No doubt that our lives are filled with clutter. Too many things to do. Too many trips to take. Too many meetings. Too many calls or calls to return. Am I the only one who thinks this? I don’t think so.

For most people, a cluttered room or house or car or desk creates a lot of stress. When it comes to tasks and meetings and projects it’s all that plus a serious case of negative productivity, vis a vis we get much less accomplished than we should.

Here are a handful of excellent disciplines that can help.

  1. Inbox Zero—at least once a week take your inbox to zero, literally. Answer, file, turn into a to do meeting—and delete.
  2. Create a Stop Doing List—at least once a quarter review all of your activities and identify things you simply won’t do anymore.
  3. Practice Essentialism—in Greg McKeown’s tremendous book he advocates doing only the “vital few” things that truly matter.
  4. Cull your Calendar—meetings, calls, trips have a way of creeping onto your schedule and multiplying. Get out the trimmers and cut!
  5. Avoid Reply All Like the Plague—just don’t do it.
  6. Video vs Travel—you don’t have to be there every time. Try a video meeting instead.
  7. Recalibrate Priorities—what was an “A” last year is likely a “B” this year. As part of your regular productivity hygiene, reset what is more and less important.
  8. Ask for Help—one of my business partners and I meet regularly and one of our topics for each other is, “Look at my priorities and challenge them.”
  9. Schedule “45 Minute Hours”—there’s no reason for meetings to start or end on the hour or half hour. End them at 20 minutes after or quarter til the hour.
  10. Stop Email Madness—if it’s more than 2 emails back and forth, pick up the phone.

Clutter is like kudzu. You can’t actually kill it. You always have to trim it again. But that’s no reason you shouldn’t do your best to stay on it.

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