November Brain Declutter 2021
November Colors

As I mentioned last week I am starting the year-end processes a week earlier this year. This essentially means that I am dedicating a weekend to sorting out old stuff, decluttering and preparing the apartment for cleaning. I would like to do this before I start decorating for the holidays because it is giving us a fresher spirit and as I mentioned most of us get really stressed in the last few weeks before the year end as they wish to focus more on family and friends during the holidays. What I would also like to do is finish open ends and projects and before starting too many new ideas and projects reduce the “Pendenzenliste” (It’s one of my favorite Swiss German words and can be translated into the list of open tasks). Most of my friends and I keep laughing about the tasks that never seem to get off the Pendenzenliste and keep you feeling guilty even if you are highly productive all the time. I shared with you already that I’m a bit more relaxed when it comes to my home so “Cleaning out the drawers” would definitely be on the Pendenzenliste. But before I dive into cleaning the apartment there are issues in the order of my home office that urgently need attention.

1 – Start with the Old Paper Files and Reduce your Pendenzen

For many of us it is worse than any other five-letter word.  It’s because paper can weigh you down and hold you back. Getting rid of paper will make you more productive. You might have noticed that when you don’t feel in your comfort zone you need to have something in writing to hold on to. You can reduce complexity by having a plan or calendar of events on the wall. You might reduce your stage fright by writing down and scripting speeches and conference calls.

What it means to let go is that you need to remember more but also that you focus on what’s really important. In the name of productivity I am trying to avoid tasks that do not add value to my business or my clients. In the old days we used to spend hours sorting and deleting emails or filing documents. Being a business owner now I am trying to reduce such work to a bare minimum as I have found out that if I cannot find something it is usually because I am in FRANTIC mode. In RELAXED mode I find all my documents on the laptop by working with the search function or using our elaborate system (It’s just an excel sheet with links to the respective document). 

2 – Simplify and standardize by reducing clutter.

Simplifying can also be done at home. I don’t have an extensive wardrobe. Reading articles on productivity made me standardize my clothes even more so I don’t have to make decisions about what to wear. I also place matching clothes together on the rack. I try to have all clothes “ready to wear” because if I go out in the dark I might not see certain colors or holes or stains. So anything stained, holed or old has to go into the “Altkleidersack” (old clothes bag). The art is to throw the old clothes into the bin where they belong and will be picked up for charity right after you take them out. Otherwise clothes and other clutter have a sneaky way to find their way back into your home.

 3 – Use color codes, the three-box system and laminated signs to sort your office.

In my home office I use a very clean and color-coded physical filing system. It helps me find files that I need to see printed. It also helps me to grab the right file when I am on my way to a client. Most of the time I work without paper though. I also structure my wardrobe by color and even try to sort items by color. It doesn’t always work but gives me a great sense of order and accomplishment.

The three-box system is very simple. You need to have three boxes and give them three functions: box 1: bin / recycling, box 2: donations and box 3: treasures. You need to ensure that you go to throw away the bin right away. The treasures you can put in a box and leave them there until your next cleaning exercise.

4 – Take the first step by sorting for half an hour a day.

One important tip when you start to work on this process is to limit it to half an hour a day. Set the clock and reward yourself afterwards for example by buying yourself a bunch of flowers. Letting go of clutter means to learn to rely more on your brain.

Tell us what you do to sort out your clutter and find order in your life!

HOMEWORK

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