Pruning & Purging: How The Clutter Will Soon Be Cleared

Enough is enough.

In the name of productivity (and my sanity) I determined a couple of days ago that I can’t go on the way things are. My office environment, quite simply, is just too cluttered. Well, it was too cluttered — now it’s just plain messy, until I finish getting everything where it needs to be.

Cluttered Office
My desk in the midst of de-clutter

As a peek into how I arrived at this process, here are the steps that got me here and where I’m going with it:

  1. It became both important and urgent, to use ideology coined by Dr. Stephen Covey in his books [amazon asin=0684802031&text=First Things First] and [amazon asin=0743269519&text=The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People] (affiliate links). It hadn’t been close enough to either of these until last week when I was not able to quickly find something that I should have been able to otherwise.
  2. It went beyond this into a stewardship thing. Basically, because of my increasing lack of organization, I simply have not been taking good care of something important that’s been entrusted to me, namely my ministry. Quite frankly, I’ve been in a dangerous tail spin on ineffectiveness. I was beginning to miss things in my everyday and, as I wrote in a recent post, ultimately that’s going to hurt people. I don’t want that happening on my watch.
  3. I’m now going digital (and I think you should too). For months now I’ve read how several highly respected leadership gurus have been converting their important paper documents and everyday banality alike into digital copies and utilizing cloud computing to access and archive it all. Over and over again, Evernote floats its way to the top of the list of high quality software to assist in the process. A couple of months back, on the advice of a post by Michael Hyatt, I finally caved and set up my own account with Evernote and I’ve not looked back since; this is easily one of the top five things I’ve ever done when it comes to increasing my productivity. The only thing that’s missing is the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 that integrates seamlessly with Evernote to save an abundance of time in converting paper files to digital. (If you’re reading this and have considered partnering with our ministry financially but don’t feel you can commit to ongoing monthly involvement, this electronic device would be a very welcome addition to our office arsenal. Seriously.)
  4. I am throwing a lot of stuff out. I’m no hoarder but, I don’t exactly like throwing things away. After all, “I might use that someday.” Yeah… right. I realized yesterday just how out of control I had let things get when I was rearranging one shelf and found myself holding a 2004-05 edition of the Yellow Pages. (BTW, I literally laughed out loud when just last night this arrived in my RSS news feed.) Don’t get me wrong; the baby’s not going with the bath water but c’mon… an eight-year-old edition of a book that few people have used since 2006?
Stay tuned. I’ll keep you apprised of the pruning and purging progress as I move ahead in stages over the next couple of weeks.


Bottom line: What are some ways that you can lighten your load when it comes to “stuff”? Have you ever found yourself clinging to stuff you haven’t used in years?
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  • Eric Dye

    Love this!

    • Charlie Lyons

      Thanks, Eric. Was there something that resonated with you particularly?

  • Anonymous

    I’m a neat freak, so my office is always clean. It really helps when I need to focus in on writing or doing something that needs to be done. I recently moved and have some containers I need to sort through so I’m more organized but for the most part I stay De-cluttered.

    • Charlie Lyons

      Sometimes it’s a series of events that changes us, other times it’s one cataclysmic event. I’ve been moving in this direction for some time now, Dan, and the other day was just the catalytic event I needed to push me over the top. Thank you for your comments.

      • danblackonleadership

        Glad to hear you have been pushed over the top.