One small business owner I know is in a funk. He is having a hard time getting motivated. His stress levels are high, and he’s lost the excitement he once felt about his business. Has this ever happened to you? When you are feeling bogged down and uninspired, it normally means there is some clutter in your business that needs to be swept away.
Clutter comes in so many forms, but it all has the same effect – it takes up valuable space for creativity. It thwarts business growth because like attracts like. In other words, clutter attracts more clutter. If you want to experience a burst in your business, your energy and your resourcefulness, then you must start clearing space by eliminating clutter.
Here is a step-by-step guide to have a clutter-free business.
Declutter your Schedule
To start the process of decluttering, you will need to clear space in your schedule to dedicate some time to it. Set aside four hours per week to focus on clearing out all the disorganization and energy drains. If you can’t find four hours in your schedule, then it’s time to take a serious look at how you are managing your time. What meetings can you cut out or cut down? What tasks can you delegate to someone else? What time wasters do you need to eliminate? Decluttering your schedule will enable you to take the next step.
Declutter your Space
Look around the space you are working in – your office, your vehicle and maybe your home. Is it nurturing you? Can you find what you are looking for? If not, it’s time to clean up. Having an organized space boosts your productivity, inspires trust with people you work with, and opens your imagination for new ideas. Create a visual of how you want your space to look. Take into consideration the flow of your workday. Keep “stuff” to a minimum and enclose as much as possible in files, storage cabinets or on your computer.
Declutter your Files
Speaking of files, when was the last time you cleaned out your filing cabinets? After taking the time to clean out my personal files, I decided it was time to go completely digital with my work files. Paperwork has a way of growing into monstrous piles. Since putting all my notes, documents, and to do lists in OneNote, I have everything in one organized place. Pick some type of filing system that works for you so you can find everything you need when you need it.
Declutter your Email
One prospect I spoke with was looking for a virtual assistant to organize and manage his emails. On a videoconference, he showed me his email software and I was completely overwhelmed with the thought of sorting through the 3000+ emails on his computer. And truth be told, he was distressed as well. To get your email life in order, start with setting up folders and get in the habit of storing new emails in the folders as they come in. Then dedicate some time to organizing the older emails. You can sort by date and file everything older then 6 months – 1 year in an archives folder. You can sort by email name and file everything by name. While you are sorting through what should be saved, do a bulk dump of all junk and promotional emails. You might not think that email needs to be decluttered, but every time you open email your brain is trying to sort through what it sees.
Declutter your Finances
Finances are a stressful topic for many small business owners. And managing finances is probably one of the tasks that is most avoided. Staying on top of your finances is crucial to business growth. It gives you a hard look at the numbers. What are your sales for the year? Is your business profitable? How much money are you earning? What are your expenses? Unless your finances are up to date daily, it is difficult to make appropriate financial decisions for your business. Get your business on financial software that enables you to easily and seamlessly manage your business finances. Hire a bookkeeper or virtual assistant with bookkeeping experience to keep everything organized for you.
Declutter your Customer Base
Chances are you have customers you absolutely love to work with. And then there are probably a few that completely drain your energy. You probably have prospects sitting in your CRM software that you haven’t touched, or may never turn into real clients. One of the beauties of owning your own business is you get to choose who you are going to work with. Take an honest look at your customer base and identify your ideal client. Start building your list of clients based on these criteria so you can begin weeding out the customers that no longer fit your business vision. Nothing will energize you more than waking up every day excited to serve your customers.
Declutter your Team
What business team would absolutely inspire you to be your best? What types of people will help bring your business to the next level? Your team, or lack of, will have a significant impact on your business success. One of my clients experienced a tremendous amount of stress this year due to inadequate team members. While you cannot function successfully with a team that drags you down, it will also be difficult to fly solo with no support. Make it a goal to find and hire talent that will help you accomplish your business goals.
Declutter your Life
If there is clutter in your life, it will inevitably roll into your business. Personal stressors will distract you and keep you from being fully present. Pay attention to what drags you down and zaps your energy. Is it a marriage that needs work, or a child that could benefit from some much-needed attention? Make time for fun in your social life. Nurture your hobbies. Engage with people who lift you up, make you laugh and challenge you to be your best self. Your business will benefit when you allow your personal life to feed your soul.
Declutter your Health
It takes physical and mental energy to be an entrepreneur. Without your health, you can’t run a business. The stressors of small business ownership will take their toll on you if you aren’t engaged in a healthy lifestyle program. We all know what it takes to tend to our health – adequate sleep, healthy food, and plenty of exercise and relaxation. So, if you aren’t doing this, ask yourself why. What’s standing in the way of making yourself a priority?
Declutter your Mind
The amazing result of decluttering all these other areas is an automatic clearing of the mind. You will be surprised to see how much better you feel mentally when you tend to all the clutter in your life. Decluttering is one of the best antidepressants on the market. The reverse also works as well. When you declutter your mind from all the negative thinking, gossiping, anger and self-destructive habits, you open space to start removing all the junk from your business and life. Engage in a spiritual practice like yoga or meditation, walks in nature, or prayer. Let it all go. My motto for this year is “go with the flow.” What mental phrase will remind you to declutter your mind?
One of the fastest ways to business success is to declutter your business. When you get rid of the old, you make room for the new. When you close doors, new ones will open. Business goals will be accomplished. Creative ideas will flow. Nurturing relationships will flow. Money will be in abundant supply. All will be well in entrepreneurial life.
10 Steps to Decluttering your Business
January 11, 2017