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CNLP 139: Andrew Mellen On the Surprising Connection Between Clutter, Order and Great Leadership

The average person will spend a year of their life looking for misplaced keys, wallets, documents and other things they can’t find. The average executive spends 6 weeks per YEAR looking for lost documents. (No kidding.)

Andrew Mellen is a professional organizer who says clutter is deferred decisions.

He talks about why being organized matters, and shows you some short cuts on how to cut down on the clutter in your life and in your mind. Strangely, all of this can actually make you a better leader.

Welcome to Episode 139 of the podcast.

Andrew Mellon on the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast

Guest Links

Andrew’s Website

Andrew on Twitter

Unstuff Your Life!: Kick the Clutter Habit and Completely Organize Your Life for Good by Andrew Mellen

Links Mentioned

The High Impact Leader Course is coming back! Learn more and join the waiting list at TheHighImpactLeader.com

TrainedUp.org  *10% discount for life using code CAREY

Ramit Sethi’s website

3 Insights from This Episode

1. Clutter is deferred decisions.

This new perspective on clutter is surprising and convicting. When you put things down, you usually tell yourself that “someday” you’ll deal with them. But you don’t define when someday is and what you are actually planning on doing with them. Andrew says this points back to story… story drives all of your unconscious decisions. It’s the narrative that tells you that you don’t have enough time, or that there’s something more urgent.

How do you push back against these stories? Your values. Your values tell you what’s important to you, and if you don’t keep those values in the forefront of your mind… you’ll be tripped up by the story of urgency and never get to the stuff that actually matters.

2. Lack of clutter brings forth rest.

There’s a real correlation between a clear space and a clear mind. When your physical environment is chaotic it’s hard to rest and feel like you can relax. Clutter tells you that there is more tasks to complete and more decisions to be made.

But we weren’t created to only accomplish tasks. It’s okay to read a book for fun or do something else that you enjoy. Clutter doesn’t allow us to relax and clear our minds, because our physical environment isn’t relaxed or clear.

3. One home for everything. Like with like. Something in, something out.

Andrew’s rules for getting started on your clutter.

One Home for Everything: Every item needs a defined home. Just one. This means that at any given moment, any object can only be one of two places, being used or in it’s home. Decide the one home for your keys. It’s not your counter or nightstand or bag.. choose one place. Can you imagine a life where you are never late again because you were stuck looking for your keys?

Like with Like: If you put like with like… all similar objects, such as putting all cooking utensils together, you’ve cured most of your disorganization issue. Group similar items together and store them together. Grouping like things together also helps you identify the items that don’t go with anything and tend to float around. You can give it a defined home, too.

Something in, Something out: You have to assess your personal wants and your space. Then, decide on your “number” for how many items you can have. For example: “I need 20 pairs of shoes, my closet can comfortably hold 20 pairs of shoes, so that’s the highest number of shoes I will own.”

Then, when you buy a new pair of shoes and you’re at your limit, donate or discard a pair. You might have the space and desire for 5 pairs of shoes, or 75. It’s not about minimalism, there’s no right or wrong number. It’s about finding the right, clutter-free quantity of items for you and your space.

Quotes from This Episode

[Tweet “The average executive spends 6 weeks a year looking for lost documents.”@andrewjmellen]

Become a High Impact Leader

High Impact Leader

I don’t know where you’re at, but my heart is for every leader to get out of the trap of being busy but not productive, of working long hours but producing less than hoped for.

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Next Episode: Tony Morgan

Tony Morgan has helped over 200 churches in the last 8 years, and has observed that most churches go through predictable patterns in its life-cyle. Combining the insights of Les McKeown (Episode 112) and others, Tony has identified 7 specific stages in the life-cycle of a church and shows you where you need to be, and how to get there.

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 140.

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