Career Coaching: The 3 S Approach: Subtraction

Dec 04, 2020

Eric Papp ’06
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Subtract: Remove/Give Away

Subtraction, like silence, is also counter-intuitive. We are bombarded by the messages that tell us we need to have more, do more, and be more. Adding more projects and activities to our day makes it harder for our real priorities to stand out.

Marie Kondo is a Japanese organizing consultant. She helps people get rid of stuff by asking the question, “Does this bring me joy?”

Imagine how our lives would be different if we started to apply that to our work projects!

And this approach of subtraction is not new. Japanese companies have been applying it for years in manufacturing electronics to automobiles, and the result is a better quality of products. How many Toyotas do you see on the road?

There are two ways to implement this concept. Pick one:

1. Do an inventory of all your projects at work. Decide which three are the most valuable and impactful. Spend more time on them and let the others go.
2. Have an empty box in your house somewhere (closet or garage) and as you discover no use for certain clothes or items, place them in the box. When it is full, donate to a charity.

Music is the space between the notes. Claude Debussy

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