My computer consultant was at my office last week optimizing my Macbook for my next business trip. Opening up my email, he said: “OMG, your inbox is clean!” Then he looked around my office. “Are you really this organized?” I am. To be successful I have to be.
Stuff is distracting. If your office and inbox are overflowing and you don’t like it any more, keep it clean with these five Jiu Jitsu moves:
1. Start with a clean slate every day (clean inbox, clean office, clean desk). If you need help getting to ground zero, bring in an office organizer to help you catch up and put systems in place.
2. Set aside the last hour of your work day for planning. Write down three high payoff actions you’ll complete tomorrow and pull out any documents you’ll need. Then clear off your desk. Don’t just stuff it in drawers, file it away so you can put your hands on exactly what you want when you want it.
3. Set only 3 phone appointments each day. Leave the rest of your day for emails, return calls and working on your biz. If possible, do the high payoff actions first thing in the day. That way you’ll feel good about what you accomplished every day.
4. Download your email only three times each day – once in the morning, once at noon, once before planning hour. If you’re waiting for something urgent, look for that email more often but leave the rest for later. When you do focus on email, aim to reply to or delete everything. Be ruthless. Good intentions only last for so long. If you have to keep an email for later, put it in a “Pending” folder in your email program and set a time to go back and clear the pending emails each week.
This works! It keeps top-of-mind things in front of you and everything else is out of your face.
5. Have one day each week set aside for outside-the-office appointments. Tuesdays are my day for the doctor, dentist, massage, etc. Cluster appointments whenever possible.
Now you’re ready for action! Chop, chop!