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VOL. 126 | NO. 251 | Monday, December 26, 2011

Chris Crouch

Toss ‘Dented Stereos’ Before 2012 Begins

By Chris Crouch

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It is a great time of year for renewals. Thinking of new things to do, new ways to do old things, recommitting to things undone and so forth and so on. As some say this time of year, “Out with the old, in with the new.”

I believe you can easily think up plenty of new things to do. I’ll leave that up to you. I want to focus a bit on the “out with the old” part of the equation. What do you need to get rid of to make room for all the planned newness?

Look around your office or workspace. If you pause for a moment and think about the individual things you observe, each item in your office probably evokes one or more of the following emotions: joy, sadness, anger or anxiety. Before the end of the year, if at all possible, consider getting rid of anything that evokes sadness, anger or anxiety.

Years ago I read a story about a woman who owned a dented stereo. The dented stereo was located in a prominent place in her apartment. It was extremely difficult for her to not notice it. And every time she noticed it, she felt sadness, anger and anxiety. That’s because her ex-boyfriend got angry one night, threw something across the room and hit the stereo, putting a noticeable dent in the left side of it.

As it turned out, this particular temper tantrum was the last straw in a series of events that led her to the conclusion that she was in a toxic relationship. She decided that night to end her long-standing relationship with the guy who dented her stereo. It was the right thing to do, but it was not an easy thing to do. She got rid of the guy and began to move on with her life – except for one small item: the dented stereo.

Every time she saw the dent in the left side of the stereo, it dredged up negative memories related to the former toxic relationship and breakup. Finally, she decided to discard the old, dented, negative-memory-generating stereo and buy a new one. She was pleasantly surprised by how this seemingly small decision and act made such a significant difference in how she felt about her living space.

It may seem like a little thing to you, but most people’s workspaces are littered with energy-draining, sadness-anger-anxiety-evoking items: binders and old papers related to long-abandoned projects, unread books and brochures that will never be read, equipment that no longer works, things that trigger negative emotions.

Why not use this time of year as an excuse to launch an “out with the old” project? Take an hour or so to get rid of unneeded things that take up space and drain your energy. Put the “new” and “happy” in your Happy New Year.

Chris Crouch is CEO of DME Training and Consulting and author of several books on improving productivity. Contact him through www.dmetraining.com.

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