How to Declutter Every Aspect of Your Work Life | Scott Sonenshein on The Art of Manliness Podcast with Brett McKay

Check out the Art of Manliness Episode Page and Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • Having physical clutter around us increases cortisol levels and makes us moody
  • “People who are tidier are viewed by others as more intelligent, harder working, and also kinder” – Scott Soneshein
  • When it comes to removing work-related physical items, ask yourself:
    • Is this item necessary for my job?
    • Is this helpful for my future?
    • Does it spark joy?
      • “If you answer yes to any of those three questions then an item is worth keeping” – Scott Sonenshein
  • “You don’t want your inbox to get bigger than what you can scroll on the screen because that creates visual cues of overwhelmingness” Scott Sonenshein
  • “Only have apps on your phone that are again are necessary, helpful for that joyful future, or spark joy”Scott Sonenshein
    • Silence and turn off notifications so you’re in control of what you want to do instead of your phone controlling you
  • “When you say no to things, you’re making space to say yes to things that matter more” Scott Sonenshein
  • “Focus on the higher-stakes decisions that are going to be the most impactful and try to either eliminate, outsource, or delegate decisions that have lower-stakes” Scott Sonenshein 

Intro

Books Mentioned

Working With Maria Kondo

Reasons To Tidy Up  

  • 90% of Americans believe that physical clutter harms them
    • Having physical clutter around us increases cortisol levels and makes us moody
  • When we clean up our clutter, we feel that we have more control over our lives
    • We’re also more productive because we aren’t wasting our time looking for things
  • “People who are tidier are viewed by others as more intelligent, harder working, and also kinder” – Scott Sonenshein
  • Clutter can be a form of procrastination (having too many meetings, things to do on our calendar, etc.)

Organizing Your Physical Life

  • Things you can tidy up in your workspace: books, paperwork, office supplies, electronic devices, cords, product samples, personal care items, food, etc.
  • If you’re having trouble getting rid of a sentimental item, like a child’s painting, one study showed that taking a picture of it will make the removal process easier
    • “Taking a picture of that sentimental item tends to give yourself permission to discard the physical item when it no longer sparks joy for you” – Scott Sonenshein
  • When it comes to removing personal physical items, ask yourself, does this spark joy or not?
  • When it comes to removing work-related physical items, ask yourself:
    • Is this item necessary for my job?
    • Is this helpful for my joyful future?
    • Does it spark joy?
      • “If you answer yes to any of those three questions then an item is worth keeping” – Scott Sonenshein
  • Most paperwork can be digitized, shredded, or discarded

Organizing Your Digital Life

  • Since digital storage space is almost endless, it’s tempting to keep everything
    • However, that clutter creates downstream effects (like finding the photos you need)
  • Try to not have more than 10 folders in your email
  • Scott sticks to 3 email folders:
    • Current Projects
    • Saved Work
    • Records 
      • “I think people need to be less afraid to delete messages that they’re no longer going to use” – Scott Sonenshein
        • Think of your email as your desk, it’s not a space to archive all of your work. Keep only what’s necessary.
  • “You don’t want your inbox to get bigger than what you can scroll on the screen because that creates visual cues of overwhelmingness” Scott Sonenshein
    • It doesn’t have to be zero but keep it limited
    • Try to batch your email uses
    • Unsubscribe from email lists that you haven’t used in a while
  • People are very resistant to change, even when introduced with a more productive system
  • Also, try to declutter your smartphone screen
    • “Only have apps on your phone that are again are necessary, helpful for that joyful future, or spark joy”Scott Sonenshein
      • Silence and turn off notifications so you’re in control of what you want to do instead of your phone controlling you

Additional Notes

  • Be careful of activity clutter (having too many events or activities)
    • You may be using it as a way of procrastinating on your most important work
  • To find out how you’re spending your time, make a task-pile: A list of tasks you’ve done throughout the week
  • “When you say no to things, you’re making space to say yes to things that matter more” Scott Sonenshein
  • “Focus on the higher-stakes decisions that are going to be the most impactful and try to either eliminate, outsource, or delegate decisions that have lower-stakes” Scott Sonenshein 
  • If you want to build a connection you have to be genuinely interested in people and help them
  • If you get asked to join a meeting, make sure the organizer has an agenda. If they don’t, politely suggest they send out an agenda so everyone knows what needs to be accomplished.
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Notes By Alex Wiec

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