Most clutter is really decisions you haven’t made yet, and by getting current with yourself you can become more whole. -Sunny Schlenger

I love that quote. It so simple and obvious but, at the same time, how many times have you forced yourself to deal with the pile of papers on your desk only to discover half of them can be dealt with in a few seconds each and they’d been sitting there for months.

It is amazing the kind of stuff we leave lying around to deal with later that actually only involves a few seconds of work. We could just do it and move on! How satisfying would that be?

I first read that quote a few years ago and I have it posted above my desk to this day. I think it applies to not only clutter (as in paper and junk on your desk) but also old emails in your inbox, files on your computer, etc. The message I take from it is to just force yourself to deal with it and you’ll feel better when it is done, no matter what it was.

I also find that the longer I let something go, the more I start to dread it and put more importance on it than it deserves. Nearly every time I finally do this task, it is no where near as bad as I think it is going to be and usually takes far less time than I thought it would as well. That job you are putting off is not nearly as bad as you think it is so you might as well just do it now.

I set myself a reminder every two weeks entitled, simply, “Deal with Stuff.” This is a reminder to make sure to go through everything in my email and answer what needs to be answered and go through the papers on my desk and file or throw out as necessary.

For me, this also means condensing my To Do listings because I have a habit of losing my lists and starting a new one each day so I usually have quite a few hidden on my desk. I find it handy to recopy the unfinished items from each of these lists into a single list so it is less daunting.

Another simple thing that has worked for me is a “job jar.” I have a small box on my desk. In it are little bits of paper with all the little quickie things I could do in about an hour that are not top priority so I never seem to get to them. Whenever I am trapped (waiting for something to load, stuck on hold with an operator, I only have a few minutes before I need to leave, I am on the phone with someone who will not shut up etc) I try to knock off something from the job jar. Selecting something at random nearly always makes me say “Ugh” to whatever I have picked out but, as long as I force myself to do it, it feels really awesome to finally have that done.

So, on this lovely Friday, what are your tips for reducing clutter in your life and on your desk? (If you want to write it up in your own blog, please share the link below or just do a trackback).