As my grief subsided after I ended a long-term relationship and my life returned to me, I started to notice a lot of clutter in my life. Everything around me felt like it held a memory of the past, and several items I’d accumulated represented compromises I’d made with myself. For example, the scratchy sweater I bought because it was on sale and the shoes that pinched my toes that the saleslady swore would stretch and didn’t.
In the process, I started to notice that I’d built up clutter in my business in the same way. I had committed my time and skills to things that no longer supported the vitality of my business, and it was time to make a clean break.
I picked up The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo and expanded upon her philosophy to apply it to my business. In time, I released energy that had been tied up by obligation, duty, habit, people-pleasing, and fear, and made room for more beauty and joy.
Here are some categories that you may want to declutter. As you read through each, ask yourself what sparks joy and listen for the answer.
Your Time/Calendar. Before scheduling anything on your calendar, check your motive. Are you saying “yes” out of a need to please someone else or because you feel obligated? Be sure to balance your obligations with your joyful moments every day.
Your Business Spending Plan. Review your cash flow with an eye for value and meaning. Cancel any expenses that do not meet your filter criteria. Sneaky items include re-occurring expenses like subscriptions, service fees, account fees, and dues for any groups you no longer attend. Free up these funds for items and activities that nourish you and your business.
Email Lists. Do you groan every time you open up your inbox and see a bunch of messages you know you aren’t going to read? Reviewing the subject lines and deleting those you don’t want takes time and energy away from your life and your business. Unsubscribe from lists that you have outgrown, and devote your time to enjoying newsletters and blogs that truly feed your soul. Alternately, create a separate email account just for email lists and schedule a time each week to check and read.
Technology. Take a Phone-Free Day. I promise you, the world will not stop! When I start to feel frazzled and overwhelmed by technology clutter, I silence the ringtones and put my phone in a drawer for the day. When I’m not distracted by a compulsion to constantly check my phone, I find I am once again open to being amazed by the beauty of the world around me.
Services. Do an inventory of your income streams and say no to work that is outside of your business vision. If you don’t have a business vision, see my post on “Creating a Unique + Inspiring Business Plan for 2015”.
The process of letting go may feel scary at first, it may even leave you feeling empty. This is temporary. Trust that you are developing a powerful filter that will help you decide what to let in, as well as making room for new joy and fulfillment in your business.
What steps do you feel inspired to take toward clearing the clutter from your business? What have been some of the results of your actions? I hope you’ll share your experiences and insights with all of us in the Comments.
If you need help with the emotional aspects of letting go in your business, let’s schedule a session soon. And please check back next month for more tips on how to live your fullest life and thrive in business.
View past articles and Deep Business tips at www.artofdeepbusiness.com