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18 May

Start by cleaning up

Datum: 2016-05-18 15:05

The one who strives to be effi­cient must have space to work in. If there is not enough space it will be dif­fi­cult to spread out all our mate­r­i­al to get a bet­ter overview. Some of us get anoth­er screen to see more simul­ta­ne­ous­ly. Oth­ers emp­ty their desk.

In order to get things done quick­ly and eas­i­ly we want to be able to focus on the task we are work­ing on. Noti­fi­ca­tions that pop up, open win­dows con­tain­ing irrel­e­vant infor­ma­tion, doc­u­ments and will do soon”-things which just lie about dis­tracts us and spoils our concentration.

But when will I have time?”
If we cur­rent­ly have lit­tle or no desk-space free from clut­ter, and have many dis­trac­tions at that, we need to clear the desk. It might feel over­whelm­ing and close to impos­si­ble if the room is crowd­ed by piles and things, and can be described using words such as chaos, bomb­shell and the destruc­tion of Jerusalem.

Do not despair. It is not as hard as it seems. You just need to be patient. If you want to cre­ate a bet­ter struc­ture with regards to how you store your phys­i­cal mate­ri­als such as papers, books, binders, print­ed mate­r­i­al, doc­u­men­ta­tion and all the oth­er things you have in your office or on you desk, then the first step is to clean and clear it up. Because you only want to spend you time struc­tur­ing and orga­niz­ing things which are actu­al­ly use­ful to you, right?

Don’t sweat it
The great thing about doing this is that you do not have to do it all at once. You can even skip mak­ing it into a to-do-task or project, but rather let it hap­pen on its own. It is com­plete­ly alright that you do not get rid of enough” dur­ing your first round of clean­ing up, since you will soon feel moti­vat­ed to clean out a lit­tle more once you have start­ed to throw things away. You could call it a snow­ball-effect, clean- and clear-accel­er­a­tion, or what­ev­er you want — the point is that over time, you will have less and less things clut­ter­ing your space.

Do this

  1. Reserve a half-hour or define a small part of the space you would want to clean up (for instance one shelf in the book­case, one draw­er, the small side-table). If some­thing appears over­whelm­ing at first glance, it is often much eas­i­er to get start­ed if we begin by tak­ing a small step.

  2. Now start clean­ing and clear­ing out. If you feel hes­i­tant about some­thing, save it. You can look things through again (at least) once more some anoth­er time and throw more things away then. Put what you have cleared out in three sep­a­rate piles: throw away”, give away”, and return”. Focus on clear­ing out rather than for instance going over to your col­league in the mid­dle of your clean­ing-spree to return what he left in your office. The items you get rid of could for instance be:
    • things which you no longer need and there­fore can throw away
    • things you planned on read­ing but prob­a­bly will not read
    • things oth­ers could find use­ful and which you could either give a col­league or place wher­ev­er you keep shared mate­ri­als and tools so that more peo­ple can use it
    • things which have acci­den­tal­ly end­ed up in your room but which are not yours
    • dec­o­ra­tions which you no longer find decorative
    • sou­venirs and keep­sakes that no longer trig­ger hap­py memories

  3. When you con­sid­er your­self done (that is, when the half-hour is up or when the part you want­ed to clean out is done), deter­mine what your next step should be. Either you car­ry the three piles out of your office imme­di­ate­ly or you do so when it suits you bet­ter, such as when you are on your way out and will pass the garbage-room any­way, or when you know you will meet the col­league who will find what you want to get rid of useful.

  4. Do not make a plan to clean more now, but trust that you will even­tu­al­ly feel like con­tin­u­ing clean­ing and clean­ing up more.

Less look­ing, more focus
If you clear your desk or office out just a lit­tle you will have more space for what tru­ly mat­ters in your work. You will find what you are look­ing for much faster and it will undoubt­ed­ly be much eas­i­er to con­cen­trate on the task before you. If you ask me, things sim­ply get eas­i­er, lighter and smoother.

What is your way?
What is your best tip to clean­ing and clear­ing out your work-space? If you feel like shar­ing your thought, leave a comment.