By Jason W. Womack, MEd, MA
Happy New Year... and “Welcome back to work!” Now, look around your desk and your office. Is there clutter? Are there stacks of papers or files? Do you feel the “stress of the undone?”
To do meaningful work, and to focus on your most important things (projects, events, clients, etc.), you need to be in an environment with fewer distractions. Reduce the psychological burden of “stuff” in your space. Delete, purge, and recycle a few things to make room for new ideas and new resources to start the new year.
When you do too much rapid refocusing, you lose the power of thought on projects that deserve more. The myth of multitasking would have you believe that while working at a desk where you can see e-mail, answer your phone, review printed documents, and write ideas on a notepad—all at the same time—is productive. Sorry to say, it’s not.
Get rid of everything you can and reduce what might be coming in. Because people are busy, they let a backlog pile up over the last six weeks of each year. Unsubscribe from e-mail newsletters, magazines, book-of-the-month clubs, perhaps one ad-hoc committee you joined last year. Try the “unsubscription” for three months; at the end of those 12 weeks, you can re-up if you want to.