I always see January as a fresh start and as it’s usually a little bit of a quieter time of the year, it’s the perfect opportunity to get organized and to dig deep into decluttering.
When it comes to goal setting, which we’ll talk about a bit more in a second, I always think decluttering is an important part of that process. It allows you to look at what’s working, and what’s not, and clear out the old, in order to focus on the new. Decluttering also frees us up mentally, physically and energy-wise, so that we start the new year with less baggage. It gives us space (often literally) to grow into what we want to achieve.
With that said, let’s look at 10 steps to declutter your business, so you are firing on all cylinders for the next 12 months.
Declutter Your Goals
Are you someone who carries goals forward, never quite achieving them (or even getting started with them)? I am not saying you have to abandon these goals completely, but if they haven’t worked up to now, you certainly need a new approach. Maybe breaking them down into smaller steps, or coming at them from a different angle. Spend some time considering why they aren’t getting done before you add them to your goal list (again).
There may be other goals that you have simply outgrown or which are on your list because you feel obliged to do them. You don’t have time for that old thinking – if the goal isn’t something that you want to achieve, or you know it’s going to move you forward in your life, then feel free to cross it out. “Bye, bye old crappy goal” you can say as you wave it goodbye. Now, doesn’t that free up some feel-good energy?
If you want a different approach to goal setting then check out my free course The Joy of Goal Setting!
Declutter Your Physical Space
Got loads of receipts all over your desk, box files open on the floor, supplies bursting out of drawers? Oh no, no, no that won’t do at all. Tidy desk (or office, or dining room table) equals a tidy mind. Let’s get on our feet and tidy up our space. Anything that’s no longer needed can be sold, gifted, sent to the charity shop or recycled.
Everything else can be tidied away and if you are really struggling to get organized pick up some low-cost storage boxes like these. They can truly hide a multitude of sins.
Declutter Your PC or Mac
Don’t tell me you don’t quickly save a file or 3oo to your PC desktop and then wonder why the screen makes your heart pound every time you sit down to do some work. It’s time to move those folders to their proper place on your computer – getting rid of any that you no longer need. I promise you it will make for a calmer start to the day, and you will finally know where everything is – so you don’t have to go searching for that image of the cat that you just know you downloaded.
Declutter Your Inbox
It’s time to sit down, gird our loins, and yes, talk about your inbox.
Is it bursting at the seams, filled with newsletters you no longer read, half-completed tasks, and things that should have been filed or completed long ago? It is? Then it’s time for some tough love.
You will save SOOOOO much time and so much energy by devoting a few hours to cleaning it up.
- Delete anything you don’t need
- Unsubscribe from any newsletters that you don’t read
- If you have mails that you want to hang on to, you know ‘just in case’ then move them into a folder called ‘Archive’. If you don’t then look at them in the next 12 months it’s probably safe to say they are no longer required.
Going forward, once everything is neat and tidy, remember the 4 Ds. When an email comes in either, delete, delegate, defer or do. For those of us with no-one to delegate to, this one can be a little tricky, so you may be left with the 3 Ds. If you use Gmail then I find the Snooze button perfect for the defer option. That way you can clear it out of your inbox and it will only pop back in at the allotted time.
Declutter Your To-Do List
If you find you have a lot of anxiety about all you have to get done, I find sitting down and writing down everything in my head which needs to get finished, a huge help. If you use pen and paper then you have the satisfaction of crossing things out when you have finished them. If you prefer the digital option then something like Asana or Trello can be a lifesaver as you can even set it to remind you when you have a deadline.
Whichever option you choose. Make sure you go through your to-do list regularly and cross out things that are no longer important to you. We all add things from time to time that when it comes right down to it, we know we will probably not get done or which is no longer important to us. Don’t carry that extra weight around with you and make your list look longer than it actually is.
Declutter Your Accounts
When you are running a business that paperwork soon adds up. If you find yourself surrounded by receipts or you simply don’t get time to keep your books straight you will need to make a decision. Either outsource it and get some help. Or decide to commit one afternoon a month to keep things in order. I promise you it will be a lot less stressful than trying to do everything when tax time rolls around! Shout out to my UK peeps who are probably feeling that pain right around now ☺
Declutter Social Media
What! Someone who loves the power of social media for promoting a business is telling me to declutter social media. The heresy!
I’m not saying to kiss goodbye to all your profiles, but maybe the time is right to just focus on one, two or even three – and please make sure you focus on the ones you enjoy. Plus, this is the perfect time to plan out your content for the next 3, 6 or 12 months.
You don’t have to write content in detail now, but know when you are going to post and where, and maybe even get a scheduler to help you out. A big focus for me right now is Pinterest, as it gives me the most traffic, and for that and Instagram I always recommend Tailwind – you can try them out for free at this link.
Declutter Your Products or Services
At the start of the year, it’s always good to look at your products and services to see which ones are selling best and which ones you can’t seem to give away for love or money! Is it time to drop some of those less desirable ones from your offerings? Maybe introduce new lines or focus on what sells like hotcakes?
Only you can decide, but it’s worth the time just to review this. Give the people what they want, but also give them what you enjoy creating/offering.
Declutter Your Supplies
If you sell physical products then January is a great time for a sale to clear out any lines that are sitting and taking up space. It’s also a good opportunity to look at what supplies you have and see if they need streamlining. Having box after box of things you don’t even need or use in your business anymore is not a good use of space. Sell, gift or recycle should be your motto here.
Declutter Unused Subscriptions
Do you have a subscription to a piece of software, online tool or magazine subscription that you don’t use anymore? Now is the perfect time to make sure you cancel it before next year’s or next moth’s renewal rolls around.
Lots of things will be valuable and vital for running your business, so don’t tip the baby out with the bathwater, but do just do a check so you aren’t paying for things you don’t need.
I hope this list has been helpful and has got you in the mood for a little decluttering. Even if you only do a couple of these, it can make a big difference to your productivity. Let me know how you get on in the comments – or feel free to share any other decluttering ideas which serve you well – thanks!