By Lauren Winzar, decluttering and organising coach.
Decluttering is about making room for your dreams, whether that is clearing space in your wardrobe for new (to you) clothes that make you feel amazing, or time in your calendar for adventures with your special someone, or expenses in your budget to allow you to save for a new car.
But what about business? Well, for many small businesses, our ‘why’ is linked to some sort of freedom. Or perhaps its about making a difference in the world. Decluttering can help you to make room for your ‘why’ to come to life.
On the surface, when you think about decluttering in business, you might think of archiving old files or ‘going paperless’ or even ‘downsizing’ your team. But that’s not always the case. When I think of decluttering for my business (as opposed to for my clients or myself), it’s about what I am making room for, and getting rid of what is in my way.
When I first started out, I had to make room in my calendar to fit clients in. This usually meant taking time away from my family, I didn’t love that – but I did love the work. I think most people feel this pull when they are starting out in business. It takes effort to balance the time you spend on your business with the time you spend in your ‘day job’, especially in the early days. At some point, you have to choose between aspects of your life. Most of us think “WHEN my business is successful, THEN I can quit my day job.” but you have to ask yourself the question: is there room for this business to be successful? If there is, GREAT! If not, what is standing in the way that you can declutter?
This is the curating bit, I think this is possibly my favourite part of decluttering. This is where you start to see your dream and reality morphing together.
So what can you do?
- Outsourcing: Are you spending too much time trying to figure out Instagram algorithms? Can you hire someone to do that? I’ve outsourced many things that I COULD do myself, but don’t want to put my time and energy into those tasks, eg. social media, bookkeeping, email automation, website design, and at-home services like cleaning and gardening.You might outsource some of your grocery shopping with meal delivery services, child care so you can have some uninterrupted time (for you or your business), laundry services, hire staff in your business to help with packing or delivering orders, answering phone calls or emails,
- Travel: Are you spending hours driving to see clients? Can you offer online meetings or restrict the distance you travel or ‘batch’ your meetings so you only have to travel two days a week?
- Me-time : Are you protecting your personal time? Set limits around when and where you work, how often you check your emails, etc. When your business is your baby it can be really tricky to take a day off, but absence makes the heart grow fonder and protecting your weekends from work will have you more energised come Monday morning. And it will prevent burnout in the long run.
- Self-care: Are you too tired to write that proposal because you’re binge watching Netflix or even doing something ‘good’ like studying for another qualification? How can you prioritise your sleep for a better quality performance in all aspects of your day? Are you looking after your body?
- Offer options: Are there too many options for your clients to choose from? Do you even LIKE all of them? If there are some that are not selling or are more hassle than they’re worth, it might be time to let them go. Offer a ‘clearance sale’ on products, or just drop that service all together (wrap up with any clients you already have on those services first, then offer them something from your freshly curated offers next).
- Call it quits: Speaking of clients, did you know that you can declutter them? Obviously this will look different to everyone, but it is entirely possible and well worth a thought if you have the one person who rubs you the wrong way. Even if they are your only client, you might not have room for the client of your dreams if you put all of your energy into biting your tongue when Mr. Smith asks you to change that project AGAIN.
For me, there was so much more in my way than I expected, and most of it was in my head. I don’t believe the job of decluttering is ever done, physically or mentally (maybe for a monk? I don’t know), so I say this to you from deep in the process of decluttering my own head.