Clean Up the Clutter

“April showers bring May flowers,” and running a business has its fair share of unglamorous moments as well. We’ve gathered some behind the scenes actions that can make your business bloom.

Whether you are facing physical clutter like a messy desk or virtual piles (a tangle of unread emails, anyone?), it’s slowing you down – we guarantee it!

Take the time to clean up your act, and enjoy the dividends.

Different Clutters, Same Effect

Your brain takes in gazoodles* of information each moment via your senses. (*actual scientific term, probably.) Most of that data gets filtered out and discarded – you see the color of the third car you pass on your way to work, but unless there’s something else important about that car, you won’t remember it.

But sorting and filtering all that data takes up processing power, and so if you throw enough trash data at your brain you can easily trigger a sort of spinning-wheel effect, mentally.

Trash data – aka Clutter.

Clutter is just piles of data waiting there to be processed every time you turn around, and, in all likelihood, discarded. Physical clutter or unneeded spam emails or anything else your senses have to take in on their way to what you actually need to access will slow. Everything. Down.

Here are some of the clutters you might meet, and how to send them out of sight – and out of mind!

Cleaning Up Physical Clutter

Physical clutter is easy to see and, believe it or not, relatively easy to deal with.

Create a filing system for papers. Ruthlessly recycle everything you don’t file – as soon as it enters your workspace, preferably.

Make sure everything has a place it belongs. If you don’t need everyday access to an item, put it behind doors! If you do, keep it where you can grab it and put it back with ease.

Cut back on paperwork and other physical stuff in the first place by going green whenever possible, and refusing to put things in your space that you don’t want or need. Outdated wall maps and broken mugs and pens that don’t write will have to find somewhere else to store their sad selves.

Look at Your Lists

 

Lists are frequent offenders.

I don’t care if it’s a list you made, or a list you signed up for, or a to-do list left by your predecessor; if you aren’t using it weekly, it’s clutter.

Make time to unsubscribe from email lists you never read. Train yourself to make all your own lists in one spot – a notebook, an app, an organizational software – and then immediately transfer any lists given you by others to your own system. If you’ve had the same dozen sticky notes on your monitor since last June, either put the information somewhere more appropriate, do the tasks, or admit you will never get to it.

Cut Contacts

In the old days, we kept contacts in a physical Rolodex full of business cards. Now, we have an app for that.

No matter how you keep track of the people in your life, make sure you weed them down every now and then. Flipping or scrolling through a hundred names you can’t place is a poor use of your time and brain power.

When it comes to efficiency, contact lists are at the top of our list to de-clutter. While you are at it, update OR DELETE old information (hi, looking at you, about to dial someone’s “mobile9” number). The less you have to sort through, the faster you’ll find what you need.

It’s Not All About You

Your website is cluttered, front and back. Just take our word for it.

A cluttered website front end will lose you customers. Get rid of extra pages that don’t add anything usable to the site. Make sure your information is easy to find and your navigation is easy to follow. I’ve said it before but for the love of the internet please size your images for the web!

This cat has not been sized for the web.

On the back side of your website, clean up any add-ons or plugins you aren’t using anymore. Get rid of bulky code, and eliminate overlapping processes (like signup forms or payment pages) where one will do the job.

And if any of that didn’t make sense to you, pay a web person to do it.

Less Clutter: More Life

The bottom line is that, with less to sort through on a daily basis, your brain will be able to run much more smoothly and efficiently.

You may find yourself more creative, or less stymied when trying to make decisions.

And everyone will think you are organized, which is hard to feel bad about.

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