Where is that paper?
Friends I've worked with know how I like the clean desk standard. How clean? I don't even have a favorite coffee cup or pictures from home. There is nothing on my desk but space.
What's On Your Mind?
To each their own, but research supports the clean desk clean/creative mind link. Turns out multi-tasking is actually myth. We really just pay attention to different things in succession for about 5-7 seconds a piece.
That's not a lot of quality time.
So how to manage our labor to create the time we need to focus? Three steps can help you change this picture.
Declutter – Whether its physical desk space or the space between your ears, you've got to declutter. The uber clean desk policy might seem like overkill, yet think of this as a zen exercise. When you walk into your work space are you greeted by calm and order, a la a Japanese rock garden, or is your cube more like a volcano of erupted papers, books, files, flash drives and coffee cups? Which would you rather call home for the day? And what about your own mind? How many random thoughts are you juggling in there rather than use any simple reminder tool on your smart phone to keep them organized, handy – and out of your consciouness. You can't get clarity in a mind full of muck
Choose – By definiton a priority is something you put above others. Its true: if everything is a priority nothing is. Early in my career I struggled with demadning clients who wanted multiple priorities and would suggest their people were incompetent if they couldn't keep up. Now I know what that is: mental immaturity. Winners choose a select few priorities and just don't do anything else. They choose what matters and stay after it relentlessly. This is why Ritz-Carlton, Honda and Amedei have the best hotels, cars and chocolate year in and year out. Once a priority is chosen the focus is relentless. Yours must be too
Concentrate – We love stimuli. Except when we need to think. Creative people have extraordinary concentration often skipping meals and bio breaks not because they want to but because they're focused on something else. Yet, in order to reach this heightened state of energy, your normal seven-second day has to give way. Phones, music, walk-ins, you name it – they've got to go. Office space not conducive? Use a conference room or work from home: anything that will disrupt the stream of interference preventing you from getting into the higher consciousness you need to do your best work. There is no work around here: extraordinary thinking requires extraordinary concentration
Simple changes to your work space and approach can yield significant results. The steps noted here can be implemented today – how I love instant gratification – for your immediate benefit.
Higher level thinking requires a higher level approach, and make no mistake, higher level thinking is what is required for success. Average will not suffice.
So clean your desk and your mind to make things work for you instead of against.
If you'll excuse me now I have to concentrate.