25 Lunch and learn: Clear your inbox, your desk and your head with the ten-minute-tidy

Written by  //  April 23, 2012  //  Daily Juice  //  No comments

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Today’s tip, the ten-minute-tidy, started as a little technique for managing the chaos at home.

The household version is exactly as it sounds – you rush around and tidy for just ten minutes. I got the tip from Inner-B and the snappiness of it appealed to me. I’m not a good tidier – there are always so many other things that I would rather do – but I also hate mess.  The ten-minute-tidy was just the solution I needed: enough time to clear the chaos without eating into the day.

It worked so well that I morphed it into a ten-minute-business-tidy. It keeps me very organised and vaguely sane. So I thought I’d share it with you.

What it is

A ten-minute-business-tidy

Why it works

When I started doing my ten-minute-house-tidy I was amazed at how much I could get done in just ten minutes. And it turns out that while the 600 seconds was long enough time for me to clear away the worst of the mess it was also short and intense enough to keep me from getting distracted.

The ten-minute-business tidy has worked for me in much the same way. But with an added bonus. I get such a clear head from having a  tidy inbox/to-do-list/desk that I am on fire, in a  productive sense, for the rest of the day.

What you do

  1. You can do a ten-minute-business-tidy whenever the mood takes you. I do it as soon as I start to feel distracted by my full inbox/itty bitty to-do list or messy office. I have a high tolerance for ‘muddle’ but can quite suddenly feel the need to urgently address it!

  1. The type of things that lend themselves to the ten-minute-business-tidy are lots of quick jobs. So you might do ten minutes on your email inbox or ten minutes of invoice filing or an office tidy, or a combination of all three. It doesn’t matter what you do as along as it addresses the clutter that’s distracting you from doing good work.

  1. Don’t worry about planning what you are going to do in your ten minutes, the short time-frame focuses your mind and so you tend to get the right stuff done anyway.

  1. Set the alarm on your phone for 10 minutes. Timing the ten-minute-tidy is the most important part of the technique. It makes it a race and which is fun, effective and very energizing.

  1. Once you’ve set your clock, just get going. Don’t let anything distract you. If you come across something that needs a bit of time to deal with, an email for example, put it to one side and do it later. The ten-minute-tidy is about churning through quantity not getting lost in detail!

  1. Stop as soon as your alarm goes off. You might be tempted to carry on, but don’t. Instead, if you feel so-inclined, do another ten-minute-tidy in a few hours time.

That’s it! The life-saving ten-minute-business-tidy.

All that’s left to say is give it a go, it’s really the most fabulous pick-me-up!


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