Purge yourself of paper . . . You will make more progress.
Sandra, accounting manager for a paper mill in Manitoba, Canada, told Session 9B of the Leadership Development Lab (LDL):
"After hearing Larry's '1440' talk at session 1 of the LDL, I started to carefully read Making Moments Matter – 89 Tools For Taking Charge of Your Time. For the last three months of working in the accounting department, I made a commitment to rid my workspace on a regular weekly basis of all unnecessary paper. I knew there was plenty of room for me to improve the way I organized my work. I was sure that if I found ways to better organize my personal system, my 'standard operating procedures', that I would use my time more wisely, be less frustrated, and be more at ease. I decided to improve my personal organization time management skills by discarding redundant paperwork. I love keeping drafts, research documentation, and other paper that isn't a final product. However, these piles of paper, while sometimes having value, take up valuable time as I move them around, sort through them again and again, while searching for a particular item. They demonstrate a poor level of housekeeping and make me look disorganized.
It wasn't easy at first, and instead of throwing things out on my Friday purge, I found myself restacking them for future reference in smaller piles. Each week, I got a little more courageous. My piles got smaller and smaller. Now I find myself
looking forward to my Friday purge, and there is less and less remaining on my desk each week. I go home on Friday with a lighter feeling, have a more carefree weekend, and Monday morning dread is a distant memory.
Over the final month-end of our fiscal year and the first month of the new year, I stuck to my commitment of letting go of paperwork that wasn't serving any purpose. I have at least three times more desktop space than I had two months ago. I know where things are now, and I can find what I need when I need it. I feel lighter, more powerful, and more confident. My manager commented on how neat things were looking the other day and I knew she was right.
The lesson I learned from this experience is that when I make a resolve, I can make significant improvements in long-standing habits. I can make far better use of my time by doing thoughtful, proactive planning.
The action I call you to take is to be firmly committed to the changes you decide to make that you believe will result in better time management, improved productivity, and a greater contribution to your goals.
The benefit you will gain is additional time to devote to efforts that help you accomplish your bigger goals. You will feel better about yourself and real progress will be your constant companion."