We’ve been extolling the virtues of David Allen’s GTD® system for years, devoting an entire chapter to it in our e-book, Legal Productivity. However, one of the ingredients in the GTD system that we haven’t mentioned even once is Dumpster Day.
Dumpster Day is exactly what you might suspect (unless you’re confusing it with Dumpster Diving, a uniquely disgusting American tradition where high school kids get obtain amounts of donuts from a Dunkin Donuts dumpster). It’s a day dedicated to cleaning out the office, and it’s a perfect way for lawyers to manage and clear out their piles of court documents.
Allen writes in Getting Things Done:
Employees get to come to work in sneakers and jeans, put their phones on do-not-disturb, and get current with their stored stuff.
Clutter has a huge affect on mood. According to Gretchin Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, “One of the most striking things I’ve discovered since starting my happiness project is the influence of clutter on mood. For most people, outer order contributes to inner calm; a messy coat closet, for instance, is clearly a very trivial element in life, yet clearing out that messy coat closet gives a disproportionately large happiness boost.”
So make an event of it. Everyone is encouraged to go through their desks, files, bookshelves, and purge themselves of stuff they don’t need anymore. If there’s any doubt, toss it. Do you really need the lanyard from the convention you went to in aught five? How about the book on Internet marketing you haven’t cracked once?
For books, old electronics, and other items that might have value to someone else, it helps to set up a banquet table where employees can discard those items and potentially find something that they might need.
As we head into the renewal period, as well as the slow end-of-the-year business period, shed some office crud. And get your whole staff to join in.