“I’d like to hire you to organize my life.” I turned and saw the colleague. I was a tenured faculty member at the same university where I received my BA.
I quickly graduated from graduate school and became a colleague of my former professors, and that was sometimes awkward. It was one of those moments. I smiled at the woman who had trained me only a few years ago. I admired her – smart, talented, and an expert in her field. She continued, “I just need some order, you know? I feel like I’m constantly playing catch-up with time. Can you help me?”
The proposal sounded like a bolt from the blue. I did not have the relevant certificate, I did not deal with the problems of order in the human psyche. And I haven’t looked for additional work. But she saw my office and knew about my ability to keep up with everything. She saw the freedom I got thanks to the order. That’s how I started helping others. My simple approach has helped people take control of the chaos and find order. After implementing the system, a woman emailed me saying she was sleeping better because her inbox was no longer bothering her. An advertising agency owner I hired for a completely different assignment tried my method and shared it with his entire organization. “This is gold!” he said. And he added: It happened that we missed important deadlines because we don’t have a clear system. And now it seems that everything is so simple. So if you want to change the way you approach your schedule, business, and life, I’m ready to pull back the curtain on my method for maximum efficiency.
The relationship between productivity and clutter
You have goals. Big, small, or secret. Loud and bold. You dream of doing something meaningful in this world – to be confident in walking towards your goal.
Unfortunately, in the pursuit of self-improvement, it’s easy to unknowingly create chaos everywhere—physically, digitally, and mentally. Many sources tell us what to do with our time, and the hoarder’s instinct kicks in – we try to collect all we can and do all we are capable of. And you know what comes next. To-do lists keep getting longer. A pile of “needs” turns into a huge monster that oppresses us. We put aside our priorities in life to appear productive at work. We’d rather buy a fancy new backpack or download the latest app than minimize the chaos. An organized mess is still a mess, and just because you’re doing a million different things doesn’t mean they’re all right. But dealing with clutter is one of the most difficult tasks. First, it creates excessive visuals that can make you feel guilty, anxious, and overwhelmed, causing you to procrastinate on other tasks. People can’t do anything about the disorder because it relaxes a person rather than encourages them to act. It’s time for a different approach to productivity that will save you trouble and clear the way forward. So stop looking at work and life productivity apps. Time to just get rid of the clutter!
You only need 15 minutes
If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I can put off work. Over the past seven years, I’ve written and self-published six books (including two bestsellers), written over 400 articles, grown my online audience to 20 million readers, spoken at conferences and summits, created online programs, launched and successfully sold two businesses and six relocated, including two overseas relocations. I am currently running my third business, homeschooling two children, and living a balanced life full of fun, work, and play. And I do all this without hiring a maid or nanny and I don’t work after 5:00 p.m. I’m not sharing this to brag. Ask anyone who knows me: I’m not smarter or more capable than the average person. I’m talking about this so you can see what can be achieved by organizing your life and making room for your goals. And the best part is, you don’t have to take my word for it. You can test this method by spending just 15 minutes every day. Wait a week and you will see the magic happen.
A 15-minute method to get rid of clutter
This system is annoyingly simple because there are only two points.
First, choose a location
If your home, mailbox, or desk is full of laundry, emails, or random files, you’ll be overwhelmed. A suppressed mind cannot work productively. So choose where you want to start. Think about the things that affect your emotional health or productivity the most and start from there. Then set a timer for 15 minutes and get to work. The main thing is not to get bogged down in the process. Follow this step-by-step outline as a guide for your daily 15 minutes of work.
Step 1. Sort
Take two boxes, and write “keep” on one and “throw-away” on the other. Then start sorting things into one of these two piles. If you haven’t used something in a year if it’s broken or you don’t like/need it: send it in the second box. Rare exceptions are allowed for important family heirlooms or items you wish to donate. But don’t hang on to every little thing just because it “has a memory attached to it.” You can always take a memory photo, but don’t ruin your future memories just because you’re holding on too tightly to the past.
Step 2. Throw away
Make sure there’s a discard bin by sorting the items in it into one of four new piles:
Discard or reuse
Donate to charity
Step 3: Repetition
Repeat step 2 until the entire discard pack is gone, then follow the steps necessary to say goodbye to these items for good.
Step 4. Organization
Find the right place for everything in your save pack. When you’re done, move on to another room, starting over from step one.
15 Magic Minutes for Digital Spaces (Inbox, Desktop, Photos, etc.)
Digital clutter doesn’t look as ugly as physical clutter, but it takes a colossal amount of time. The system for backing up important files and simultaneously using the delete or unsubscribe buttons if necessary helps you focus on what matters most. The process by which digital clutter occurs is similar to what happens in the physical world. First, select an area. Set a timer for 15 minutes and follow the instructions.
Step 1. Find a place
Create a new folder and name it Organize. Move everything into it (your mailbox or desktop should be clean by now). A full mailbox affects you physically and mentally. It puts your body in a state of stress, in fight or ignore and flight mode. That’s why the first step is to make sure that there is no inbox left.
Step 2. Prioritize
Create a new folder with your email provider and name it Urgent. Add any urgent emails or files to it.
Step 3. Organize the emails
Spend five to ten minutes answering urgent emails, and use the remaining time to organize non-urgent emails into unimportant folders and delete unnecessary emails.
Step 4. Continue what you started
Repeat step 3 until your Organize Mail folder is empty. When new emails arrive, either reply to them immediately or move them to the appropriate folder. To achieve more, you have to say no to the unimportant. For some, this is difficult. It’s natural to hold onto things. But habits come with practice, so find something you can say no to today. As you continually make room in your home, office, life, and mind, you will discover untapped potential and clarity. 15 minutes can change your habits, attitudes, and life. I’m excited to see what changes these 15 minutes will bring to you.