Though spring is traditionally associated with cleaning and refreshing one’s surroundings, doing so during the year-end transition can provide significant advantages. A range of possibilities exist in our physical, digital, and mental spaces to reduce clutter and stress while increasing value and productivity.
While personal obligations may be plentiful due to holiday festivities, shopping, and other related activities, for many, the pace of our professional lives slows during this time. Many non-retail businesses slow down, or even close, for a period at the end of the year. This less-chaotic time provides opportunities to complete tasks that are often neglected during more-hectic periods. The more frequently these tasks are performed, the easier they become. A virtuous cycle is created as the tasks become less intrusive and, therefore, more likely to be accommodated in a busy schedule.
A year-end reset consists of three activity types: cleaning, organizing, and planning. Performing each activity in all of our physical, digital, and mental spaces creates a healthier, more productive environment in which to work and live. If the calendar year and fiscal year do not coincide, it may be appropriate to perform the reset activities at the end of the fiscal year; there is no “bad time” to do so.
The physical spaces in which we live, work, and play often become cluttered and disorganized. Spaces where these parts of our lives intersect are particularly susceptible. Those that have adopted 5S at work often find the method useful at home, as well. It is usually informal, lacking a documented standard, but application of the concepts is evident. [See “Safety. And 5S.” (22Feb2023) for more information.]
An entire home may benefit from a reset, but, typically, a few areas have greater impacts than the rest. If working from home, the home office is an obvious target. The state of one’s kitchen may play a large role; an organized kitchen can reduce the burden of preparing meals, lowering overall stress. A tidy entryway can ensure that car keys and an umbrella are easily located, facilitating a smooth start to the morning commute.
One’s office, workbench, toolbox, garden shed, garage, gym locker, or any other space can benefit from a reset. Physical spaces that are not in fixed locations should also be reset occasionally, such as one’s car, wallet, briefcase, or handbag. Anywhere that physical objects are used or stored are candidates for a reset.
The number of digital spaces we inhabit grows effortlessly. If not careful, we can find ourselves on many email lists and signed in to several online services without even realizing it. This, in addition to all of the legitimate uses for which needs change, is why digital spaces should be reset. Cleaning up one’s digital presence is also an important protection against various types of fraud.
Digital spaces include any device with onboard memory, internet connectivity, WiFi, Bluetooth, or any other communication technology. Also included are any online services, such as email, social media, and streaming services. Applying 5S principles to digital spaces is highly recommended; additional steps are also advised, including:
Mobile devices are prone to acquiring unique collections of clutter. Unneeded photos and videos, obsolete text messages and voicemails, unsupported or unused apps, and other flotsam hinder device performance and user productivity.
One’s mental spaces are the most complex and least influenced by others’ attempts to help. Mental spaces house knowledge, thoughts, beliefs, fears and insecurities, desires and goals – the entire conscious and unconscious mind. Suggested subjects for reflection include:
Some of the activities described overlap. Execution of a year-end reset is quite personal, even in physical spaces; the highly-individualized nature of the activity renders an attempt to provide an exhaustive set of examples futile. Therefore, many examples were eschewed in favor of encouraging readers to explore their own spaces with an open mind. The hope is that a less-prescriptive treatment of the topic leads to better outcomes for individuals than could be predicted or illustrated by examples.
To make suggestions for a more-effective reset, feel free to leave a comment below. For additional guidance or assistance with Operations challenges, leave a comment, contact JayWink Solutions, or schedule an appointment.
Jody W. Phelps, MSc, PMP®, MBA
JayWink Solutions, LLC
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