The Importance of Getting Clutter Out of Your Vision

clear mental clutter

Last year the New York Times ran an article about a research study that explored the links between procrastination and household clutter. The study, by Dr. Joseph Ferrari of DePaul University, found that a more cluttered space at home leads to more stress and lower satisfaction with life.

The physical clutter in our lives gets in the way of our thinking and, when it’s really bad, can make doing our work more difficult. The same is true of the clutter in our heads. 

You can’t do everything well.

Some kinds of mental clutter are easier to overcome than others. An earworm of your kid’s favorite Sponge Bob song can be annoying (though there are tricks for getting rid of those). Biases for or against certain things can get in the way of our effectiveness at work and at home. With effort, even long-term habits can be overcome.

There’s another kind of clutter that Visionaries are especially vulnerable to: wanting to do a little bit of everything. A Visionary is someone who not only comes up with ideas on their own, they also take good ideas from others. Between invention and learning, the Visionary can be awash in exciting—and distracting—plans.

No company can implement every idea and still be successful. We’re all familiar with how multitasking can mean doing everything badly. A business that tries to go in all directions at once probably won’t be competitive, its employees won’t be satisfied, and things will start to fall apart.

The Entrepreneurial Operating System is designed to help Visionaries and their teams eliminate the clutter that is slowing down their progress. We get there by getting the house in order and establishing a framework to keep it that way.

Put the clutter on the table. 

The EOS® Vision Building™ process begins with a brainstorming session for a reason. Every business’s leadership team has a bunch of ideas about the company’s identity and long-term trajectory. Especially at the long-range end, people who have worked together for years can have wildly different conceptions of where the company is going.

By bringing everyone’s ideas into the light of day, the team can identify what matters most. What is the company’s true core competency? How can it be best turned into a sustainable source of revenue? If a new path needs to be explored, which one is the best fit for the team’s shared vision? Once everyone agrees to set their sights on a few clearly defined goals, it can set aside the clutter and get to work.

Put the clutter in check.

Vision Building is great for getting a bunch of clutter out of the way all at once, but it isn’t an exercise businesses repeat often. Even with an agreed-upon shared vision, the Visionary is still going to explore new ideas and will want to follow strange paths. 

That’s where the Integrator comes in. Every Integrator is responsible for ensuring the company is properly implementing the Visionary’s ideas. But in a healthy Visionary and Integrator™ relationship, the Integrator is also there to bring out the dustpan when the Visionary’s thinking starts to get cluttered.

One Visionary-Integrator pair I work with has just that sort of dynamic. The company’s Visionary keeps a close eye on the competition. “When I see someone take a new approach, I want to start doing it that way,” she told me. If she could follow every whim, she’d drive her team crazy as they went from project to project without a clear sense of where everything was going to end up.

Their Integrator is the key to keeping things organized. “My main job is to keep my boss on task,” he told me. Of course, he does a lot more than just tell the Visionary she can’t follow her dreams. But he also serves as a balance to her big ideas, helping her to filter them through the practical realities of the business. The result is a strong company.

EOS sets your business free.

Implementing EOS is all about establishing a framework for making decisions, solving problems, and holding each other accountable. With the framework in place, many of the distractions that used to derail the business simply don’t hold your attention anymore. That’s the power of an uncluttered process.

Do you sometimes feel like the clutter in your head is getting in the way of your business success? I’d love to chat about it. Send me an email or give me a call. Let’s talk about how EOS can clear your mind.