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‘Tis the Season To Throw Things Away

Jessica Lanning

I’m late to the blog this week.  I admit it.  David Allen’s newsletter finally got me moving.  I’m a big fan of his.  His newsletter is about purging the old to make room for the new.  Right on.

Getting ahead of falling behind

This time of year I spend on business planning.  What worked this year and what didn’t?  What was missing?  Where will I spend my time next year?  Where will I make my money?  What projects do I want to take on?  What excites me about 2011?

This starts with sitting on the floor and taking out every file in my file cabinet and cleaning it out.  If I haven’t looked at it and don’t need it, it gets tossed.  If should be scanned and filed, it is.  The most useful items are put at my fingertips.  I go through my electronic files and make a file that says “2010” and I will put all 2010 documents there.  That folder will live in a folder called “Historical”.  If I really need it, I can find it.  (I rarely need it.  It’s just too easy to save electronic stuff.)  I put on music, sing, and purge.  I love making room for the new.

I’m often asked how I manage to do so much with so much clarity, confidence and focus.  Where do I get the time?  How do I remember it all?   This annual ritual of coming casual to the office, sitting on the floor, and sitting quietly through my thoughts is what makes that happen.  I know where I’m going to spend my time, I know what has priority for me, I know where my information lives.  When a request or a question comes across my desk, I know how to think about it, I know whether to say yes or no, I know where to go to get the answer.  It’s not so much about orderliness as it is about efficiencies.  I want room in my life to do what I want.  (Searching for things isn’t one of them.  However it is snowing, and I’m ready to ski.)

If you’re lucky enough to be in a business that’s quiet during the holidays, take the quiet time to clean out the old and make room for the new.  I wish you great productivity, insight, creativity, and excitement for a new year coming.