Clearing out and cleaning up can make you feel warm all over.
Don, steam plant shift engineer for a paper mill in Manitoba, Canada, told Session 7B of the Leadership Development Lab:
“As October approaches and November is just around the corner, my wife, Linda, ‘Mrs. Neat & Tidy’, likes to urge me, ‘Mr. Clutter’, to clean up the garage so that ‘maybe we can park the car inside because nobody likes scraping snow and frost off of the windshields in sub-zero weather’. Our garage isn’t heated, but when the car is kept in the garage, it is much warmer, dryer, and easier to get in and out of than when it is parked in our icy driveway. A miter saw and stand, a table saw, as well as a pressure washer, lawn mower, and air compressor replace the car’s footprint in the spring, summer and fall. I like to justify leaving my temporary shop set up to foil by inconvenience any burglars from taking my 4-wheel ATV at the back of the garage. It is quite true that the clutter of leftover plywood and scraps from my projects tends to make the next project harder to get to. By fall, it is a life-threatening challenge to just get a bicycle through the maze and out of the garage to go for a ride.
“At Session 3, when we received our red dots and took the pledge to be five times more enthusiastic about some project that needed our attention, I resolved to become more orderly, so on my days off three weeks ago, I swung into action. The scraps that were salvageable were sorted and stacked. What I could part with went to the dump or the wood stove pile. There were more than enough scraps left over to make two live rodent traps. Power tools I may need this winter were moved to easily accessible places. Those tools that I won’t
need were placed in the shed out back behind the house. Now we have an orderly, car-accessible garage . . . ‘neat and tidy’ . . . my wife is happy and so am I.
“The lesson I learned from this experience is that clutter creates chaos and selfinduced stress. By starting in one area and creating orderliness, it instills confidence, a sense of accomplishment, and the momentum keeps me going through the next phase of the project.
“The action I call you to take is to pick an area of your department that is cluttered up. Start to create orderliness in one small corner and work your way out. You will soon find that your wins will turbocharge your efforts. Soon you will be organizing all the important areas of your life. It could even spill over and influence your performance in other areas of your life. You will soon want your basement, workshop, den, desk, computer, or whatever to be neat and orderly.
“The benefit you will gain is an intense sense of accomplishment and pride. Prepare yourself, because your friends and coworkers may do a double take.”