Letting go is liberating. If only we have the courage to reach into our piles of collective sh.. - let’s say clutter - and realize that what we’re holding onto on our desks and in our offices could be blocking us from our own success, or even our sanity.
Psychology Today says clutter has been proven to increase stress by distracting and overwhelming us with overstimulation and can even increase levels of stress hormones like cortisol. On the contrary, cleaning and reorganizing is associated with improved mood, decreased stress, heightened creativity and even productivity.
In honor of spring and in an effort to pep talk each other into taking back control of our business environments and our minds, here are 10 Ways to Spring Clean Your Business.
So put on your favorite jams, grab a broom and your colleagues and let’s go! And don’t be surprised if you start seeing a flood of things you want in your job or business pouring in soon after...
1. Make Peace in Your Relationships
Are you in relationships that are no longer serving you? Look at your friends, associates, business partners, affiliate relationships, clients and team members. Who are you surrounding yourself with? Are they lifting you up or crushing your soul? Likely it’s apparent that something isn’t working and your intuition is screaming loudly that things are not okay. Be honest with yourself and the other person and gently move on or communicate to change the nature of the relationship. It’s time to have those difficult conversations and clean things up so you can move forward.
2. Polish Your Online Presence
It’s time to get a makeover - for your internet profile that is. Spiff up your website with new design, updated testimonials for your business, SEO optimization, updated hours and offerings or check for broken URLs. Perhaps your Linkedin profile is wearing the business equivalent of a 1980’s prom dress. Get a new photo, add a background, clean up your experience descriptions and ask for recommendations from former colleagues. You never know what a few changes might bring your way if you look fresh and clean for your online prospects. Put your best online foot forward and watch what happens.
3. Give your inbox a scrub… or get rid of email all together
How does your body not release cortisol when you see a (157) inbox. Unsurprisingly, an estimated 247 million emails are sent every day according to the Email Marketing Report. (Are they sure it’s not 247 Trillion-gazillion?) I won’t tell you to sacrifice your weekend to clear email, but 15 to 20 minutes a day to organize and unsubscribe could be a good place to start. Use those search, label and filter options and take advantage of free online tools like Mailstrom so your inbox becomes self-cleaning.
If you’re really ready for a fresh start, cut email by 40 percent or ditch it all together and use Taskworld. Assign tasks, chat, share files and run projects all in one place in your virtual workspace. You can read more about it in our blog 3 Ways to Escape the Email Black Hole.
4. Plan ahead for the holidays
So you’ve already missed five birthdays… that’s okay! Now is the time to organize for Mother’s Day and graduations, etc. Grab some gifts or balloons in advance or order cards now to have in your desk or at the office for those times you need to wish someone an on-the-fly birthday or give a thank you. That extra 15 minutes now could save a year of guilt trips. And this one is fun so go for it! Merry Christmakkuh in March!
5. Spring forward
Get your team engaged and excited about the remainder of the year by scheduling a company meeting to highlight department or company accomplishments and top goals from the first quarter. Make sure to recognize top performing team members so the group sees that hard work is rewarded. It’s kind of like giving random gifts or flowers to your partner when it’s not Valentine’s Day, it means so much more. Know what I’m sayin’?
6. Clean up your habits
They say it takes 30 days to build a habit and three days to break one - so incredibly true! Are there things you are doing or perhaps more importantly not doing that you know would move you forward? Whether it’s exercise, meditating, journaling, treating yourself or adding new business services, what may seem overwhelming now becomes a part of your life if you treat it like brushing your teeth. Start small, think big and just begin!
7. Be your own best critic
While it is still early in the year, get an accurate reading of what’s going on with your business or performance. Adjust budgets, add bonuses to your payroll and reward top employees to keep them on board. Talk to each employee about their objectives, define goals and ask for feedback about management performance - proactive is always better than reactive. Do competitive analysis with your competition. How do your products and services measure up? How does your contribution measure compared with other team members? Vet your expenses and review the bills. Are there any changes you can make to cut costs or can you get better pricing anywhere? These little housekeeping “chores” can save money, time and hardships not only for your business, but for the whole team.
8. Check in with your customers
Customer information has an expiration date. Grab an intern to check your customer lists and contacts and perhaps in the process of checking in, you could upsell or resell a service. Make sure your current customers are happy. Start a monthly or yearly customer satisfaction survey if you don’t already have one. They are more likely to disappear than to let you know something is wrong if you don’t stay in touch. Find out how you’re doing and see where you can strengthen operations. You may also want to group and segment customers, noticing if they have anything in common or patterns you can use in marketing or demographic targeting. And do a thorough checkup of your customer or client communications. Are you using lots of “I’s” or “Us’” or “You” and “Your’s” ? It’s great to extol the virtues of your company but customers want to know how they will benefit from your product or service. Make it about the customer not you.
9. The cloud is the new filing cabinet. Float on.
Is your desk or office covered in stacks of paper and files? This is a serious plug in the productivity pipeline - both physically as you search for files and mentally as your brain stalls at the overwhelming sight of everything you haven’t done. The good news - it is easier than ever to move your filing systems online into virtual 3D spaces where you can drag and drop files and turn a chaotic chorus into a seamless business symphony. Upload and store your files and documents with unlimited, secure file storage in Taskworld. You can even organize the files based on conversations, projects or tasks. Without massive paperwork on your desk, you can free up space in your office and focus on more important things the rest of the year - like tactics and strategies to scale your business.
10. Actual cleaning
Saving the best for last… it wouldn’t really be spring cleaning without donning rubber gloves, now would it? My mom used to try to get us excited and say we’re the “Dustbusters” while singing the theme to “Ghostbusters.” Maybe this approach would work for you (it didn’t really work so much for us as children), but more likely you can just get colleagues excited to clean the old fashioned way - bribery. Consider making a spring cleaning event for your staff with drinks, pizza and maybe prizes for the most aesthetically pleasing desk makeover. Go “Dustbusters!”
I hope you’re feeling pumped to polish, clean, dust and reorganize your business, office, habits or relationships for spring. When things are clean and clear, your mind is like to follow, allowing you more time to focus on growing your career or business. Too much on the list? Just pick a few things that might make the biggest difference for you. And if you don’t do it all for spring, keep going. It’s never too late. So clear the clutter, ramp up the energy and realize more success!
What clutter will you clear out this spring? Comment below or Tweet us @Taskworld.