We don’t have a problem of lack. We have a problem of accumulation. This is true in our work. Information, products and media can crowd our lives to the point of chaos. It takes a great deal of vigilance to keep out the noise and only let in the good stuff.
However, the reward is clarity, focus and execution. It may be hard to let go of things that we have become accustomed to because of our psychological attachment to something that is habitual. But we cannot afford to do anything less than ruthless with what robs us of our attention, energy and energy.
There is such a place as peace of mind. It takes work to get there. As we begin a new year, consider some of the following actions to help you clear the decks and have more peace of mind. These are some things I do periodically to get a fresh start mentally and emotionally:
- Unsubscribe. You may have been subscribed to a store you are no longer interested in or a Groupon which no longer matters. You may have outgrown someone’s service or advice. Monitor your inbox for the next 30 days and reclaim it by unsubscribing to content and offers that are no longer relevant.
- Unfriend. If you have a thousand Facebook friends or Twitter feeds you subscribe to, there is a lot of noise in there that inhibits quality content. Work through your lists and keep real friends and mentors on your list. This will enrich your experience keeping up with any social stream. Make it useful again. Trim the fat and give more to the relationships which matter.
- Focus Your Content Diet. Use Google Reader and audit it carefully for ongoing content. Use this for your daily reading of what is happening in your industry or points of interest. This is an inbox that serves to keep you in the know about what is happening.
- Use Evernote. With evernote, all of your content is synced, available and ready to be accessed for thinking, writing, leadership or whatever you are pursuing. Go without paper and commit to using this system. Evernote is excellent for research, note taking and journaling. Get rid of the paper by scanning and throw away documents that are already saved and searchable in Evernote.
- Retain The Best Relationships. Review your list of customers and friends. Think about those that are more trouble than it is worth. Commit to redirecting your energy to the most valuable relationships and give them your best. If there are broken relationships, go and make things right. Learn to say, “Sorry,” and move on in peace. Have the discipline to let in relationships which match who you are and what you are about.
- Clean Your Desk. Your workspace is a place where you spend a lot of time. Move everything off of it and put it in a pile. Then carefully move back only what matters. Discard or donate the rest. Removing the distractions in your workspace frees up mind space as your peripheral vision is not pulled towards mess and clutter.
- Go to bed early. There’s always work to do, especially in our connected world. Develop the habit of reading in the evening and get some sleep. It allows you to be more alert and valuable to others. Our minds are the most important tool we have in the information age. Take care of it by resting and allowing yourself to detach. Work hard, play hard and sleep well.
Without attention to what comes at us, our lives can get complex quickly. As the natural cycles of business and life allow us to reflect and renew our focus, take the time to clear the decks. It will go a long way to help you gain the peace of mind we all crave.
What are some things that you do for renewal and focus?