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How about a little "cleaning out" of the schedule?

My wife helped me clean out and organize my office this past weekend.

We went way past that "illusion of clean" that I some times shoot for, and got down to some deep-cleaning and organizing

So, that meant we spent some time cleaning out "that closet." 

You know the one...

    • That get-done-with-a-meeting-and-bring-home-a-three-ring-binder-full-of-information-that-you-paid-for-but-won't-probably-use-throw-it-in-the-closet-closet
    • That all-sorts-of-different-specialty-paper-from-different-projects-long-forgotten-keep-them-in-the-closet-closet
    • The-fun-trinket-like-items-that-you-get-that-are-fun-but-quickly-loose-their-usefulness-throw-them-in-the-closet-closet

Yeah... you know the one.

Well, my wife went through "that closet" more as an "accountability partner" than an organizer.  She kindly but directly asked questions like:

    • What do you use this for?
    • Do you still need this?  How would you use it?
    • How often do you need this?
    • Could we put this in a better place?
    • Could someone else use this more than you?Calendar_1

At first, it was a bit tough, but once I settled in, it was a huge relief.  Plus, I started the week with an organized and well thought out office... including "that closet!"  That made me feel more on top of things... and helped me to focus.

So, then I started to think about what else needed "cleaning out." 

I started to wonder what else I could "clean out."  Then I started to look towards my schedule.

It's amazing how our schedules can get filled up like "that closet."  Isn't it? 

The calender starts to get things put in it.  Some things are really needed.  But, let's face it, some things are there because they got put there once.  Then they got left there.

For example, I recently talked to a leader in an organization.  She explained that during a time when she was short staffed, she started to do a number of extra things.  Later, she added staff but didn't wind up giving up some of the added workload because she had become accustomed to doing the work.  It had gotten shoved into "that closet" within her schedule and she had forgotten to get rid of them. 

She needed some of my wife's questions to "clean out" her schedule...

    • Do you still need to do this?
    • Could someone else do it better?  Could someone else be more efficient at it?
    • How often do you really need to this?
    • Could someone else do this?  Would that free you up to do more of what you need to do?

Another example, was a friend of mine who was a sport fanatic.  He spent a lot of his time digging into the sports page.  A night didn't go by without Sports Center.  He knew the stats behind the stats.  But, he recently told me that he'd done some mental house cleaning too.

Don't get me wrong, he's still a sports fan.  But he started to ask himself questions like:

    • How much do I really need to know?
    • How much of my interest is more out of habit than true interest?
    • How could I use some of my time for new priorities?

Did he eliminate all sports?  Nope, but he did decide to cut back.  To his surprise, it wound up freeing up time for new things in his life.  AND he found he could still keep up with most trash-talking sports conversations.

So... what needs cleaned out for you?

Your closet? 

Your schedule? 

Ask some questions... clean it out... and let us know how it goes!

Photo credit: pinkcoffee photoart

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