Quote of the Week

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.”
Henry David Thoreau


By Phyllis Sisenwine

Spring is here and summer is just around the corner. Spring is traditionally a time for “spring cleaning”. When was the last time you gave your office, your business and your life a spring-cleaning? Take a look at your physical space. What does your office look like? Are there piles of papers on your desk? Unread magazines from months ago? Look at your business. Are there projects you just don’t want to complete? New systems that need to be instituted that you’ve been putting off? Take a look at your life. Is it filled with activities you enjoy or things you do because you’ve always done them? What can you do to clean out the old stuff and simplify with the new?

Life-style spring-cleaning. Just say no.

To keep your energy up and your spirits high, it is important to know how you spend your time. What is a true priority for you? What are the things you feel you “must” do, not because you want to, but because they are expected of you. What are you doing that’s fun for you to do? There are so many events and possible activities that many of us could be busy morning, noon and night. That would be okay if you were doing things you truly enjoyed and you made sure to stop and smell the roses once in awhile. Yet, no matter how busy you are many of you still take on more and more and more, and not necessarily things you really want to do. Whether it’s a business function or a scout meeting or a project that you have no interest in, perhaps you find it difficult to say “no.” It’s especially hard to say no when someone tells you that without you it won’t get done. So, before accepting any new commitment, ask yourself if this is an absolute “yes”. If it is, great. If not, say, “no, thank you.” That’s all there is to it! It’s as simple as saying “no.” And learning to say no is vital to your success in business and in life.

Look at your life right now. If you are stressed out and don’t have enough down time you will not be effective. Review your activities, responsibilities and the way you spend your day. Consider your weekly schedule. Are there any blank spaces? Shouldn’t there be? Think of one activity or meeting you can clear out of your life. Once you start to say no to the things that are not truly important to you, it is time to say yes. Say “yes” to yourself. Say yes to a simpler life-style.

Physical spring-cleaning

What can you do this month to get organized? You might want to consider hiring a professional organizer to get you started on a plan. Look at your office and your home. Most of you are drowning in a sea of paper. According to a recent study 75 percent of all papers filed are never looked at again. Block out some time to get rid of all the junk mail, papers, magazines and stuff that you no longer need. Make time on your calendar for spring-cleaning. Not only does clutter cost you time when you’re searching for things, but it costs you energy. If you hear yourself saying, “I must clean up my office”, or “I can’t find anything,” know that it is taking energy away from your brilliance and creativity. The cause of clutter is often delayed decisions. The motto is “When in doubt, throw it out.” The best method to successfully cut the clutter is the 4Ds method. Make a decision with each piece of paper to either dump it, delegate it, delay it or do it! The task can seem so overwhelming if you’re knee deep in papers. Starting with a small area makes it manageable. One client of mine took every paper from the top of her desk and credenza and put it in several boxes. She then went through one box at a time over a period of several weeks. It was easier for her to organize with a clean desk.


Dump it

Dump as much as possible in the trash can the first time you handle it. Make a decision immediately about what to do with it.

Delegate it

If you have someone to delegate to have a tray in your office and put anything that you can delegate immediately in the tray. Break yourself of the habit of doing routine things that you can delegate.

Delay it

If you receive something that does not require immediate attention but that you will need for the future, set up a tickler file and delay it.

Do it

Do it now and you won’t have to handle that piece of paper again. Are you delaying a decision that might be costing you unnecessary time and energy? Anything you don’t do now is something you will have to do later. Develop a routine to sort through your mail at the same time every day and say no to clutter. As you simplify your office environment you’ll also be simplifying your life.

Copyright 2009, All Rights Reserved. Phyllis Sisenwine, Master Certified Coach, can be reached at

Coaching Call to Action

If you would like some company with your “spring cleaning”, come join us at “Pounce on a Project” on Thursday, April 29th. See below for more information. This week commit to at least of one hour towards simplification. One strategy I use is to put on lively music while cleaning. This way I don’t spend too much time in indecision over pieces of paper and it makes the whole process more fun! Do you have any strategies that work for you that you would share with other readers?