Everyone’s pretty familiar with the idea of a good ol’ spring clean, also known as decluttering or the magic of tidying up as made famous by Marie Kondo. That sweet, sweet satisfaction, and sense of space and calm that comes from tidying your physical space, is one you can get by applying the same concepts to your business.
When was the last time you felt a sense of space and calm when thinking about work?
“Under the influence of clutter, we may underestimate how much time we’re giving to the less important stuff.” ― Zoë Kim
It doesn’t take much to get back to a state of overwhelm so from time to time it’s good to pause, block out some chunks of time in your calendar and start reassessing your environment (and we aren’t just talking physical environment either).
It’s hard to focus on what is truly important, when there is so much competing for your attention. Taking the time to trim back, and reprioritise will get you to your goals fast.
True to Marie’s KonMari method, let’s approach this category by category.
PRODUCTS / SERVICES
We spend a lot of time adding to our products or services, but not enough time assessing what should be removed. Review your offering, looking at revenue and profitability per product / service. When you go granular you often find there are things that take up a lot of time, but really just aren’t worth it. Without looking at it through that lens you just keep doing what you have always done. Of course don’t forget to sense check they align with your purpose and are relevant to your target audience at the same time!
MARKETING ACTIVITY / COLLATERAL
This is a fave as this is where things can get really out of control. Without a strong brand strategy and brand guidelines you can end up with quite a collection of inconsistent marketing collateral. Variation across both the look, but also the messaging – which can be very confusing for customers. Even with the right foundation you still need to do a review from time to time. Is everything you are doing impactful? Have you looked at ROI per activity? Are you spread too thin? It’s definitely better to do fewer things well.
This is a biggie in that relationships really can be make or break, and fixing any people issues is always a little challenging. But as leaders we must not be silent about the hard things as Brené Brown would say. Think through all your relationships – team, suppliers, clients – anyone consistently out of alignment with your values? Consider what action you can take to either resolve, or remove the issue.
So, so important to review your costs every 6 to 12 months. What are the bigger costs for your business and is there any room to negotiate on those? And then the smaller costs, like subscriptions. This is a BIG one…. Those sneaky little subscriptions add up. You need to check in every now and then and see if there are any redundant ones. And for any that need to stay maybe you can switch to annual payment for a saving. If you do switch to annual pop the renewal reminder in your calendar in case you want to cancel.
Processes are the backbone of your business. Not having processes for your team to follow costs you time, and money, as people need to reinvent how things are done – and risk errors. Having out of date processes can cause plenty of issues too. Keep a list of your main processes and where they are documented so it’s easy to check them periodically. Also identify any gaps and make a list of processes that need to be created. It ain’t sexy but it is key to running a profitable business when you have multiple people involved.
Arghhhhh. The dreaded inbox. This one is tough. There seems to be two types of people in the world. The zero inbox kind (Emma) and the 3,768 emails (Jodie). The Jodies of the world aspire to be like the Emmas of the world… step 1 assess if you are a Jodie or an Emma. Step 2 – if you are an Emma go relax and drink a cup of tea you deserve it, if you are a Jodie – set aside chunks of time to power through the backlog. Use bulk searches to locate and delete many similar emails at once. Keep going, and going, and going. Step 2 – once you hit zero NEVER finish the day without clearing your inbox. Do they all need to be actioned? No. Add them to a to do list, delegate or whatever is appropriate.
There is no point doing everything above and sitting in amongst the clutter! You need to have a beautiful workspace that makes you feel inspired. It doesn’t have to be big, it just needs to feel good. Make sure it is clear of any unnecessary clutter. Maybe you add a painting, or a plant for a little extra life? You spend a lot of time working so may as well make the most of it!
Happy decluttering Brigaders.
Jodie + Em xx