Spring is almost here, the weather is starting to warm up and we are nearing the season of new growth. It’s no wonder that most of us get the itch to open all of the doors and windows, get some fresh air and clean things out. Around this time of year, even business can feel stuffy and stale, so I reached out to my friend, Amber Taggard, founder of The Organizer Chicks, to get her top tips for spring cleaning your business.
Spring Cleaning Your Business | Stephanie Burns
(c) 2015 Freedom Dreamer Photography & Marsha Foster
1. Be Mindful Of Little Annoyances In Your Physical Space
“Do your feel a little exasperated every time you have to go grab an envelope? Does your phone cord always drape across your keyboard and distract you? Being mindful of these minor irritations helps you to clue in to the things in your workspace that may be inefficient, or cause you to task-hop,” says Taggard. “Most of us need to do some reworking of our physical spaces from time to time because our needs, projects, and work habits change. Don’t allow something you’re needing to touch often be in a space that you have to stand up to reach. Having to do so creates a disruption that mentally pulls us out of ‘project mode’ which can be harder than you might think to fully sink back into. According to studies from the University of California, Irvine, it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to fully return to the original task after an interruption. Keep a list of the things that peeve you over the span of a few days, then take an afternoon to fix it all.”
2. Tackle Your To Do List By Making An Appointment With Yourself
“It’s not enough to say, “I’ll get to that when I have some free time.” Go through the full motions of making an appointment, just like you would with a potential client or referral partner. Write it in your day planner or schedule the time using your planning software, but block out the specifics of the day and time, and when that appointment with yourself comes, honor it, just like you would honor an appointment with someone else. Chalk this up to working on your business, not in it. You deserve to give finding solutions for yourself the respect you give to doing the same for someone else,” reminds Taggard.
3. It’ll Usually Get Worse Before It Gets Better
“I can’t tell you how many times people have called to hire me in tears, 1/3 of the way through the process they started on their own and feeling like a failure and saying that they’ve just made things worse. Stay the course, my friend! This is normal! As you start to deconstruct what’s not working, things that have been lurking in the back of the drawer and at the bottom of the filing cabinet inevitably come to the surface, and this is good, because it allows us to ask some qualifying questions: Do I truly use and need this? Would I purchase it all over again if I didn’t own it? If the answer is no, do like Elsa…let it go. Those things that are for sure keepers, sort them into piles, and yes, piles will be everywhere for a bit – but it’s only temporary.” says Taggard. “Once excess has been cleared and your piles are showing you how much of what you have, you’ll be ready to start to re-home things, always keeping your list of annoyances in mind so that you can be sure you’re finding homes for frequently touched items that are within arm’s reach of your work station.”
4. Don’t Do It Later
“How many times have we walked through the day with an, ‘I’ll do that later’ mindset? ‘I’ll just toss this mail down here and open it later.’ or ‘I’ll put this stack of business cards from my networking meeting in this drawer and I’ll sort them tomorrow.’ And then inevitably, what happens? The end of the day…or week…comes and our space is cluttered, and the result is that we feel overwhelmed and exhausted. As William James said, “’Nothing is as fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.’” Avoid fatigue and maintain organization by following the 2-Minute Rule: If it takes less than 2 minutes to do, do it right now. Those new insurance papers you need to file? Don’t plop them on your desk and say you’ll do it later. The new pack of Pop-Up sticky notes (life changers!) that needs to be put in your office supply cabinet? Don’t let them hang on the door knob in their plastic bag. If it takes less than 2 minutes to do, do it right now.”
“Disorganization is, at its core, delayed decisions and deferred actions.” Taggard tells me. Boy is that true.