Productivity: Don’t Dump On Me

So in my last post I mentioned that my office re-image had unexpectedly produced a valuable new side effect, one that almost instantaneously forced a new habit. And it’s changed my work-flow for the better.

Before, one could very well argue that my work space was a dumping ground. I won’t try to skirt my own responsibilities for a second here: I let a lot of junk build up. But because of the sheer amount of ministries I oversee, and the amount of wonderful staff that work to make all of it happen, “stuff” from those ministries and from those staff tended to deposit itself in my office. Files, mail, packets, notes, promo materials, sales product, signage, forms, passes, office supplies, books, and anyone who “borrowed” my office while I was out of town always let their stuff linger around for a few days after I get home.

But when the office got clean, I noticed everything. Every little paper. The absence of “table space” didn’t allow for any extras. As my dad drilled into me growing up, “A place for everything, and everything in its place.” And suddenly, if something wasn’t in its place, I saw it. And it bugged the stink out of me.

This forced a new practice:

Whatever comes into my office leaves with someone or leaves in the trash can.


My co-workers and staff have heard a new phrase coming out of my mouth lately. “Woah, why are you leaving that here? No, no, no…” And I usher them out. This forces them to use their own filing systems. Not mine. It also has enabled me to delegate much more than I ever have before (a practice which is easy to talk about but very hard to learn). If, however, the item and resulting tasks pertain to me, see option 2.


These are my projects. Things I need to do. And my detest of seeing anything pile up in my newly renovated office compels me to tackle the project I’m handed immediately, and then get rid of the evidence. Contrary to my former habits of “I’ll get to that as soon as I’m done with this,” the opposite has happened. The resulting attitude is “Get this new thing done asap so I can get back to my previous task.” While it seems counter productive to my brain, it’s actually decreased the amount of work I’m doing and nearly eliminated the dreaded piles-o-paper.

Among the obvious benefits of a cleaner office, better work-flow, and a stronger handle on enabling my staff to make decisions about things I’d normally make myself, I’ve also found that I’m hoarding less and throwing out more. Asking myself, “Do I really need this sheet of paper? Do I absolutely need these notes?”

The result? Freedom.

For all you hoarders out there, I’ll have one last tip in my next post that has freed me immensely from the grip of collecting stuff.

Is your trash can calling your name? Or do you need to have a chat with your dumpers? I’d love to know! ch: