3 Ways to Pay Attention by Tidying Up this Spring

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Ever hear you mum or dad say ‘tidy your room!’ I did. Growing up, my little sister and I shared a room and yet we didn’t share the same idea of what ‘tidy’ meant. It may not surprise you that I liked to label things, color code and designate specific containers for Barbie doll clothes and toys (I can hear you laughing). To me tidy equals clarity.

I love choices. I love the freedom to choose (which might explain my shoe collection but that’s another topic for another blog)!

Ever feel like clutter distracts and overwhelms you? Does it prevent you from making the clearest, best choices?

The best leaders know attention pays. We need to pay attention to what matters so we can create more significant moments for our clients, our teams and our family.

“We need to pay attention to what matters so we can create more significant moments for our clients, our teams and our family.”

In order for you to make the best choices, you must pay attention to what matters most in your surroundings. This may result in a need for you to tidy up your space to eliminate distractions and enable you to make quicker decisions. One tool I love for handling distractions is the app Freedom for my computer and iPhone (it’s a site blocking app and it’s genius), click here for more details.

According to a Newsweek report, the average American spends a year of their life looking for misplaced items… A YEAR! No, thank you! The distractions that come with clutter challenge our ability to be productive and remain calm.

I’m a fan of Marie Kondo book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (you can watch our book review video here). Her philosophy is simple; hold each item and ask yourself ‘Does this spark joy?’ – her follow up book Spark Joy, is a brilliant sequel.

Here are 3 ways to tidy up and improve your ability to pay attention:

  1. Notice everything – look at your desk as you read this… does it show you are in control? Is it a true reflection of your knowledge? Is it important to you? If not, now’s the perfect time for a quick 15-minute spring to eliminate unnecessary distractions. Notice your calendar. Do the meetings have clear purpose? Are they productive? Do they positively achieve the goals set? If the answer is no, perhaps it’s time to tidy up your schedule. Free time to accomplish tasks and reevaluate the purpose of your committed meetings.
  2. Give everything a place – invest time to allocate space for the things that are important. After applying Kondo’s strategies, everything should have a designated space making it quicker to find and utilize in accomplishing tasks. It’s a simple strategy with a big impact.  Do your team members have a place on your calendar to regularly chat about their development, projects and client challenges? If not, choose a date and time on your calendar to devote to team development.
  3. Create calm – Organizing your work space and your calendar will create calm for you and your team. When everything has a place we don’t waste time and energy trying to find things. If everyone knows the mission or objective of the team they are less likely to get stressed not knowing what to work on next. The productiveness created by a tidy space and the routine that compliments it creates clarity and peace necessary for success.

Think about what is distracting you right now? If it’s clutter, tidy up. If it’s an unfinished conversation, schedule it. If it’s an overdue thank you, say it.

With the arrival of spring (for my US readers), it is the perfect time to eliminate what you don’t need, clear clutter and tidy up. Schedule a pick up by your favorite charity to donate items others could benefit from using. Start today. Spring Clean. Remember Attention Pays.

Love to hear your ideas below of how you manage to tidy up and pay attention to what matters.


This week’s post was brought to you by Neen James. Neen James MBA CSP is a high-energy Aussie with a lot of sass. She is an attention expert, keynote speaker, and lover of fabulous shoes. She delivers engaging programs that educate, and entertain audiences with real-world strategies that apply at work and home. The author of Folding Time™ and her latest book Attention™, she believes leaders profit by paying attention. Find out more at www.neenjames.com

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