“Clutter is the physical manifestation of unmade decisions fueled by procrastination.”
Let’s not think about the obsession in OCD. Let’s not put ourselves under the pressure to all of a sudden turn into a clean freak wiz. The goal here is to get a grip on all of the tasks, papers, emails, projects, meetings, and everything else piling on top of us. There is no possible way you can master multiple tasks without first assessing each of them and managing our time & space accordingly. Eventually, by creating better habits, we can give ourselves the confidence we need to execute nearly anything asked of us.
An obsession doesn’t have to swallow us whole. Obsessing simply means we are continually filling our minds and directing our focus. Remind yourself constantly that organization matters. Quite simply, a cluttered workspace (physical and digital) creates a cluttered mind and it all leads to less productivity. The mental preparation and cleanliness feels like a chore! There’s too much to be done and not enough time in the day! I’m late to work! I have to stay late! I can’t stop to clean, I’ll save it for Friday! (Don’t get me started on all the promises I left for the hypothetical Fridays that fell through the cracks…) It is in this frenzy that we have to stop and acknowledge that creating organized habits is an investment to relieve ourselves of pressure, stress, and inevitably, our workload.
A functional workspace is key. Organize your area based on stations – stations based on what needs to be done. It might visually make sense to have all of your papers in the same area, but really think about the movement & flow connecting your actions with your thought processes. Let’s get real: one day you’re not going to make it to work, and it’s going to be that one day that all hell breaks loose, and you get 14 missed calls because they can’t find that one document that only you know is wedged between the yellow folder and the green notebook on the far left shelf. Your workspace has to make sense! So much of our life happens out of our control. How can you get a grip when most of the time it’s all unexpected? Getting caught in a messy area distracts us from the initial task and therefore the resolution, causing us to boil over and burn out
Organize your time to have the ability to take on the unexpected. Log what you do every day to monitor how much time your activities REALLY take before you assign a mindless amount of time to them. Once you see how much you attempt to take on versus what really works, you’ll get a better sense of what you can manage, so that any task assigned to you can be attacked & executed.
When you take charge and own what you have organized, you will find the confidence it takes to plan beyond your limits. Your coworkers will gain confidence in their ability to help you and also ask for your help. Don’t be the one that everyone doubts because of notorious disorganization. When you’ve got a grip and you’re able to work together, this confidence will rub off on your clients and will create a foundation of mutual trust.
Lastly, and arguably most importantly, we have got to conquer our distractions. The time you spend engaged in distractions will never truly be made up. Let’s be honest with ourselves! The line between personal and professional use of technology is completely blurred and the only way to gain control of the temptation crossing that line is to take charge. Sure, it’s all right to let our minds relax, but you have to admit to yourself the moment you realize you have overindulged in something entirely unproductive – for your own good!
It’s easy to see that if you want to resolve any deeper issue, it all starts with becoming organized. Creating organized habits is an investment in our own confidence and stress levels. Respect yourself and those around you enough to constantly remind yourself of the benefits of organized time, space, and knowledge!
“A good system shortens to the road to a goal.”