Spring has sprung and hibernation is behind us. Despite the itchy eyes, sneezing and allergies, Spring is one of my favorite times of year. It is a season of renewal, growth and Spring Cleaning!
I get excited about packing away the winter clothes, airing out the house and clearing the clutter. I am pumped up to get rid of clothes we don’t need, files that are past their purge date and just about anything that’s been sitting around too long. Pretty much everything gets a once over and if it’s served it’s purpose—it’s got to go!
Spring cleaning isn’t just for the physical clutter. Nope, everything gets a once over-my calendar, my commitments, my goals list, my thoughts. Everything.
With the change in seasons, many of us tend to leap forward into summer planning mode. We can easily skip past the opportunities in Spring to remove the clutter in our lives and reconnect with the things that will move us forward.
Decluttering our mental, emotional and physical space can make a big difference.
A Clean Slate
Clearing out the clutter gives you a great chance to appreciate the things that you consciously decide to keep around. When you don’t have junk and distractions staring you in the face, it’s easier to focus on the more important things.
In the physical sense, it frees up space, gets rid of dust catchers and minimizes how much time we spend looking for misplaced items. (We can give up about 2 hours a day looking for lost things when we have a disorganized space.)
Getting rid of distracting thoughts, self-doubt and never-ending task lists can really clear the mental clutter and give us clarity to work on our goals.
It sounds like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be. A few minutes a day can work wonders. So let’s get started!
Clear the Physical Clutter
Here’s a plug for all my NAPO peeps. My entrepreneurial career started out in Professional Organizing. I quickly discovered I wasn’t cut out for pantries and closets, but I could work a filing system like you wouldn’t believe. I’ve since transitioned from hands on consulting, but there are thousands of organizing and productivity consultants waiting to give you a hand. The National Association of Productivity and Organizing Consultants (NAPO (pronounced NAYPO) is the place to go to connect with an organizer in your area. There are consultants who specialize in a variety of areas from ADHD, residential organizing, business organizing, senior moves, filing systems, closet redesign—you name it. If you’re struggling with getting organized, consider them the personal trainers for your clutter.
Sweep Your Calendar
Don’t confuse activity with accomplishment.
Let that sink in. Just because you’re running around busy, doesn’t mean that you’re actually working on your goals. When your days are full, it’s easy to confuse activity with accomplishment, it’s hard to know the difference.
Activity is when you jump from fire to fire, switching tasks constantly and getting distracted by shiny new objects like a dog chasing a squirrel. At the end of the day, your task list is untouched, you’re drained and frustrated and you go home mad that nothing on your list got done. You thought about adding something you did to your list, just so you could check it off, but you’re just too tired to do it. Sounds familiar?
Accomplishment is when you scheduled your priorities, you leveraged dedicated time to work on your key projects and you end the day with the 2-3 things on your list checked off. (It’s not a dream).
Spring clean your calendar. Organize it so that you have time blocked off at least 2-3 days a week for your important project work. Guard it like a hawk. Create a list of your priority work and schedule them in before anything else. When a last minute request or distraction comes along, check your calendar first and compare the importance of what you planned to do against the Squirrel trying to distract you.
Do a Mental Dump
There is something really satisfying about sitting down and writing down all the things that are crammed in your head. Make it a daily practice, ideally at the end of the day, to write down all the things that you’re keeping a mental journal of. It frees up the mental space so you can focus on the more important things.
After you get it all out, prioritize your list, putting the things with the more serious consequences if not completed at the top. Make sure you’ve scheduled working on those items on your calendar.
When you create your Priority List, make sure you don’t include “Someday/Maybe” items that showed up when the “Good Idea Fairy” sprinkled her dust. Those end up being distractions that waste your time and pull you in different directions.
I’m a huge fan of mind mapping my list at the end of the day, prioritizing my A list of things to do for the next day. It clears the mental clutter and lets me focus on the right things.
What are Your Productivity Spring Cleaning Tips? Drop them in the comments!
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