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There comes a time during the year when you just know you are ready to declutter your business. Maybe it’s at the start of a new year, after a particularly busy period, or just because clutter (both mental and physical) is building up and getting you down.
One of the key ways to be more productive is to ensure your working methods are as easy as possible and don’t cause you extra work or stress every time you have to carry out a simple task. What does this mean in the real world? Let’s take the example of your email inbox. Is it filled to the rafters with tasks that need to be done, people you need to reply to, or just spam mail that you haven’t deleted? If so, that needs to change, and that’s only one example.
Let’s look at 8 ways to declutter your business, so that you can be less stressed and get more done every day.
Declutter Your Business – Let’s Get Started
1 Declutter Your Desk and Work Space
This might seem an obvious one but you need to clear out where you work so that everything is easy to find and the space feels calm. If you are struggling to find things, or tripping over mounds of books or paperwork then it’s time for a big clear up. Even if you just have a desk in the corner of the living room, tidy it up and clear out any ‘drawers of doom‘.
To make your life easier going forward set up a system where you can quickly drop necessary paperwork into a hanging file or an A to Z concertina file. You can keep client info, receipts needed for tax season, guarantees for tech, or anything else that’s vital for your business. That way you can always lay your hands on it and won’t have to turn the house or office upside down when you need it urgently.
2 Clear Out Your Inbox
I think there are few things worse than having to wade through a maxed out inbox on a daily basis. It’s time to clear it down and take steps so that the chaos doesn’t arise again.
Step 1: Work through each email and decide to delete it, archive it or add it to your to-do list to action it. If you are worried about losing stuff you might need later then just archive it in a folder and that way you can always retrieve it through search. As you are working through unsubscribe from any newsletters that you don’t need any more.
Step 2: Set up a system for dealing with incoming emails going forward. The 4 Ds work perfectly for this:
delete it – don’t need it? Either unsubscribe if it’s someone you don’t want to hear from in the future or just read and delete.
do it – something you can do that will take minimal time, do it now. Maybe you need to respond to someone, or it’s something that will take you just a couple of minutes. Do it, delete it and forget it!
delegate it – have someone on your team that can deal with it, or can your partner help out? Then delegate.
defer it – for those things that will take more time either add them to your to-do list or if you are using gmail set a future date for them to reappear in your inbox when you can then do it.
3 Sort Out and Clear Down Your PC or Mac
Do you have a million files saved to your desktop or no rhyme or reason to the files you save on your computer or in Google docs? Then it’s time to have a sort out – and I promise you will feel so much better for it.
While you are doing this, clear out any files, photos or videos you don’t need any more. This will also free up space on your computer and probably help it to be more efficient. If you are worried you will need these files going forward them offload them to a backup file, external hard drive or to the cloud.
4 Declutter Your To-Do List
We all know this feeling, There are things on our to-do list that have been there for weeks, months or maybe even years – things that we keep deferring. Let’s be tough now. You need to take a long hard look at them and decide their fate.
Why are you deferring them? Maybe you just no longer want to do them but don’t want to actually make the final decision to let them go? Perhaps you need training in a particular area in order to get started on them? Make a decision. Either do them or let them go. If it’s an idea that comes back round again in the future, you can always implement then.
Excessive baggage on your to-list can really weigh you down, so let go and feel the freedom for new, better things to come your way.
5 Declutter Your Social Media
Now is the perfect time to take a long hard look at your social media and decide what’s working for you and where to invest your time. Do you really need to be on every platform – posting sporadically – or should you focus on one or two and really go all out. Only you know what’s right for your business. Check Google analytics and see what’s bringing you the most traffic. If you feel that the creation of social media posts is just taking up too much time, then consider using this Social Media Content System to speed things up.
6 Declutter Your Email List
If you have people on your email list that haven’t opened an email for the last 6 months, you should decide whether you want to keep them – as they are (or will be) costing you money . Each platform (I love Convertkit) shows you how to find your cold subscribers and the best method for contacting them to see if they want to still receive your newsletter. This is a great exercise to go through at least once or twice per year.
7 Declutter Your Business Expenses
Are you paying for any tools or software that you no longer use? It’s a good idea to go through your expenses every quarter and just check that you are only paying for what you need.
8 Declutter Your Business: Let Go of What You Don’t Like
Are there things in your business that you struggle with or really dislike doing? Maybe your accounts or graphics? Then decide whether the time is right to outsource some tasks. You can hire a freelance VA, bookeeper, or just choose specialist freelancers for specific requirements. If you have the budget this can be a great way to free up more of your time to work on your business, not just in it.
Phew, did that seem like a lot to do in order to declutter your business? I promise the results will be worth it in time saved and in how much less stressed you feel. After you have completed all the tasks you should feel much lighter and energy will be released for new projects. Maybe treat yourself to a little something to celebrate, a new print to hang above your desk, a candle to make your office smell amazing or a bunch of flowers to say well done you!