Jeff Davidson's book, Simpler Living, was Amazon Kindle #1 in its category, first quarter, 2012. Jeff is featured in the NY Times, Forbes, Chicago Tribune, Businessweek, Fortune, Organized Executive, and Success.

Where To Park The Onslaught of New Information

Increasingly, each of us encounters waves of “attention grabbers” — interruptions of all kinds — throughout the day that render our sense of order and control futile. Yet, there are some simple ways to stay in control in spite of the obstacles.

Strip and Win

My stroke of luck was discovering a system that works so well that I now think I couldn’t live without it. When I receive copies of magazines and other seemingly important items in the mail, I strip them down to the essence. I keep the few pages, articles, or ads that are important to me and put them in a folder, which I perpetually keep in my briefcase. This procedure allows me to identify the material to which I will devote my attention, without adding to the items in, on, and around my desk.

Likewise, other materials I wish to examine thoroughly, but don’t want to initiate immediately, go into such a folder. Only in the cases in which something appears to be so critical that it must jump to the top of the pack will I deal with it then and there. By adding to such a folder, and keeping it in my briefcase, I maintain more clear space. I also maintain a sense of control. I allocate some time later in the day or later in the week for going through this folder. It might take 30 minutes, an hour, or a little longer.

Quiet Contemplation

Once I’ve scheduled a time to peruse the material, and do so in a quiet place away from phone, fax and email, I find that my concentration powers are supreme. I am able to go through the folder thoroughly at a much quicker pace than if I tried to do it on the fly while sitting at my desk. (Often, the best place for me to review such materials is on plane trips.) As I review the items, I pare them down further.

Instead of a three-page article, perhaps I only need one key paragraph. Instead of a brochure or flyer listing some offer, perhaps I only need the toll-free 800 number or URL. Many times I simply record the important information in my pocket dictator and end up chucking all the pages. Hence, I become lighter, freer, and able to handle whatever else comes into my office. I have someone else type up everything. Hence, in a single file or two, I have the essence of everything I need to pursue.

Folder #2

I recently have refined my system slightly by adding a second folder. “Aren’t you creating a new pile of stuff to deal with?” Actually, no. The second folder is for the nice but non-essential items that I come across that I would also like to read at more opportune times. These could include the box scores from NBA basketball, an English composition my daughter wrote, or an announcement of an upcoming local event.

By having the two file folders in my brief case and adding to them as the situation merits, I continue to keep my desk and surroundings clear, and I maintain peace of mind. Sitting at a desk, free of clutter, staying in control, and focusing on the task at hand are fabulous ways to maintain a sense of breathing space all day long.

Jeff Davidson is "The Work-Life Balance Expert®," is a preeminent time management authority, has written 65 mainstream books, and is an electrifying professional speaker, making 886 presentations to clients such as Lockheed Martin, Eckerd, Kaiser Permanente, IBM, American Express, Lufthansa, Swissotel, Re/Max, USAA, Worthington Steel, and the World Bank. Jeff is Executive Director of the Breathing Space Institute and the author of books such as:
  • Simpler Living (Skyhorse Publishing)
  • Dial It Down--Live it Up (Sourcebooks)
  • The 60 Second Innovator (Adams Media)
  • Breathing Space (CreateSpace)
  • Accomplishing Your Goals (Smart Guide Publications)
Jeff is the premier thought leader on work-life balance issues and has been widely quoted in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, New York Times, USA Today, Businessweek, Forbes, and Fortune. Cited by Sharing Ideas Magazine as a "Consummate Speaker," Jeff believes that career professionals today in all industries have a responsibility to achieve their own sense of work-life balance, and he supports that quest through his website

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