Magic 15 minutes: how simple cleaning clears the way to the goal

Writer and speaker Robin Konye talks about How to Deal with Chaos — Physical, digital, and mental


Photo: jeshoots.com/Unsplash

"I would like to hire you to organize my life»


I turned around and saw my colleague. I was a full-time faculty member at the same university where I received my bachelor's degree. I quickly graduated from graduate school and became a colleague of my former professors, and sometimes it was awkward.


It was one of those moments.


I smiled at the woman who had taught my classes only a few years ago. I admired her-smart, talented, and expert in her field.


She continued, " I just need a little order, you know? I feel like I'm playing catch-up all the time. Will, you help me?"


The offer came out of the blue. I did not have the appropriate certificate, I did not deal with problems of order. And I wasn't looking for an extra job. But she had seen my office and knew about my ability to keep up with everything. She saw the freedom I gained through the order. So I started helping others.


My simple approach has helped people take control of the chaos and find order. After implementing the system, one woman emailed me that she was sleeping better because she was no longer bothered by her Inbox. The owner of an advertising agency, whom I hired for a completely different task, tried my method and shared it with his entire organization.


"It's gold," he said. — Sometimes we missed important deadlines because we didn't have a clear system. And now it seems that everything is so simple."


So if you want to change the way you approach your schedule, business, and life, I'm ready to pull the curtain back on my method of maximizing productivity.


The relationship between performance and clutter


You have goals. Large. Small ones. Secret ones. Loud and cheeky. You dream of doing something meaningful in this world — to benefit and go to the goal.


Unfortunately, in the pursuit of self—improvement, it is easy to make a mess everywhere-in the physical, digital, and mental space. A lot of voices tell us what to do with our time, and we have an accumulation instinct-we try to collect everything that we can and do everything that we can.


And you know what happens next.


The to-do lists are getting longer. A pile of what is "necessary" turns into a huge monster that suppresses. We stop prioritizing things to create the appearance of productivity. We'd rather buy a new fancy shopping cart or download the latest version of the junk app, instead of minimizing the mess.


An organized mess is still a mess, and just because you do a million different things doesn't mean they're all right.



But sorting out the mess is one of the most difficult tasks. First, it creates excessive visual stimuli that can trigger feelings of guilt, anxiety, and depression, leading to procrastination. People can't do anything about disorder because it relaxes, not encourages action.


It's time for a different approach to productivity that saves you the hassle and clears the way forward. So stop browsing apps for better performance. It's time to just get rid of the mess.


All you need is 15 minutes


If there's one thing you need to know about me, it's that I know how to get things done.


Over the past seven years, I have written and self-published six books (including two bestsellers), written more than 400 articles, expanded my online audience to 20 million readers, spoken at conferences and summits, created online programs, launched and successfully sold two companies, and moved six times (including two moves abroad). I am currently running my third business, homeschooling two children, and leading a balanced life full of fun, work, and play.


And I do all this without hiring a maid or a nanny and without working after 17: 00.


I'm not sharing this to show off. Ask anyone who knows me: I'm no smarter or more capable than the average person. I tell you this so that you can see what can be achieved by organizing your life and freeing up space for your goals.


And the best part is that you don't have to take my word for it. You can test this method by setting aside just 15 minutes each day.


Wait a week and you'll see the magic happen.


The 15-minute method for getting rid of clutter


This system is annoyingly simple because it has only two points.


First, select a space


If your home, mailbox, or desktop is overflowing with a pile of laundry, emails, or random files, you'll be overwhelmed. And a suppressed mind cannot work productively.


So choose where you want to start. Think about the things that most affect your emotional health or productivity, and start with them.


Next, set the timer for 15 minutes and get to work


See? It's as simple as that.


The main thing is not to get hung up on the process. Follow this step-by-step diagram as a guide for your daily 15 minutes of work.


For physical rooms (toilets, bedrooms, tables, etc.)


Step 1. Sort

Take two boxes, write "leave" on one and "throwaway" on the other. Then start sorting things into one of these two piles.


If you haven't used something for a year if it's broken or you don't like/need it: send it to the second mailbox.


Rare exceptions are allowed for important family heirlooms or items you want to pass on. But don't cling to every little thing just because "a memory is associated with it." You can always take a picture as a keepsake, but don't drown out future memories because you hold on to the past too tightly.


Step 2. Discard

Take care of the "Throw Away" box by sorting the items from it into one of the four new piles:


  • Dispose of or adapt for another purpose

  • Give it to charity

  • To sell

  • Throw it away


Step 3. Repeat

Repeat step 2 until the entire Discard pile disappears, and then follow the steps necessary to say goodbye to these items forever.


Step 4. Organize

Find a suitable place for everything in your Save stack, 15 minutes at a time. When you are done, move on to another room, starting again from the first step.


For digital spaces (Inbox, desktop, photos, etc.)


Digital clutter doesn't look as disgusting as physical clutter, but it takes an enormous amount of time. The system of archiving important files and simultaneously using the delete or unsubscribe buttons as needed helps you to focus on what is most important.


The process of creating digital clutter is similar to what happens in the physical world. Select one area first. Set the timer for 15 minutes and follow the instructions.


Step 1. Find a place

Create one new folder and name it "Organize". Move everything to it (your mailbox or desktop should now be clean).


A crowded mailbox affects you physically and mentally. Because of it, your body goes into a state of stress, into a "fight or flight" mode. That's why the first step is to make sure that there are no incoming emails left in the mailbox.


Step 2. Set your priorities

Create a new folder in your email provider and name it "Urgent". Add any urgent emails or files to it.


Step 3. Organize them

Spend five to ten minutes responding to urgent messages, and in the remaining time distribute non-urgent messages in archived folders, and delete unnecessary ones.


Step 4. Continue

Repeat step 3 until your Organize folder is empty. When new emails appear, either reply to them immediately or move them to the appropriate folder.


Note on file organization



Think about how your mind extracts memories or information from your memory. Do you think in terms of dates? Events? People? Use this information to select the most appropriate system.


You can organize by:


  • Date (suitable for photos, purchases, etc.)

  • Events

  • Location

  • Secondary people, topics, projects, services, purchases, etc.

  • Places of work


While working, follow these tips to achieve success:


  • Put your 15 minutes on the schedule and stick to it. Don't worry if you don't have time to finish, it's an ongoing process.

  • Rely on 15 minutes and don't think you need to do more. The key is to do a little, but often. This will pay off over time, so don't fall into the all-or-nothing trap.

  • Pay attention to the domino effect. Be attentive to any changes that will appear after removing the clutter and focusing on the main thing. That's where the magic happens.


Consider your tendency to mess up


To achieve more, you need to say "no" to the unimportant. For some, this is difficult. It's natural to hold on to things. But habits come with practice, so find one thing you can say no to today.


If you constantly make room in your home, in your life, and in your mind, you will discover untapped potential and clarity. 15 minutes can change your habits, attitudes, and life. I'm excited to see what changes these 15 minutes will bring you.

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