I used to wonder why it was that when I visit well-respected leaders their desks are clear of clutter. In most cases, there are only one or a few folders on their desks. And although scheduling time with them was often somewhat difficult, they never seemed in a frantic rush to get through the meeting and on to other things.
It turns out that effective leaders are very good at two things:
First, they identify the top few things that they must do that day and disregard all the rest. The next day, they do it again. There is no long to-do list — just 1-3 tasks that they will focus on each day. All the other things are pushed aside and abandoned because they don’t make it to the top.
The second thing they do is tackle one task at a time. They do not multi-task. Because they work at a constant pace, tackling one task, then another, they get better results than the leaders who try to multi-task.
As I tell my clients, move one thing forward a mile instead of many things forward an inch.
When you focus on the one most important task, you can have a clutter-free desk. There is no need for the distraction of heaps of papers or files.