Driving to work this morning, my wife and I were talking about this cycle that seems to occur every year after the holidays. You hit the holidays with a lot of hope — there will be less e-mails and calls from work, more time to relax with family and friends — and then you come out of the holidays (Jan. 4, 5, whatever) and you have all these ideas and vows and new concepts and ways this will be a better year, and … eventually everything kind of resets to the status quo — to the same meetings and e-mails and routines and patterns you were doing before. This isn’t true for everyone; some people make real, drastic changes year-over-year (some have to for their health or general well-being), but many people don’t. I personally like simple, small changes that one can implement — here’s one example, and here’s another one — and here’s a good one in terms of getting organized (which seems to be a goal for everyone when a year changes).
It’s called “speed elimination,” and partially detailed here. The essence of it is as follows:
- Go to your desk at home, or your desk at work, or your closet, or wherever — essentially, a space you want to organize.
- Bring a trash bag.
- Create some open space on the floor or a bed nearby.
- Set a timer for 15 minutes.
- Get right into the space you want to organize — move like your hair is on fire, essentially.
- Don’t even think for a long period of time about each decision.
- Rather, grab something and either throw it out (bag) or place it in a pile (open space).
- Don’t dump everything into the same pile — organize somewhat as you move (“writing utensils” or “shirts” vs. “pants”).
- When the buzzer sounds, stop.
You just spent 15 minutes — that’s a period of time we can all spare — basically beginning to organize a section of your life. You’ve thrown out things, you’ve re-organized some things into piles, etc.
This is a basic, easy thing you can do that is averse to complaining about how busy you are (because we all can find 15 minutes somewhere) and will provide a simpler rubric for achieving your goals. (We all need that.)