As I walk down my street here in London I see new growth everywhere. To me Spring is a time of renewal, of getting back outside after a winter hibernating, and it is all about new beginnings. It is also a fantastic time to do a clear out, whether that be your own personal things or the pile of papers that have been sitting on your desk that you always feel you *should* get around to reading.
Here are some ideas to help you get some renewal and fresh air into your business this Spring.
1. Sort out your paper piles
Work through any piles of papers that are sitting on your desk, on a table or book shelf, or anywhere else you have decided to leave them in your office! Look at each document or article and choose to either keep it or throw it. (Yes, it really is that simple! It’s a choice of one or other). Try to make quick decisions, rather than labouring over whether this information may be useful “one day”.
Throw out everything you haven’t looked at or can see no reason to keep. However, remember that there are legal requirements for your financial records; check with your accountant or take a look at the requirements for self employed people set out by HMRC.
It may also be safer to shred the documents you no longer need, rather than throwing them into the general rubbish pile.
If you are deciding to keep the piece of paper, it is important that it finds a home, and doesn’t just end up at the bottom of your paper pile again! See the section below for ideas of how to get an easy to follow system.
I have found that having an inspiration/information folder or box is a good idea for those people who aren’t quite ready to throw everything out in the first instance. This folder is a place where you can put the ideas and articles and pieces of paper that you feel you might want to reference again in the future. I would suggest that if you don’t look at this information again in the next 3-6 months, then it isn’t inspiration, and you should throw it all away!
2. Set up a new process to follow
Once you have worked through all the papers and only have the important ones left, try to work out the best way to catalogue and store them. Once you have a good system in place, then try and keep to it! This will help to not get the clutter in the first place.
I love different coloured folders (clearly labelled) and put into magazine files. It makes it so easy when you have everything at your finger tips. For financial information you might want to have a folder for each months receipts and invoices, whereas for insurance policies and other contractual documents you may find it easier to keep them in one folder. If you work on projects, I would suggest having one folder for each project, with clearly labelled sections within the folder.
Set up a system that works for you, and where you will be able to quickly and easily go to to either put the information away, or find the documents you want.
3. Look at your business plan or business goals for the year
It may have been a few months since you last took a good look at your business, and your plans for where you want it to be in the future. Now is a great time to sit down and work through your list of business goals and ensure you are on track.
Are there any goals that need to be updated because they no longer ring true?
Do you need to make time to focus on a certain area of your business you have been neglecting?
Do you need to bring in some external help to ensure you meet your plans?
Think about what steps you are going to put in place over the coming few months to really ensure your business is on track and ready to meet the challenges ahead.
4. Make time
If a tidy space or organisation doesn’t come easy for you it won’t be something that you will automatically do. So allow yourself time to set up the systems and allow you to clear out your space.
This may just be 15 minutes each morning, working your way through your pile of papers on your desk. Or it might be better to set aside an hour and really tackle that filing cabinet that hasn’t been looked at in the last year. Do whatever works for you, but ensure you make it uninterrupted time when you will focus on the task at hand.
Get to it!
Ensure you take the time to rejuvenate your business this Spring, by removing the stress and clutter that can build up over time. Getting rid of unwanted information and items will allow you the space for new ideas to thrive and grow, and will ensure you have the time and space to continue to nourish your business.