Clear your mind to increase productivity.

Every office has one: the messy lawyer, whose desk and/or office always looks like a bomb exploded and left behind papers and files and coffee cups and who-knows-what-else scattered everywhere.  It’s a good practice to clear the decks weekly or following the end of a major project, just to keep some level of tidiness.  This time of year is especially auspicious, since you may find a few spare minutes for cleaning, and it’s such a good feeling to return to a clean office on January 2.  Especially if you have the luxury of calling in an assistant to help with filing and organization, 30 minutes to an hour will often prevent an overflow.

What if it’s your mind that needs decluttering?  When your brain is filled with “must do” tasks of both professional and personal origin, when you’re worried about something, when you’re trying to make a difficult decision, and when all of your thoughts are further agitated by the “noise” of life, it’s easy to get lost in mental chaos.  One day when I was preparing for a major client meeting and dealing with my mother’s terminal illness, I stopped by the grocery store on my way home.  I knew I was distracted, so I’d takent he time to write down the items I needed to buy.  But I proved how distracted I was when I returned to my car to find it still running with the keys in the ignition!  I wish I’d had access to the recent terrific post by Zen Habits titled 15 Can’t-Miss Ways to Declutter Your Mind.  The tactics (with clarification available in the Zen Habits post):

1.  Breathe.
2.  Write it down.
3.  Identify the essential.
4.  Eliminate.
5.  Journal.
6.  Rethink your sleep.
7.  Take a walk.
8.  Watch less TV.
9.  Get in touch with nature.
10.  Do less.
11.  Go slower.
12.  Let go.
13.  Declutter your surroundings.
14.  Single-task.
15.  Get a load off.  (Vent!)

And I’d add one more: do something creative that gets you into a state of flow, where time passes without your notice.  Examples might be drawing or playing music.  Time spent in any of these areas is indeed time well spent.

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