(Art Credit: Andrea Hernandez)
Spring is finally here, and with it comes that age-old desire to refresh things. Cleaning up something that may be a little dusty, letting things go that no longer serve you, refreshing things that might be slightly stale — all of this applies to your business the same way it does to your body or house.
Here are four ways to spring clean your business to get a fresh start.
1. Purge Your Inbox
Our inboxes own us. Everyone I know has a different strategy for managing the never-ending stream of emails — the “never delete anything” approach, the “zero inbox” method, or the “barely keep your head above water” technique. No matter how you tame your emails, taking some time annually to rethink that strategy or just clean out old items can be helpful.
For instance, I have a ton of folders where I keep messages that I may need to reference later. Every once in a while, I like to go through these folders, archive things I may want to reference later, and delete items don’t need anymore. I also go through the bottom of my inbox and delete or archive things that I am just keeping there because I am unsure what else to do with them.
If you’re ready to revamp how you manage your inbox, here are a few strategies for that.
2. Refresh Your Space
The physical work space looks different for everyone — for some people it is an office at home, some might have a coworking space, and some might have a van down by the river. No matter what your space is, taking the time to clean it up can be a big change for your mental health and motivation.
- Get rid of paper: There is no more incredible feeling than going through my paper files and sending a big stack to the shredder or recycling bin.
- Clear out that work bag: My work bag holds a lot: notes, printouts from meetings, chapstick, pens, tea bags, etc. Take time this month to dump it out and throw away all of that old stuff.
- Go through those desk drawers (bins, baskets, shelves, etc): Many things accumulate here throughout the year. Get rid of those five pens that don’t work anymore, that silly prize from that team-building exercise, and the thousands of used sticky notes. Once things are clear, maybe treat yourself to a fresh new pen, notebook, or set of file folders to start the year off right.
3. Update Your Business Model
In reality, many of us get trapped doing what we’ve always done, how we’ve always done it, even if it is no longer giving us what we need financially or emotionally. One reason for this is that solopreneurs are so used to the feast/famine mentality when it comes to revenue that, when we find something that works, we keep doing it, even if we don’t actually like it anymore. On the flip side, something might not be working anymore, yet we keep doing it because we’re not sure how to make a change.
When you work for yourself, by yourself, you can reinvent what you do whenever you want. Whether you need more money, more time, or more interesting work, here are four ways to reboot your business model and bring back the passion that made you go out on your own in the first place.
4. Go Through Your Backlog
A backlog is a common project management strategy where you keep a list of things (products, business ideas, blog posts, etc.) that you can’t do yet but want to tackle at some point in the future. Other common strategies like this are the “pickle jar” from productivity guru David Allen or a “parking lot,” a meeting facilitation strategy where you “park” questions or ideas that are important but can’t be addressed at the moment.
Whatever you call it, having a place to keep your great ideas that aren’t yet possible, is a strategy that I use with all of my project management and coaching clients. It is a great way to prioritize things that need action now without losing great ideas for the future. When you spring clean your business, go back through your backlog of great ideas and think about which ones should be dusted off and incorporated into actionable plans for the now.