Thoughts on Leadership: Minimize Excess to Maximize Results

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels first found me first in Hawai’i, spending time with my family. Next, I flew home to Northern California for a brief “staycation.” (As you know, I’m a big proponent of balance and adding downtime to your calendar before work; I’ve had this time off scheduled since last year.)

As I recharge and relax, I’ve also used the opportunity to go through certain rooms in my house and throw things away. Believe it or not, it makes me supremely happy to organize … sifting through closets, organizing my garage and cleaning out drawers. It’s incredibly satisfying to get rid of stuff I simply don’t need.

Psychology Today calls this the “clutter effect,” which references how clutter can interrupt your physical ability to move and even more damaging, your mental ability to think. The publication references a collection of recent studies on stress, life satisfaction and health that emphasize the cognitive value of streamlining.

You’ll find, as I did this week, that by throwing things away, you create a more peaceful state of mind. Often, we keep unnecessary things around not because we are attached to the object itself but because we have some emotional tie to what it represents in our minds. But if this is the case, then removing it will be a liberating experience. In fact, decluttering has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, while simultaneously bolstering self-confidence and sharpening decision-making skills.

Getting rid of unnecessary items also helps with time management. If you know exactly where everything is, you’ll more easily be able to navigate your morning routine, ensuring you’re creating positive habits that lead to future success.

(On a practical note, you may also find financial benefits from tidying up; following Gary Vayernchuk’s method of gaining extra money, you could easily sell online or “flip” whatever would normally be thrown away. “We all have a ton of items laying around and with the e-commerce and sales platforms that exist today, these can all be sold faster than ever,” he wrote.)

So, what’s the message? The art of throwing things away or de-cluttering is not just cathartic or financially beneficial, it’s also a great lesson in leadership with parallels to best practices for goal setting. When setting goals, the clearer and more concise you are, the better chance you’ll have to achieve them. Real estate may be location, location, location but goal-setting is clarity, clarity, clarity. And by de-cluttering your home, you’ll be creating a synergy with the now-organized living space you inhabit every day and the cogent, precise and well-defined goals you set out to achieve.

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