Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Quit Your Job at Least Once a Year

I have a friend who quits his job once a year.  Not literally, but once a year he comes in on a weekend and cleans up his office as if he's leaving it forever.  He knows if he did it when the team was in the office he'd spend more time answering questions than cleaning up.

He imagines what it would be like for his successor to go through old files, and gets rid of the ones that he hasn't touched in a year and probably will never need to look at again; stuff that jusn't essential.  This isn't sensitive material, more like flyers and convention handouts, expired projects and old reports.

He organizes his current files and projects with summaries using the "hit by a bus" method.  You know the one.  If I was hit by a bus today, could someone step right in and take over?  The side benefit is he sometimes discovers files he's neglected, and has booked new business by reaching out to old customers accidentally forgotten.

He goes through his off-line and deletes the non-essential photos and files that he once thought were important enough to save.  His every year is organized off-line and he dumps the third year file, keeping two years and the current one.  This year, 2012, he deleted 2009; again, non-essential stuff only.  I think IT should send him a medal just for clearing up space on the company server.

Finally, he tidies up the junk and pictures and giveaways on his desk and credenza, and begins on Monday as if he was walking into the office for the first time, and every year he gets better at keeping it uncluttered.

Of all the time managment tips and tricks I have learned over the years, this one seems the most practical.  And if the day ever comes that he has to leave, he's got a lot less packing to do before he goes.

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