As of recently, I have been trying to practice minimalism in both my career and life in general. It’s amazing how many extraneous things we own or tasks we do that are not necessary and are not helping us move closer to our goals.
With the idea of minimalism in mind, I took some time over the holidays to go through my belongings and put many of them into give-away bags. In this post I’d like to tell you about the experience I had cleaning out my bedroom closet and how I believe it can help us to be more focused in our engineering careers.
One day, just recently, I took a good hour or so and went through my entire bedroom closet, and for each piece of clothing I did two things. First, I tried the piece of clothing on to see if it fit. If it didn’t, I put it in the give-away bag, but if it did fit, I went on to the second step of the process and asked myself, “How often am I really going to wear this?” If the answer was, once per year, twice per year, or never, I put it in the give-away bag.
At the end of this process, a few things happened:
- I had a lot less clothes in my closet and a lot more space.
- I found nice clothes that fit, that I didn’t realize I had!
- The feeling of being de-cluttered and having only clothes that I was actually going to wear in my closet was amazing! It literally makes the whole process of getting dressed and ready in the morning so much less stressful because you know that every option is a good option.
Then I thought to myself, how can I implement this approach in my career/workplace to achieve some of the same results and I came up with the following. I can:
- Sift through all of my junk e-mails and instead of filtering them, unsubscribe from many of the lists;
- Eliminate papers and go 100% green to eliminate clutter in the office and the mind.
- Go through my bookshelf of hundreds of engineering design guides and textbooks, and personal development books and give away many of them that I will never read again to a local library.
- Go through my desk drawer and recycle the boxes of staples, paper clips and other extraneous office supplies that I probably wouldn’t get around to using until about 5 years from now. Instead, keep only a small supply of these items on hand.
- Reflect upon my to-do list and/or goals for 2013 and eliminate a handful of them (or put them aside for now) in an effort to focus more on less.
These are just a few of the things that I came up with (and have started to do) in order to achieve those 3 results that I listed above, and I can honestly tell you they have made a HUGE difference. HUGE.
So this post, which began as a short story about me cleaning out my bedroom closet, hopefully will inspire you to clean out your closet, desk, office, bookshelf; but most importantly to de-clutter your mind.
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To Your Success,
Anthony Fasano, P.E., LEED AP, ACC
Powerful Purpose Associates – Home of the Institute for Engineering Career Development