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Focus on Cleanups

By Gary Lockwood

We all have messes in our lives. If you have stacks of paper around your desk, you have a mess. When you procrastinate on an incomplete project, it is a mess. Each time you drag out making an important decision, you have another mess.

Messes are situations of disorder, conflict and incompletion. Consciously and subconsciously, your mind keeps coming back to these messes. They cause you to be distracted, lose energy, break concentration and reduce your confidence. These loose ends can include finances, relationships, your workspace, physical well-being, agreements and legal contracts.

We don#t create a mess on purpose. It just happens. We get busy and put off making that important change in our office. We dread taking that unpleasant action and delay it again and again. We allow an off-hand comment to go without a response because we don#t want to deal with a confrontation.

On each of these occasions, we leave behind a situation that is unresolved. Throughout the day, day after day, week after week, our minds wander back to the mess. Because your mind keeps processing this complication, you do not fully concentrate on the truly important work at hand. Often, self-doubt sets in, causing us to question ourselves. All this eats up your energy and can make you feel weary. When you hear people say they are mentally exhausted, you can bet they have messes.

When you clean up an unresolved predicament, then it stops stealing brain cycles. When you resolve the situation, you can move on to new opportunities. Each time you clean up a mess, you increase concentration, confidence and energy.

So how do you go about this cleanup? Here are a few tips... The first requirement is to recognize the messes. So often, we keep plugging away at our lives without realizing that we#re devoting lots of time and energy just coping with all these unresolved issues. In my business coaching practice, I#ll frequently see clients lugging around twenty or thirty messes that are complicating their lives. When we begin articulating these loose ends, we often discover that some can be cleaned up in a matter of hours or even minutes.

Here#s a good exercise to start making you consciously aware of your cleanup opportunities. On a piece of paper, draw two lines that divide the sheet of paper into four sections. In one section, write down all the projects that you have started, but not yet completed. This should include small and large projects at home and at the office.

In another section, note the projects you have not started yet. These are the ones that you have been thinking about or considering, but have not taken any action. Use the third section for tasks that you are not doing, but want to start. These may include things like blocking off some quiet time each day, call a few key clients, write a letter, balance the checkbook, exercise or read to your children.

In the fourth section of your sheet of paper, identify the things you would like to change. This may include tasks you would like to stop doing, the organization of your staff, your working hours, or the technology you have in place.

Everything you have written in the four sections of this paper represent an opportunity for cleanup. Some may be quick and easy. Do those right away. Others may take awhile. Choose one or two to tackle this month. If you clean up a mess a month, you will see and feel a tremendous difference in your attitude, energy and ability to focus.

Here#s another exercise that will help eliminate the messes. On another sheet of paper, write down the things that you are tolerating. We all have things we are putting up with. We endure that sticky computer key because we don#t want to bother fixing it. We condone an insolent staffer because it#s so much trouble to replace them. We allow a supplier to make consistently late deliveries because we don#t want the confrontation.

Most of us discover that we have quite a list of tolerations. There are two ways to remove a toleration from the list. One way is to decide once and for all that we really want it this way. We prefer it. We embrace this situation and are happy the way it is.

The other way to get a toleration off the list is to take action. Don#t put up with it anymore. Do something about it. Get rid of the problem. Notice that I don#t say this is easy. Some of these things have been around a long time and take some work and tough decisions to fix. Yet, here again, when you stop abiding by unacceptable situations, you increase your peace of mind, concentration, confidence and energy.

Clearly, cleaning up messes and eliminating the things you tolerate are major steps toward simplifying your life at work and at home. The world is a complicated, messy place in which to live. Don#t make it any harder by piling on more obstacles.

Take stock of your opportunities for cleanup. Take action to simplify your life. Clean up those loose ends. Target a mess a month and feel your energy and attitude soar.

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# 1999 BizSuccess All rights reserved. No duplication

About the Author...

Gary Lockwood is Your Business Coach. Grow your business, make more money and have more fun. Get the Unique, Do-It-Yourself Business Consulting Kits - FREE To get yours, go to http://www.BizSuccess.com/freekits.htm Get Gary's business newsletter free at mailto:bizsuccess- on@bizsuccess.com Visit http://www.bizsuccess.com * Mailto:Gary@BizSuccess.com Office: (800) 272-1575 (USA) * Fax: (760) 325-9608

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