Happy New Year! Wow 2015, it is a whole year after the end of the world (couldn’t resist).
Are you excited? I know I am. I love new beginnings. The other day I got to thinking about the start of the New Year and what I would like to see come to life this year. And as I was thinking “Out with the old, in with the new.” I began thinking more about how as business owners we have to deal with so much stuff and how can I help you with that. The truth is that aside from appearances clutter or lack of organization can affect us in ways we may not realize.
What is the price of clutter?
Our external environments tend to be a reflection of our internal mental states. Clearing away visual clutter will not only keep you on track in terms of efficiency, it will also help you lessen the emotional strain of having to deal with “stuff”. As an INFJ I tend to be naturally organized. Systems put me at ease and make me happy. However, not every personality feels the same way and I get that. While there has been at least one study done to support that messy environments enhance creativity, when you’re operating a business for profit you still have to pay taxes and in doing so have to somehow manage your paper.
Let’s be honest for a moment. How often have you had a situation where you have spent several (or more minutes) searching for an important business document because it wasn’t where you swore you’d left it? Truth be told, it happens to me as well. I take that as a signal that it is time to schedule, and I mean literally put it in my calendar, write it on my to-do list schedule, a good ol’ fashioned purge and reorganize. Now I usually do this about 2 or 3 times a year, occasionally I will stop whatever it is I am doing to tackle an area that causes me great frustration. The point is that this is a process to which there is a natural ebb and flow.
Once I am done I get the most amazing feeling of accomplishment. Maybe I’m a nerd, but I definitely get a natural high from getting rid of shit! I have a confession; while packing my hospital bag for the delivery of my oldest daughter I actually purchased a label maker and labeled the entire contents of my suitcase. OMG, I swear I am not OCD!
Since I am now a mother of two and reality has settled in I have had to learn to let go of my former standards of organizing and my feelings towards clutter. And the point of me sharing this is to let you know that I totally get it. The reality is that we are all incredibly busy, overworked, overwhelmed and overtired. But that doesn’t mean that I give myself a free pass to give up entirely. All it means is that I have redrawn the boundaries and set aside a designated time to get organized. Even if the very next week things creep back in I still feel better knowing that I have released much of what no longer serves me.
In fact just this year I finally decided to recycle all of my precious notes from my days in Massage school. I mean, it’s only been 12 years since I have been out of school. What could I possibly need them for?! Once that was done I gained a storage box for hanging files woohoo! If I were to go out and purchase the same storage box again today it would cost me about $20. So you see not only have I now created a state of emotional well-being I have also received a financial benefit.
3 Areas to Declutter in 15 minutes
If you only have 15 minutes to get shit done here are a few areas that you can tackle that will leave you feeling like Martha.
Empty your wallet of useless receipts and cards you do not use on a daily basis. I often remove my credit cards to discourage unplanned spending. I keep my SIN card and birth certificates at home in a special location in case I was to ever lose my wallet. Gift cards I keep handy but not in my wallet, because losing them would be just like losing cash and that would suck. Lastly once everything that needs out is out, I add back in physical cash. I do this mostly as a symbolic gesture. Maybe it is superstitious but an empty wallet just doesn’t scream success to me.
2.Clean of your desktop
My desk is prime real estate for my line of work so I really strive to keep it as clear as possible. Get three document boxes for sorting your to-do, to-file, and to-shred. Schedule a meeting with yourself once a week to go through and tackle what has accumulated in these boxes.
3. Create rules add folders
Managing e-mail effectively can be a huge time and sanity saver. A quick way to reduce the digital clutter is to add folders to your inbox. I personally prefer to manage my folders by content, so I have a folder for client correspondence, a folder for receipts, a folder for newsletters, and a folder for personal correspondence. From there I have created “rules”. I love receiving coupons from vendors for discounts but frankly their e-mails are incessant. I have created a set of rules that automatically filters these e-mails for me so I don’t see them until I have a planned purchase in mind. I also love newsletters most of the time I read and delete them. The ones I want to save go into my newsletter folder for later. Alternately you could create 3 folders; to follow up, waiting for response, and reference. A great blog that will explain all of this in much greater detail is 43 Folders. Check it out when you have a free moment.
So tell me what are you tossing out in 2015 and what will you be inviting in in the process? Leave a comment below.
Yours in wealthy living,