There’s only so much time in our days. This really became clear to me when I read Julie Morgenstern’s classic, Time Management from the Inside Out. In it she compares time to space, like a room or closet; it’s limited and you can only cram so much in there. Another recently published book, which I haven’t even read yet, has brought this to mind again: Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals. A lifetime of 80 years seems reasonably long. When you break that span into weeks, it somehow seems dismally short. But that’s not Burkeman’s point, apparently. He wants to flip the concept of productivity on its head and rather than provoke anxiety, he’d rather compel us to recognize the gift of having it at all. It’s a matter of perspective.

So rather than focusing on being crazy productive, a mindset shift may be in order. Instead of being more efficient, how about getting rid of the stuff that’s unnecessary in our days and life? So much could be said (and has been) about methods behind minimizing, leading more purposeful lives, making the most of time, etc. But it really comes down to three simple steps for decluttering your closet of time:

  1. Identify the clutter. What are the ratty pillows and puffy jackets in the closet of your day/life? Identify them and call them out. Put them in a pile, in the form of a list.
  2. Purge the clutter. Can these bothersome things be deferred to another time, delegated to someone else, or just plain deleted from your list?
  3. Preserve the space. Create boundaries to save the time you’ve opened up. Fill it with more meaningful, important or urgent activities and tasks. Schedule the frivolous stuff you still want to do, so it doesn’t spill out and take up more time in your day than you want it to.

For this and other mindset shifts, you might consider coaching as a way to gain new awareness and understanding about making the most of YOUR four thousand week closet.