How to Turn Creative Clutter into Business Success in Three Easy Steps
Albert Einstein said, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” Trust me, I get it. I understand all of the great things about creativity-inducing clutter. I am a huge proponent of being able to see and touch all of the projects you’re working on. During my hardcore workdays, my floor is littered with papers, binders, and books. Without my “mess” I wouldn’t be able to dig into my ideas. It’s a necessary part of my thinking process.
However, my desk isn’t just creative chaos. There is mindfulness to my mess.
There’s a fine line between being fueled by your environment and being overwhelmed. If you find your stacks of papers and random sticky notes more distracting than illuminating, try this method, it will give you space to regroup and start creating again.
Block It Out
- Take your entire work week and break ALL of your projects and actions down into the following piles:
- A – high priority
- B – mid-level priority
- C – not so hot, but needs to get done
- Next, place the high priority projects in order by deadline/priority. This will create a specific list of actions to take to complete the projects in that category. Do this for categories B and C. When you’re finished, instead of a regular “to-do list,’ you will have a tangible outline of all of your work. This allows you to plan in both short-term and long-term timeframes while still being able to be hands-on with each project.
In and Out
- Now, simply put these tasks/actions that are ‘incoming’ (in progress) to the right of you. Now you have a visual of the work you’ll be doing today or this week.
- Start with category A and work your way to category C, completing each project in order of importance.
- Once the task is complete, put it down to your left for final actions. Note that some projects cannot be completed in a single work session. This is where the specificity of your categories will be essential. Breaking down each project into tasks that are both productive and manageable will increase your success with this method.
For example, let’s say this week you are meeting with a prospective client. You print off the email correspondence that confirms the meeting, then place it to your RIGHT (on the desk/floor/etc.) After your meeting with the individual, put that piece of paper to the LEFT of you. At the end of the day it will return to the pile to be re-categorized for following up with the client, drawing up a contract, etc.
RIGHT = intake LEFT = in process
Test and Measure
Keep this all documented. Why? Because every 90 days, 12 weeks, 3 months you have the opportunity to do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. Take a moment and figure out what part of this process is making your more productive, or if there are ways you can personalize and improve this method.
At the end of the business quarter all of that documentation will create a visual map of the steps you have taken to further your business and your success. This is a gift that I recommend all of my clients give themselves. It is tangible proof that you are moving forward, even when your mind (or your numbers) may say otherwise.
In on the RIGHT
Take the ACTION
Out on the LEFT
This week I challenge you to create a #mindfulmess and see what it does for your creativity and your business. Take a picture of your desk and tag it with #mindfulmess to share your results with others!