Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Less is more

The problem is a feeling of overwhelm and indecision that can grip you whether in life or in business. This is a reaction generally to the amount of choice and things that we need to worry about. However, in most cases we have brought this angst down on ourselves through the constant accumulation of things we really don’t need and no longer use.

A great discipline to get into is eliminate such things by doing a regular ‘clean out’. Many people are habitual hoarders and struggle to get rid of anything they have collected. What they don’t realise is that each and every item is weighing them down and taking up precious ‘space’ in their lives and more importantly, in their minds. This means they don’t have the ‘space’ available when an opportunity presents itself.

Let’s start by looking in your wardrobe. How many items of clothes do you have that you no longer wear? What about your drawers? How many old pair of socks are you holding onto because you believe they are somehow lucky or you fear running low? I’ll wager lots and lots. Unfortunately, the only real function they are serving is simply taking up space.

A great place to start de-cluttering your life is to focus on your wardrobe. Go through each item and honestly ask yourself if you really need it. Even if you think you do, could you buy it again if you really wanted? Finally, ask yourself when was the last time you actually wore that item. if you can’t remember, then it’s a great candidate to go. If you are disciplined about this approach and stay strong you’ll be surprised at how much you can eliminate. Give what you don’t need to charity and then take a look at how much free space you now have in your wardrobe. No more having to squeeze items onto the clothes rack. No more being unable to close drawers. Life with less is so much better but this is only the start.

Next, take a look at your workspace. What doesn’t need to be there? What papers and items are you just keeping for the sake of it? Do you really need or use all those Post-It notes? If you really want to keep the papers then scan them and ditch the paper. Most of the stuff you are hoarding at your desk can be purchased again if really needed so be ruthless, what do you REALLY need to get the job done? if you don’t need it, ditch it and don’t look back.

The removal of clutter extends everywhere, even into your digital file system. If you go through all those files you keep on your hard disk or in the cloud do you really need them? Sure, you can probably keep them because there is the space but each item you elect to keep simply adds to the clutter. What happens when you need to find that one file amongst all the clutter? What happens if you need to backup or move those files? The clutter goes along with it. If you really can’t press the delete key on your stuff then I’d suggest you create an archive areas seperate from your day to day data and move the low priority stuff there. Keep the information you work on day to day as clear as possible.

De-cluttering is an essential skill in today’s modern world. We are all adept at accumulating “stuff” we think we need, personally and in business. The more we add, the harder it becomes to manage and more it costs us mentally because we worry about it, consciously or subconsciously. Keeping it simple is unfortunately not simple at all and requires discipline. The way you achieve that discipline is by regularly de-cluttering everything about your life. If you start small, like with your wardrobe, you’ll find it easier when you move onto other areas. The more you use your de-cluttering muscle the stronger it becomes.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that de-cluttering is only a discipline you apply personally, it should be something you apply to your business as well. Regularly. All the stuff you have in your business is weighing you down and drawing your focus away from the opportunities available because you don’t have the space to deal with them. When de-cluttering your business, ask yoruself whether the item in question is helping you achieve success. If not, then it is probably weighing you down and distracting you from success. No matter how big or small the item, if it isn’t helping your towards your goals you are probably better off without it.

De-cluttering improves focus, frees the mind from the unnecessary and promotes discipline. It is therefore an essential skill of the successful but one that anyone can achieve if they simply set their mind to it. Start small and you’ll be amazed at how easy it actually becomes to de-clutter your life and open yourself up to the opportunities around us. Less is always more.