February 13, 2018

We all want to be more productive and invite opportunities into our lives.

Would you believe that doing so would take only 30 minutes?

Here’s what’s required:

  1. Clear your desk.
  2. Recycle the newspapers.
  3. File the notes.
  4. Toss the press releases you no longer need.
  5. Put pens and office supplies in desk drawers.
  6. And throw away everything under your desk.

You can do all of these things in 30 minutes or less.

I know what you’re thinking: You don’t have 30 minutes to spare. After all, you are on deadline to write four stories today because the newsroom has only five reporters.

But clearing your desk will change your paradigm. And that will create new opportunities — whether you want a new job, a promotion or amazing story ideas.

When you clear off your desk, you will also have a clear mind. That clear mind will accelerate your productivity. And that means you might make more money or be able to go home at a decent hour.

To be clear, I am not talking about cleaning your desk, where you spray some cleaner on the 1 inch of open space. I am talking about totally clearing it off.

Bring the recycle bin over and ditch all the old newspapers, pieces of paper and old notes.
I can hear another of your hesitations: “I have to keep all this because I might need it one day.”

That hesitation comes from your ego, the voice in your head. I am here to tell you that you don’t need documents from 10 years ago on a subject that you will never write about again.

Second, your ego wants to hold you back. It does not like change. Quieting that voice, however, is completely in your control. You can do so. (I recommend “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz for more on this topic.)

Get rid of everything under your desk. You are never going to bend down and regularly retrieve things down there. Plus, you are breathing in all that dust behind that box full of old notes. Once you clear it out, I recommend commit to not putting anything back there.

Clean desk
This is the after photo of the same area. (Photo provided by Leah Friedman)

For the documents and notes that you need because you will be writing all year on corruption in the sheriff’s office, I invite you to create ONE filing system.

Most of us have too many filing systems: a filing system on one’s desk, a filing system in one’s desk, and files in the pullout drawers along the wall.

I encourage you to choose your favorite and use just one. That way, you can put your hands on documents quickly.

Your goal in recycling and filing should be to totally clear off your desk. It should look like you are leaving the newsroom for good. People will even wonder. Let them. I would even empty some drawers.

Why? Because opportunities appear when you tell the universe you’re ready. And empty space is a great way to send that message. For example, if you want a new car, empty out the garage.

Energy can flow through your now empty desk and get you focused on what you really, truly want. Energy can’t flow in when you have boxes of old reporting notebooks piled on your desk.

Try it. I promise that opportunities will come knocking.

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