the jobs that you dislike are an integral part of your business, can you give them to someone else or outsource them? Is there someone you know who loves that type of work?
    • Can you change any of the column three tasks to include more enjoyable aspects?
  7. In some jobs, you don’t have a choice. You have to do the bits you dislike to get to the bits you like. In those cases, you can at least understand that when you tackle one of the column three tasks, it’s something that must be done to get to the good bits.

Do you have any other tips for decluttering your work life?

Any questions?

Just write them in the comments below.

Until next time, write well, write with passion, and use all your writing for good.

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