What you can learn about running your business from…George Clooney!

I should probably stop writing about devastatingly handsome men! It’s highlighting my competition and people will start to wonder what I’ve been up to – first Mourinho, now George Clooney! 🙂

I’m not talking about George the man – I’ve not yet had the pleasure of meeting him (although there’s still plenty of time!!), I’m talking about his character in the fabulous and thought-provoking film Up In The Air which I’m sure you’ll be able to stream from your platform of choice 🙂 Released in 2009, it was absolutely perfectly timed as the reality of the global recession was kicking in.

Clooney plays Ryan Bingham, a charming (of course) and laid-back professional who works as a motivational speaker and ‘downsizer’ – what a horrible corporate word! I hate corporatespeak – I can feel another article brewing!!

Anyway, when he’s not flying across America firing people whose bosses are too cowardly to do it themselves, he gives inspirational speeches to business leaders. The film opens with a room full of expectant delegates waiting to hear Ryan’s pearls of wisdom. He doesn’t rush in or start speaking too quickly, he ambles in and builds a sense of real anticipation. Star quality.

Without saying a word, he plonks a backpack on the table next to him, and says: 

“How much does your life weigh? Imagine for a second that you’re carrying a backpack. I want you to feel the straps on your shoulders. Feel ’em? Now I want you to pack it with all the stuff that you have in your life. You start with the little things. The things on shelves and in drawers, the knick-knacks, the collectibles. Feel the weight as that adds up. Then you start adding larger stuff, clothes, table-top appliances, lamps, linens, your TV.

“The backpack should be getting pretty heavy now. And you go bigger. Your couch, bed, your kitchen table. Stuff it all in there. Your car, get it in there. Your home, whether it’s a studio apartment or a two bedroom house. I want you to stuff it all into that backpack. Now try to walk. It’s kind of hard, isn’t it? This is what we do to ourselves on a daily basis. We weigh ourselves down until we can’t even move. And make no mistake, moving is living.”

I bloody love this! In a normal, busy day, we don’t take enough time for even a split second to think about our responsibilities – our backpack that we carry round with us constantly. Inspired by this, I’m going to imagine that George had to be whisked away mid-speech (probably to star in a coffee ad) and I’ve stepped in. Here are my 5 tips for lightening your load and improving your performance as a result…

1 Lighten the load physically – not just mentally

It amazes me when people turn up at business meetings juggling a coffee, a can of Coke, a sandwich, a bulky laptop, headphones, notepad, jacket and God knows what else. How the hell can you expect to be efficient, organised and professional and make the right impression if you’re carrying all that around? Only take the bare minimum that you absolutely need. 

2 Go miniature!

Following on from the first point, one of the great things about being in business now is being able to carry round cool miniature versions of things! Your phone replaces a massive laptop, use cordless headphones – there’s no need to be carrying around half an office! You will feel better about yourself, less burdened with ‘stuff’ and much more efficient when it comes to business.

3 Declutter

Clear the area around your main workspace. I remember when offices were mostly piled high with paperwork – a Feng Shui nightmare! Now we’ve all gone digital there’s no excuse for masses of paperwork, clutter and junk which can make you feel trapped and stressed as a result.

4 Take a screen break

Modern life often requires us to literally be staring at screens from when you wake up to when you go to sleep. Even when people leave the office, they spend their evenings staring at their mobiles in front of the TV! Yes, you need to be contactable, but you can still take a break. Change your environment and go for a quick walk outside – even when you’re on the phone you will feel refreshed.

5 Compartmentalise!

You’ll never get anywhere if your mind is in a million different places at once, constantly sifting through your mental backpack. Only take with you what you need – both mentally and literally – and you’ll be in a much better place to succeed!

So start now! Take a look around at your workspace, wherever you are, and dive into your version of Ryan’s backpack. It will take you less than five minutes to declutter and reorganise by chucking out things you don’t need. You’ll feel better and be much more productive as a result! Let me know how you get on, and add some suggestions of your own in the comments 🙂

Share this!
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email
Share on pinterest
Share on whatsapp

Leave a Reply