Career Focused- How to De-Clutter your career
Questions- Who likes clutter all over their desk? Who likes being distracted by pop-up ads on articles you’re trying to read? Do you enjoy it when you’re elbow-deep in a project and someone tries to start an IM chain about a completely different topic? Answers to these questions for me are: I don’t; I really, really don’t; and- Of course not! Unfortunately I live with these minor distractions every day. During the course of me writing this post, I’m sure I’ll be distracted any number of times, so that a 30 minute (pretty fun) task may become an hour long exercise in inefficiency.
The article that started this pity-party- “How to declutter your career” by Paolo Gallo on Forbes wasn’t concerned so much with the pop-up type of distraction. Paolo’s discussion of identifying and actively pursuing efficiency in your career was focused on helping people find their focus. As I was reading the article, I kept thinking about the old adage: Better to do one thing supremely well, than many badly (you can choose whoever’s version you like- Heather Hart, Steve Jobs, or Max Weber are some popular options). It’s true, but we don’t always practice it.
In our careers we may be distracted by “one off” projects- things that are somewhat relevant, but not truly contributing to a successful completion of a goal. Being able to find your focus and devote your career to it- whether it’s excellence in Commercial Construction, Life Insurance Underwriting, or the effective management of diverse teams- is the only way to become a true expert in your field. Working to cut out irrelevant clutter, you first need to find your focus, which Paolo suggests you do by taking a brief professional inventory (writing down the 5 most important things in your life). Obviously everyone’s will be different, but it will help you focus on what’s really important. Anything that doesn’t help you achieve goals in relation to the top 5 on your list may not be a good use of your time. The Forbes article also goes into some useful strategies to hone in on proactively supporting activity that help you reach goals- for example: take a pause before you rush headlong into feverishly trying to meet an expectation that’s not in alignment with your priorities anyway; making note of where you actually put energy and resources into your goals, and where else you are expending energy that would be better used in alignment with your top 5.
Good things for me to think about, and take action on. For me it’s baby steps- My desk area only keep notes on projects that are relevant to my goals (not all of the papers that others have asked me to work with)- I limit the time I spend on projects that aren’t in my top 5, and I don’t worry that I’m not doing everything for everyone- that’s not the point any way.
To read more visit- Forbes article “how to de-clutter your career”