This is a collaborative post by Ellie Jo about how to declutter for personal and business improvement.
Decluttering is probably not a new concept to you. Many of us declutter our homes on a regular basis, especially when we want to create more space in our living environment, or when we want to boost our income by selling those unused gifts and bought items we no longer want taking up valuable space in our homes.
We feel the benefits after doing so, and our lives are better as a result.
But here’s the thing. If you run your own business, you might also consider decluttering this part of your life too. You will see and experience the benefits to your business if you do, so consider our suggestions below.
Six ways to declutter (and improve) your business.
#1: Declutter your business calendar
Like many business owners, your calendar might be filled with appointments for the weeks and months ahead. From business conferences to client meetings, your valuable time will be taken up by these items on your to-do list. Now, while some of them might be important and dare we say it, unmissable, there might also be events on your calendar that aren’t worth your time.
So, as you would when decluttering your home, look at your calendar, and when considering the appointments laid out before you, ask yourself: Is this important to me?
If you can’t see the value of some of the meetings on your calendar, then you might want to delete them. You will free up your time if you do, and you will then have time to focus on those aspects of your business that should be given more priority.
#2: Declutter your computer
Start with your computer desktop. If it is overladen with folders, subfolders, and random files, then you might struggle to find the documents you need at short notice. This will be bad news for your productivity, so delete any files and folders that are no longer necessary, and order the rest into a tidier layout on your screen.
Then consider the files, apps, and programs that are taking up valuable space on your computer’s hard drive. The more items you have clogging up your hardware’s memory, the slower your computer will be, and again, this will be detrimental to your productivity when you are then unable to work at an efficient rate. Delete anything you don’t need, perhaps using the advice here to eliminate any junk files, or transfer necessary items to other storage spaces, such as to a USB stick, external hard drive, or cloud service.
A cleaner computer will become a more functional computer, and in turn, this will lead to a more productive and less stressed-out you.
#3: Declutter your desk
How clean is your desk? If it’s overladen with pens and other stationery, loose bits of paper, and random items such as coffee cups and half-eaten snack items, then it’s obviously time to have a tidy-up. As you would when decluttering your home, throw away anything that can obviously be categorized as rubbish, and then find an ordered home for any items that are necessary for the running of your business.
You might also take steps to create a paperless office, as not only will you be doing your bit for the environment this way, but there will be less need to have so much paper floating around on your desk. Use these tips to get you started.
After decluttering your desk, two things will happen. Firstly, you will have a tidier mind in line with your tidier desk, and this will positively affect your mood state. And secondly, you will finally be able to get your hands on what you need in double-quick time, and this will avoid slowdown to your day. Your business will prosper as a result of both of these aspects.
#4: Declutter your Facebook groups
This might be something you do in your personal life as well, but for the context of this article, we are also referring to those groups pertaining to your business.
You should declutter them for three reasons.
Firstly, you will have fewer notifications to distract you from your work. Secondly, you will have less cause to spend time on Facebook when you know your time needs to be better spent elsewhere. And finally, you will have more time to engage with those groups that are actively helpful to your business.
So, consider the business groups you subscribed to, and if any have proven less than helpful to you over the last few months, unsubscribe from them. You will then have more time to connect with people in the groups that are useful and have more time to work without any pesky distractions.
#5: Declutter your clients
This might be the area that you are least likely to consider when decluttering your business. After all, without your clients, your business isn’t going to thrive and prosper. However, it’s worth considering this idea for two reasons.
Firstly, if you have too many clients on your books, then you aren’t going to have the time to put in quality work for everybody. This might affect both your reputation and your finances, as once negative word gets out about the rushed work you might have put in, you will be less likely to win new clients. Your current clients will be in less of a hurry to return to you too!
Secondly, consider those clients who needlessly take up too much of your time. If you are constantly waiting for them to pay up after sending them an invoice, or if you have clients who regularly get in touch with you for petty reasons, then you are going to have less time to focus on your work. Hard as it might be, you should probably say goodbye to these problem clients, as you will then have more time to focus on those people who don’t eat up chunks of your time.
#6: Declutter your mind
This is a little more abstract we know, but if your mind is full of worries, ideas, and imagined post-it notes, then you are bound to lose focus during your day. This won’t bode well for your productivity, as you won’t be able to give your work your full attention. You might also forget something vital, as it will be difficult to remember everything you need to do for your business if there are other thoughts taking up residence in your headspace.
Therefore, clear your mind in the following ways.
Firstly, create a to-do list, be that the old fashioned way with a pen and paper or through an app. You will then have less to remember, as you will have everything you need to do laid out in front of you.
Secondly, make a note of your business ideas when they come to you. Again, you will then be less likely to forget them this way, and you won’t lose sight of any idea that might enable you to improve and grow your business.
Finally, vent your worrisome thoughts by writing them down. When they are in a more tangible format, you might then be less stressed and have the ability to deal with them in turn. You might also discover that they are less bothersome than you imagined when they have finally stopped cluttering up your mind.
So, don’t wait for the new year to give your business a spring clean. Use the suggestions we have given you here, and declutter those parts of your business that are becoming problematic in your life. By doing so, you should experience the benefits we have listed, and on both a personal and a business level, that can only be a good thing for you.