Reduce Forgetfulness by Reducing Clutter by Barbara Hemphill

By admin
In Women
Jan 18th, 2014

Note from Meggin:  Barbara Hemphill was the first person I started really learning from about productivity – and I’ve continued to learn from her for many years.  She was gracious enough to let me share these 15 tips with you (so our regular TTPT + 5 as a bonus!)

Since forgetfulness often comes from clutter (of all kinds), take these tips to heart.

Here are five tips for eliminating physical clutter:

  1. Place an easily accessible “Give Away” box on each level of your home or office.
  2. Continually ask yourself, “What is the worst possible thing that would happen if I didn’t have this?” If you can live with your answer, put it in the “Give Away”.
  3. Encourage those around you to do the same!
  4. As soon as the box is full, take it to the nearest donation center.
  5. Continue the process — indefinitely — since new “stuff” is coming in constantly. You’ll be blessed and so will the recipient of what you don’t need.

Here are three tips for eliminating mental clutter:

  1. Use 3×5 index cards for writing reminders. (They’re cheaper than sticky notes and easier to process!)
  2. Keep index cards in handy places like your car, your briefcase, the bedside table, beside your chair in the family room or wherever you might think of something you need or want to do.
  3. Every time you think of something you should or want to do, write it down  – one item per card, so you can easily put the reminder where you need it – e.g., your calendar, your shopping list, give to your spouse, etc.

Finally, here are five tips for staying focused on what really matters to you:

  1. Before you leave work, or go to bed at night, identify the three most important things to accomplish the next day.
  2. Implement a system to record those three things – for example, a reminder in your calendar, a note on your mirror, or a file in the middle of your desk.
  3. Complete at least one item BEFORE you open your e-mail! If you can accomplish all three, even better!
  4. Implement a system to remind you to return to your priorities whenever you get sidetracked.
  5. At the end of the day, express gratitude for what you have accomplished!

2 bonus tips for when you’re working on projects:

  1. Whenever you are overwhelmed with a big project or decision, ask yourself “What is the NEXT action I need to take?” Do that, and then ask the same questions again — and again — and again!
  2. If you are still “stuck,” remember that seeking help is a sign of wisdom, and ask yourself “Who can help me?”

© Barbara Hemphill

Barbara Hemphill, often referred to as the Paper Tiger Lady, is the founder of the Productive Environment Institute, located in Raleigh, NC and author of Kiplinger’s Taming the Paper Tiger series and co-author of Bushido Business. For more information about speaking and consulting services and her “Almost Paperless” program, go to

De-clutter & De-stressAnd if you’d like more ideas to help you find balance you will want to access the Get a Plan! Guide® to De-clutter & De-stress: A Dozen Ways to Decrease Your Clutter and Decrease Your Stress. This Get a Plan! Guide® will help you learn a dozen specific ways to start dealing deliberately with your clutter – and then experiencing a reduction in your stress.