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Want to stop procrastinating? Start by hitting the “reset” button!

I was chatting with a buddy the other day and he told how he’d recently come back in town and, when he walked into his master closet, a 6’ run of wire shelving had pulled away from wall, leaving a pile of previously ironed shirts, pants, etc. in one big, rumpled mess on the floor.

“I was only in town for a couple of days,” he said, “and I had plenty of other things that had to be done so I figured I’d just deal with it when I got back in town next time.”

Procrastination has a wicked sense of humor …

When he came home again the following week, another run of wire shelving – this one 8’ in length — had pulled away from the wall (you probably know where I’m going with this), leaving a pile of previously ironed shirts, pants, etc. in an even bigger, more rumpled mess on the floor.

“I decided, what the heck, I haven’t done this in 20 years,” he told me, “Truthfully, I knew it needed to be done but I’d been procrastinating forever. So I decided, before I repair the walls and replace the shelving, I’m going through every item of clothing and ask myself three questions” …

  1. Do I still like this?
  2. Have I worn this in the past two years?
  3. Do I realistically expect to wear this again?

A “No” to any of the above moved the item one step closer to drop-off at a thrift store that benefits Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. After two full days of sifting, sorting and stacking, he loaded 324 items (shirts, pants, shoes, belts, ties, suits, sweaters, jackets, even a shirt he distinctly remembers buying at Britches Great Outdoors at Perimeter Mall before a trip to Europe in 1989 – 28 years ago!)

He said it was liberating and inspiring to re-erect the shelving and sort the “keeper” clothing by category, sleeve length, color and pattern. There’s now a full inch of space between each item so no more rumples and wrinkles caused by jamming and cramming hung clothes together. And his new policy to avoid recluttering what he just decluttered: One new item in, one old item out!

This got me thinking (yes, it happens) …

What time is it? It’s reset time!

He decided to stop procrastinating and reset his shelving after sorting through the clutter – keeping what was necessary and discarding the rest. All of us can use a reset from time to time. Whether It’s your desktop, your car, your appearance, your circle of friends, your mind, your career, your office, your garage, your basement, even your master closet, we can all liberate and inspire ourselves when we rearrange what currently is into what we really need and desire, moving forward. This will not only make us more efficient and productive, it elevates our spirits and motivates us to put forth our very best.

In her 2015 book Work-Life Reset, author (and motivational speaker) Fawn Germer writes, “Your computer slows down. Like, waaaaay down. It’s bad. You have no choice but to reboot. Voila! It purrs back to life. All you did was reset, but somehow the computer dumped its baggage, cleaned out its sludge, and is now acting like a new machine.”

The same can be said for you!

In a syndicated column last month, Deb Cabral, known as “The DeClutter Coach” spoke of the effects of clutter on the psyche and your performance. “Physical clutter around you breeds mental clutter. The opposite is also true. When you have mental clutter (feeling overwhelmed, anxious, tired, etc.), it’s almost impossible to think clearly and maintain order in your life.”

Respected publication Psychology Today ran recaps of presentations made at a recent SHRM-sponsored (Society for Human Resources Management) conference in Washington, DC. Addressing the issue of resetting oneself, the article says, “Getting ‘unstuck’ is mostly about doing something different. Just something. Just trying.”

Yeah, but this is the way I’ve always been, you say. “I tend to be a little messy in many areas of my life …”

Well, stop!

I know I just said, “Well, stop!” But what I really meant was, get started!

Today. Now. This moment.

As Lori Greiner of the popular television series Shark Tank (she’s known as “the warm-blooded shark” for her gentler way of saying, “I’m out”) often says, “You can hit the reset button at any age”.

Make an effort today to stop procrastinating by hitting your own reset button. Start with your business life. And what might that look like …? (Some of these tips are obvious and familiar but their timelessness speaks to their effectiveness.)

  • Go paperless and commit to storing all files digitally (with back-up, of course). And while you’re at it, get rid of those digital files you no longer need and clean up your laptop’s desktop.
  • Take everything off your physical desk and polish the surface. Then only put back what you need. Toss or donate what you don’t.
  • Schedule 15 minutes a day to open that two-ton file drawer of yours and weed out those “oh-so-important” past project files that turned out to be “oh-so-not-important” after all.
  • “There’s an app for that!” Check out productivity apps  for your smart devices. They’re great for scheduling, sending audio alerts and email reminders, attaching relevant files, and keeping your mind free of worry and your hands free of bulging manila folders. And there are new ones every day. Test drive ‘em until you find the one(s) you like!

You Cannot Afford to NOT do this!

If you’re going to put forth your best self and work/live at your highest level, you cannot afford to not do this. Admittedly, I’m a bit of an outlier when it comes to organizing my professional and personal life. I absolutely abhor clutter because I know what it does to me. I don’t like to procrastinate, and I do believe in setting daily goals and priorities. (An Uber driver told a friend recently, “I do not go home until I have made 12 trips, no matter what time it is. If I get to 12 in half-a-day, I go home. If it takes me 12 hours to get 12 trips, I work until I make it.”)

And yes, I’m a big believer in to-do lists. Some may see me as a bit OCD (and maybe there’s a tad of truth to that) but it works for me.

I was with my young son in his room last week and I asked him, “Aidan, will you ever wear this t-shirt?” He told me, “No” — so out it went. Lessons like these learned early in life can pay handsome dividends later on at home and in the biz world.

Get a jump on 2018! Toss that tendency to procrastinate by hitting your own reset button today.


The first step in overcoming procrastination is to hit the “Reset” button. Do it today!


P.S. – Hey, what are you waiting for …? Get started!

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