In my business I am currently focusing on simplifying, minimizing and getting rid of materials, tasks, and even entire parts of my business that no longer contribute to my progress as much as they used to but rather take more of my time and energy than I would like it to.
When we simplify, we gain access to more time, space and energy to do what really matters to us and to the business we are working in.
When life is intense, we might tend to not prioritize taking the time to clean up and clean out (which might be the best way to prioritize at that time).
But, not much time is required to get rid of elements of distraction and what might otherwise remain and annoy you.
Anything but unlucky 13
Here are 13 ideas of what you can clean out if you only have ten minutes to spare.
- Open the folder where the document you most recently worked on is. Remove all documents and files you no longer need. If you have a minute or two over when you have done this, clean out the folder where the document you worked on before the last one is saved.
- If you have many read and processed e‑mails in your inbox, create a subfolder called “Temporary” and move all these e‑mails there so that you empty the inbox. Now strive to keep the inbox empty all day. If having an empty inbox feels good to you, read an earlier blogpost about how to keep the inbox continuously empty. If you felt more comfortable seeing all the e‑mails, just transfer them back to the inbox again.
- If you have a to-do-pile on your desk, go through it and add anything you need to do to your to-do-list instead. File away and save the documents you need to keep where you have your reference material (in for example binders or in a hanging file system). If ten minutes isn’t enough to file it all away, at least make sure all tasks hidden in the pile are put on the list.
- If you have posted notes and papers as reminders around your workspace, throw any notes that are out of date so that they do not distract you.
- Go through your list of potential clients. Remove all who you have tried to attract as clients for some time but who most likely will not give you a clear answer anytime soon. You will free up time for your existing clients and potential clients who seem more interested.
- Go through the shelf where you keep wires, chargers and adaptors to phones, printers, external hard drives and other equipment you have purchased through the years. Throw away any that belong to equipment you have disposed of or no longer use. It will now be easier to find the wire you need when the battery dies.
- Deal with the “to be sorted”-pile you have put aside to “deal with later”, when you imagined that you would have more time. Sort through as much as you can in ten minutes.
- Browse through your contacts in Outlook (or a similar tool) and erase all the people you cannot remember who they are.
- Erase or file away all the documents on your computer desktop. Shortcuts are exempted, but files you need to find easily when you are looking for them are best placed amongst similar files concerning the same topic. If it turns out that you have saved something on the desktop so that you will not forget to do something with it, phrase what you need to do as a to-do-task and add it to your to-do-list instead. OK, now you can save the file where it is supposed to be.
- Skim through the pile of materials you need to read (be it digital or physical) and remove all the material you at some point intended to read but which no longer are either relevant or appealing.
- Skim through your e‑mail inbox and unsubscribe to all newsletters you never read anyways (and most likely will not want to read in the future). After doing this, you can look forward to receiving at least a few e‑mails less every week.
- Look through as much of your product range you have time for in ten minutes. Make a note of what products or services that no longer contribute as much to the attainment of your goals as you would like. For each of these products, define the first step towards dismantling as a to-do-task and add it to your to-do-list.
- Take an empty paper (or open your favorite writing app) and write down everything that is on your mind for five minutes. Spend the next five minutes sifting out to-do-tasks and projects from what you have written down, and add them to your to-do-list and your project overview, thus making it easier to go from thought to action.
It gives you more time than the ten minutes it requires
If you take ten minutes now to cleaning out and ridding yourself of any excess or irrelevant, you will have more space over for the material and tasks which are actually important. It will be easier to find what you need and you will get less distracted by trivialities during your workday.
If you are anything like me or most people I meet, you will also feel a sense of relief and freedom. This is, at least to me, worth these ten minutes of work.
How did you do it?
What did you choose to clean out and what was the effect of doing so? Feel free to email me a comment on your experiences.
(And of course, the amount of stuff you clean must be reasonable.)