I know, I know, cleaning, blegh. But we all need to do it, fairly regularly in fact, and we ought to do some deep cleaning at least once in a while. So, why not welcome Spring with some deep Spring cleaning of your office and your business?
Spring Cleaning Your Physical Work Space
Did you know that March 9 is “Organize Your Home Office Day?” It may not be an exciting holiday, but sometimes cleaning and organizing your work space is exactly what you need to improve your productivity.
- Where do you do your work? What items do you use the most?
- Do you actually understand your own organization method? Will you in a week? A month? A year?
If the things you use the most aren’t easily accessed and organized, you are wasting precious seconds every time you have to find them. So start your Spring cleaning by making sure your daily work space is clean and organized.
Once the frequently used things are organized, take some time to review where everything else is. The more familiar you are with what you have, and where you put it, the easier it will be to find it when you need it.
- Do you have a filing cabinet? How do you organize your folders?
- What about your computer? Is it neatly organized so that you can find any folder, any time you might need it?
- Do your employees understand how files are organized? Can they find something if you or they need it? If they can’t, maybe you need to have some training on your organization system. Or take ideas of how to improve it, so it makes sense for everyone.
Spring Cleaning Your Tasks and Time Management
- Do you organize your day? Do you have a list of tasks that need to be completed? Do you schedule out ever minute of your day, or just wing it from moment to moment?
Many of us have heard of the 80/20 Rule, but just as a reminder: many people waste 80% of their time on things that are ultimately 20% of their success. That means only 20% of their time is spent on what equates to 80% of their success and productivity.
Imagine how much you could do if you spent 80% of your time on those largely successfully and productive tasks, instead?
Consider the tasks you spend your workdays doing. Consider how much time you spend, on average, on each task. Now consider what, exactly, that task is doing for you and your work. (You can use this worksheet to better visualize this sorting process.)
- Is this task trivial? Clutter? A low-value activity that is a waste of your time and talents? If so, figure out how you can whittle it down or out of your 80% and commit to do that. Example commitments would be: don’t do it anymore; delegate/outsource it; delay it; downshift your scope or frequency on that task; and destroy or redesign how you do it.
- Is this task highly important? Is it vital to your success and productivity? Is it a high-value activity that could be considered the best use of your time and talents? If so, figure out how can do it better, bigger, more often. Commit to a strategy to maximize that task and the benefits it offers you and your work.
Spring Cleaning Your Systems and Processes
- When you hire someone new, how do you show them the way you run the business?
- When you launch a new product or service, does everyone know their part in getting the ball rolling?
- How do you measure business success and productivity? What are you doing to meet those measurements?
Every office and business is run a little differently. That’s great, since everyone has different focuses and different needs. The problem is when there is no system to dictate exactly how it should be run.
When someone new comes in or a new product is introduced, having no system in place often means miscommunications, overlapping tasks, and/or missed deadlines.
Systems help streamline your work, improving your productivity and efficiency. They delineate what tasks are important, in order of priority, and who needs to complete which tasks to bring together the whole.
You can set up systems in every part of your company and office, depending on need and size. Check out this Systems Checklist for ideas of what kind of systems you can use.
Just make sure that whenever you set up a system, everyone involved knows what it is and how to reference it.
- What systems do you already have in place?
- What systems could you really use to help declutter your work?
- Could any of your systems use a decluttering to make productivity more streamlined?
- For more ideas, you can also consider the 7 systems Michael Gerber suggests are important for entrepreneurs.