THE TOWN 7 Smart Ways to De-Clutter Your Career

By Jessica Sitomer

Ben Affleck plays professional thief Doug MacRay, the brains behind a successful heisting crew. He researches every job down to the details of the clothing people wear. Because of his mind for such detail each job has the potential to be pulled off precisely. There is no room for extraneous actions. There is no need to deviate from his plan.    
How precise is your action when you’re pursuing a job? Is it an exact science of proven strategies? Or do you find yourself doing the same things over and over and not getting the results you want?

If it’s the later, it’s time to do some de-cluttering. Your career is a business. Businesses fail for many reasons. In Doug’s case, it was because people deviated from the plan and things got messy. Businesses don’t thrive in a mess. So if your career is feeling messy or disheveled, here are 7 ways to de-clutter your career:

1.    Update your contact list. Time to go through your contacts with the eye of a business owner. Who are your valuable contacts? By valuable I mean the people who care about and contribute to your success? I give people a goal of 200 contacts because of my successful clients’ proven track number with that number. However, if you’re just keeping contacts on your list for the “number” it’s not an accurate or valuable list. So re-do your contact list so you can have a clear visual of how many people you know who can hire you directly, can connect you with people, or are valuable to you in the way of networking partners or career support. Then evaluate what’s missing so that you can start building relationships that will move you forward.

2.    Evaluate what makes you money and grows your contacts. Make a list of everything YES EVERYTHING you do to get jobs that make you money and to grow your contacts. Once you make the list eliminate the ineffective work. This will most likely be the stuff you do that is in your comfort zone that doesn’t reap the rewards, but makes you feel like you’re doing “something.” You may rationalize it by saying that doing something is better than doing nothing, but if it’s ineffective you may as well use that time for self-care. My reasoning is that I’ve seen too many people do ineffective work to feel good about doing “something” only to feel horrible when they get no results. You’d be better off doing something fun or invigorating for your mind, body, and soul.

3.    Chunk your time. In the same way that you schedule out a chunk of time in your calendar for a job, you can chunk out time for focused work. Start with the hardest tasks, the ones you don’t like to do. If you procrastinate the hard tasks, you get far less done than if you get them over with.

4.    Design a networking plan. Knowing that networking is so important for your career, take the guess work out by researching the most effective places for you to network and then schedule the events in your calendar. Going to networking events for the sake of going is “clutter.” Know why you’re going, who you want to meet, how many people you want to meet, and what you have to do to have a successful event.

5.    Change your workspace. If your work space is not an inspiring place, de-clutter it and make it a place you love to work. The other alternative is finding a new space; a posh hotel with wireless access, a coffee shop, or a friend’s house who has a great view.

6.    Create a follow up calendar. Follow-up is one of the most important ways to maintain relationships. Again, within your chunked batches of focused work time, create a schedule for follow up. Choose a number of people to follow up with per day or per week, but don’t let it go farther than that or it could get messy.

7.  Batch your social media marketing . By now you know how important your social media network is. People get hired based on how many “Friends” and “Followers” they have. A big reason why people get frustrated by social media is because they see it as a “time sucker” which it can be. So batch your posts by using free services such as   

Consider this your pre-fall cleaning. De-cluttering will not only make your job pursuit a smoother process, it will also make you feel good.

And Action!

1. Start with one of the 7 steps.    

2. Add in a step or two each week until you’ve completely de-cluttered.

3. Do something to celebrate the hard work you’ve done!

The Town has a history of robbers who have had successful heists and those who wound up in jail. For our purposes, there are those who make it in this business, and those who don’t. The less clutter and the better your plan, the better your chances of being the one who makes it!