There is rarely an executive I speak with today that isn’t talking about how busy and overloaded they are. Everyone is drowning in the daily demands of life. They’re close to going over the precipice of overload with nary a solution in sight.
Are you willing to wrestle some sacred cows to open space on your calendar?
#1. Clutter Isn’t Your Friend… Usually. You have to recognize that working in an overly cluttered environment harms your ability to pay attention and rapidly process information. Princeton University’s study found that a disorganized environment negatively impacts people’s performance. It seems clutter competes for your attention, resulting in decreased performance and increased stress! Not exactly the results you’re looking to generate.
What counts as clutter? Everything—not simply the piles on your desk. It includes the files on your computer, the emails pinging their way into your consciousness, the notifications from Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, and any other sites that interrupts your day again and again.
Clutter bombards you at every turn. All the chaos around you limits your ability to focus, think clearly and process information. These distractions attack your attention every single minute of every day—for some, even awakening them from a good night’s sleep.
The truth is that no one can be productive when working in a space that doesn’t function for them.
Start organizing your work area to meet your requirements—not anyone else’s. Begin by turning the ping notifications off. Then, begin eliminating the stacks of paperwork on your desk. What a total waste of time.
One management book did an exercise where each participant placed a tick on the corner of each paper in the stack with every touch. Take a guess how many marks there were? Hundreds! Can you imagine the time wasted shuffling through those piles every day yet never actually completing anything?
Start working on clearing out and cleaning up small chunks at a time, whether on your desk or the jammed-up information on your computer. Try this on for size as you look for ways to open intervals on your calendar.
Don’t get too carried away. I’m not recommending stark neatness because research from the University of Minnesota reveals that messy spaces provoked more creativity for Einstein, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg, to name a few.
2nd Check Your Calendar…How many days have you taken off? The choices you make in business thinking it will assist you in getting more work completed often only adds to your stress. How much time are you taking off from work?
Studies reveal that taking even a full-week vacation is declining dramatically. Do you consider, like most Americans, “straddling your weekend”—meaning taking off “Thursday, Friday, and Monday” enough days to refresh, renew, and restore yourself?
US Travel Association indicates the healthiest amount of time-off an employee should take to relieve stress is 3 to 4 continuous weeks. So, when was the last time you took off several weeks in a row?
You’re not alone. US Travel Association shows that the average vacation days used are fewer than in four decades! Americans are working more and enjoying it less.
“Straddled weekends” don’t renew your mind, nor do they relieve your stress levels. And, in most cases, they don’t aid you in achieving your goals. All these sacrifices have only increased your stress.
The bottom line is that working extended hours each week and leaving vacation days on the books hasn’t helped you get ahead yet…what makes you think it will happen in the future?
The truth is that finding time through decluttering your desk and taking time off is one of the most valuable skills you can develop, so it needs to be a priority in your life.
How serious are you going to get for yourself? Start right away. Changing your mindset is the beginning of standing out from the crowd as you destress your life. Ready to open the door for your ongoing success. It begins with your commitment to self.