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Podcast TranscriptHello, I'm Barbara Hemphill, the Paper Tiger Lady. My passion is helping you accomplish your work and enjoy your life, and I'm so glad you've joined me again today!
A book by Martha Weinman Lear, entitled "Where Did I Leave My Glasses?" addresses the increasingly (to many of us!) distressful issue of memory loss. Fortunately, she puts it in a more positive light and refers to our forgetfulness as "nature's priority filing system!" Two of her key recommendations for improving your member are "Get Organized" and "Concentrate more."
Dr. Margaret Sewell, Director of the Memory Enhancement Program at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, suggests changing the way you organize your tasks. For example, no calls and no e-mail until the current job is done. "It's amazing," she says, "the difference people see as they cut down on unessential multi-tasking."
If you think about it, those tips are highly inter-related. Your ability to accomplish any task or goal is directly related to your ability to find what you want when you want it – and it's difficult to focus on anything when your physical environment and your mind is filled with clutter.
Here are five tips for eliminating physical clutter:
- Place an easily accessible "Give Away" box on each level of your home or office.
- Continually ask yourself, "What is the worst possible thing that would happen if I didn't have this." If you can live with your answer, put it in the "Give Away".
- Encourage those around you to do the same!
- As soon as the box is full, take it to the nearest donation center.
- Continue the process -- indefinitely -- since new "stuff" is coming in constantly. You'll be blessed and so will the recipient of what you don't need.
Here are three tips for eliminating mental clutter:
- Use 3x5 index cards for writing reminders. (They're cheaper than sticky notes and easier to process!)
- Keep index cards in handy places like your car, your briefcase, the bedside table, beside the your chair in the family room or wherever you might think of something you need or want to do.
- Every time you think of something you should or want to do, write it down – one item per card, so you can easily put the reminder where you need it – e.g., your calendar, your shopping list, give to your spouse, etc.
Finally, here are five tips for staying focused on what really matters to you:
- Before you leave work, or go to bed at night, identify the three most important things to accomplish the next day.
- Implement a system to record those three things – for example, a reminder in your calendar, a note on your mirror, or a file in the middle of your desk.
- Complete at least one item BEFORE you open your e-mail! If you can accomplish all three, even better!
- Implement a system to remind you to return to your priorities whenever you get sidetracked.
- At the end of the day, express gratitude for what you have accomplished!
Organization, like any other behavior change, is all about habits. As my mother-in-law used to say, "I'm not perfect, but I'm better than I used to be!"
As always, post your comments or questions in the comments area of this episode. If you like this podcast and think a friend or colleague can benefit from it please share it with them using the Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn buttons on the podcast page on my website."
Until next week, I'm Barbara Hemphill. Thanks for listening!