I read a survey a few years ago mentioning that the average office worker, not the disorganised one, spends six weeks per year looking for things they already have, not new information. ‘Yes, yes you did send me this information, it’s in my inbox (pause) No I remember I filed it into one of my sub sub sub folders (second pause) Now I remember, I printed it at the time, let me look for it (third pause)…. Six weeks per year…
One of the first thing we do when we work with leaders and their team, we declutter their world: declutter their desk, soft files and emails, but also declutter their time and to do list and more importantly declutter their brain. A cluttered environment creates three key problems:
- You waste time - six weeks per year
- It stresses you - knowing that you have this information somewhere, but where…It defocuses you – you would be surprised the amount of people who have said to us “I did not realised I had a cluttered desk so I had a cluttered brain’
- And you manage your priorities poorly – so many people uses their desks and inbox as their task management system, and wonder why they struggle to manage their time effectively
Let’s start with the first type of clutter, information clutter, with a few simple principles:
- Think – think of a very simple and easy to use system, so simple you will be tempted to use it. How many hats are you wearing in your role and sub hats
- Eliminate – 85% of what you keep you will never come back to it again. Be ruthless
- Segment – segment all your documents per hats and sub hats
- Separate action from information – information should be filled away with the hat / sub hat logic. Actions should be in your Calendar
Much more need to be said on task and brain clutter but this is the first step of working smarter to live better.
All the best for this big purge and prune. Challenging but so worth it.
To read Cyril's ful biography click here.