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“Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; from discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” Albert Einstein
I was watching the reality show ‘Hoarders: Buried Alive’ Sunday night and I got to thinking that we all have clutter in our lives. Of course, not as extreme as people who suffer from hoarding or mental illness, but to varying degrees. As a business owner, what kind of clutter have you accumulated that is hindering you from functioning at your optimal best? What is robbing you of your focus and motivation? Having a simple, uncluttered life is possible! To help you clear the clutter, here are 3 quick tips to become clutter free.
Write down all the things that are cluttering your mind, distorting your life’s vision. Take each of the things on your list and ask yourself the following questions:
- Why am I holding on to this clutter?
- What purpose does it serve?
- How do I rid myself of it?
For example: Lisa Jones has owned her CPA firm for many years. She has boxes and boxes of client files dating back 15 years. She is renting a storage space for additional files. She remembers a time in history when it was important to have paper files. She has been doing this for so long and reluctant to change her work style. She recently hired an assistant to help her upgrade her outdated system.
- Lisa is used to running her business as she has done for many years. She is aware of various technological advances which can essentially allow her to get rid of all of the paper files.
- Lisa realizes that this way of running her business is not efficient. She has run out of room in her office and pays for additional storage. It is difficult to locate files and she travels back and forth between her office and storage facility retrieving files.
- Lisa’s assistant will help her move from paper files to an automated filing system. This way she can readily retrieve files for her clients and work more efficiently. She will also save on storage costs, gas charges and needless trips to the storage facility.
Simplify with Systems
Are there things that you can do to save time? I recently went to the post office to pick up a package. There was a lady off to the side licking stamps and placing each on a pile of envelopes. She was preparing to mail her bills. I instantly felt a headache coming on thinking about the time she could save by paying her bills online.
Twice a month, I log onto my personal account and select the bills that I want to pay and in a matter of a minute, my bills are paid… walla! Plan your dinner menu for the week in advance. Order your groceries online or shop monthly instead of weekly. My family uses the weekend to prepare for their week. My husband and kids iron their own uniforms and I prepare lunches for my youngest son. That way, all I have to do is make his sandwich each morning. Take time to look at ways to work more efficiently. This will free up your time to focus on the important stuff.
Is it necessary to do it all yourself? Clutter can come from refusing to delegate non essential tasks to others. As your business grows, so should your ‘tight grip’ on controlling every aspect of your business. The worst thing that you can do is become a slave to your business. This attitude can cripple you!
I know this first hand; as a former owner of a building maintenance company; I was president, HR generalist, payroll specialist, trainer, janitor, sales woman and more! It took me a while to realize that not only could I not effectively wear every hat, but in order to grow and regain my sanity, I had to trust others. It is important that you delegate non-core business tasks to your staff or consider outsourcing. Play on the strengths of others. The lack of delegation will stifle your growth, or worse, cause you to run your business and your personal life inefficiently. So, de-clutter and delegate!
In closing, clutter can be distracting while adding to the chaos in our lives. Take time to de-clutter your mind by simply ‘letting go’ and re-prioritizing the way you do things. Be deliberate in consistently creating an efficient and clutter free life.
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