A common thread I keep seeing while traversing the Internet is the struggle many of you face every day to get things done. I think the biggest problem we face in the modern world is the constant barrages of information. We are getting bombarded with junk email, RSS feeds, blogs, news sites, chat messages, comments, new announcements and new cool tools.
All of this makes our life increasingly complicated and whoever said that the Internet and digital will make life easier clearly lied. In fact they made life a lot harder and certainly more cluttered.
In pre-digital times we only had to deal with physical clutter which was bad enough. Today, we also have to consistently fight clutter of the digital kind.
This is enough intrusion for the most patient and organized human beings and unless we adapt some workable methods to strip ourselves of all the unneeded and unwanted clutter, we will keep turning in circles, while chasing our tails.
1.) Assess your bulk
The first step in taking control of your time and clutter is to assess the situation. This is the time where you have to be totally honest with yourself.
Clutter bulk can sneak into our lives almost without our own intervention. I said almost, since in the end we still have ultimate control. Look at the areas where you struggle most.
Once you have identified where you waste most of your time, follow the suggestions in the next steps to help take back control.
2.) Shed your excess baggage
Problem: Do you find it hard to wade through hundreds of emails to find the one from your business partner last week?
Problem: Is your computer slow and takes ages to load and digest information?
Solution: Clear your hard drive. Get rid of those ebooks and other data from last year. Unless you really need to use the stuff on your computer regularly, delete it or back it up to an external hard drive.
Alternatively you can also upload documents, PDF files, spreadsheets and slide shows to Google Docs or Zoho. These are great applications to store your old work and I believe they are reasonably safe. The only thing I wouldn’t store is passwords or personal info, but I don’t see why you couldn’t upload your ebooks, reports, articles, notes, etc. to clear space on your computer and make it more user friendly.
Problem: Do you find yourself wasting hours every day with social networks?
Solution: While social networking is an integral part of how we communicate with each other these days, it doesn’t mean it has to rule your working day. If you find yourself fighting against the pull of yet another new cool looking social network, resist and stick to a maximum of two. Work them without wasting time.
Problem: Are you a chat-a-holic?
Solution: It’s cool to chat with our online friends. Plus it is so easy these days to connect with tools like Skype and Google Talk. But, be wary of the steal-a chat-monster. It can sneak into your day without you even noticing it and before you know it, you just “wasted” an hour talking to your buddy while the deadline looms over your head.
Set your profile to “not available” or “away” to deter those monsters if you are working.
You can do this. All you need is conviction. A want, fueled by your shame, anger, frustration.
Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.
3.) Dare to bare it all – strip naked
Stripping naked involves ruthless shedding of all your baggage, take off your clutter layers and experience the feeling of true bliss – nakedness.
You will feel elated, clean, clutter free and a new sense of calmness will take hold of you once all those poisoned layers have been stripped.
4.) Hey sexy – how cool do you really look
Now check yourself out in the mirror. How cool do you look all of a sudden? I bet you fell gorgeous, sexy and wanton.
And you know what, all of a sudden getting things done becomes second nature to you. You are now a new born effective tasks management ninja.
5.) Happy ending – a new confidence
Not only will de-cluttering your life make you feel great, but by cleaning out all the unnecessary stuff from your immediate environment, you will experience a new found confidence.
At this stage you deserve a big pat on your shoulder and a cold beer, glass of wine or whatever drink takes your fancy. It’s time to celebrate the new you.
Go on – I know you want to.