Ruthless paperwork is the route to a clean desk. It’s a problem of small-scale decision-making, every piece of paper requires a decision and a final destination. Too often, papers fall prey to the procrastination syndrome: I’ll think about it tomorrow.
Ideally, mail and paperwork should be attended to for a few minutes every day. If the amount is small, three times a week may do. You don’t want papers to build up to the point where you look at it and you get discouraged. The easiest way to avoid that is to keep up to date.
Files can be kept in open piles on a desk or in folders, according to your style. If a clean visual environment is important to you, use boxes and folders as you RAFT. If you prefer a look of activity and busyness, paper piles may be the answer.
If you do keep stuff, keep it in a way so that it doesn’t jam up your life and you can find it again.
Use the RAFT template: refer it, act on it, file it or toss it.
Refer it to the correct person, if you’re not the one to handle it.
File it, if necessary. Eighty percent of filed papers are never looked at again. Make sure you really need it before you keep it.
Toss out anything you no longer need. Don’t keep routine memos or anything that gives you information you already know or have. Record meeting information on your calendar, then toss the memo. We you receive document revisions, toss the orginals.
There are two major league sports teams in Edmonton: the Eskimos of the Canadian Football League and the Oilers of the National Hockey League. In 2005, both teams achieved considerable success in their respective sports. The Eskimos won the Grey Cup and the Oilers took the Stanley Cup series to seven games, before dropping to the Carolina Hurricanes.
The following year, neither team achieved anything of which they could be proud. The Eskimos missed gaining a playoff spot for the first time in 35 years and the Oilers finished tenth overall in their conference.
How is it teams can be so successful one year and go nowhere the next? How is it in life that some people regularly meet and exceed goals, while others have trouble just showing up?
As I look at sports clubs, at all levels, that are consistent winners, or examine highly successful organizations and individuals, I see five traits that are the hallmarks of a champion.
Champions have character. That is, they have defined values, ethics, ethos or standards. Whatever you want to call it, all they do, and how they do all, is driven by the quality of their character.
Champions have a drive to win. They know what they want to achieve and how to create goals to get them there. Even when they don’t win all of the small victories, their focus on the big win carries them forward.
Champions take charge of circumstances. They constantly prepare and hone their skills so they can meet whatever challenges come their way. They also know the importance of developing new skills to be able to handle change.
Champions are even-tempered. In game five of this year’s Detroit – Calgary series, Calgary players showed their frustration by slashing and cross-checking in the final minutes of the game. Goalie Jamie McLennan ended up with a five game suspension for his slash. Needless to say, the Detroit Red Wings moved on to the next round, while the Flames packed and went home. Champions know that the only way to maintain or regain control in a difficult situation is to remain calm and focussed.
Champions do the right things over and over again. A winning football team brings its A-game to the field week after week. The best-selling writer sets time aside each day to write. A successful fundraiser works her prospect list regularly. Champions know achieving success involves consistent execution of their best moves.
We’re all “competing” for different kinds of prizes; the rewards that make our lives meaningful. If you want to have success in reaching your goals, you need to develop the heart of a champion.