Spring or “springtime” as its often referred to, started on Saturday, March 20th and lasts until Monday, June 21st 2021. It gets its name from the growth of new plants during this time…to spring forth.
The same principle equally applies in business and life. What new seeds, plants, projects, plans have you set out for growth in order to spring forth in the coming months or even years?
Often, despite our best intentions, we can all end up focusing our time & energy on things we can do but shouldn’t be doing. Without even realising it, we can be sucked into the small, menial tasks that are not going to move the business dials anytime soon. Over the short term, they simply waste our time, but over the longer term they can have a detrimental impact on business profits.
Being just under a week into spring, here are my 8 spring cleaning tips for business success, or more specifically 8 things you can ‘stop’ doing right now in order to get you and your business ‘summer ready’…
#1 Stop… working in a cluttered working environment
Do you have a clear desk, office or working space?
Why is this important?
Because information you receive from your peripheral vision, that’s the side of your eyes, hits you subliminally, that means below the threshold and has more emotional content. Therefore, if you leave information, whether this be reports, files, letters on the side of your desk you’ll see them out of the corner of your eye and those reports will now be saying “remember me, you’ve got to work on me.”
A clear desk policy will create increased focus and concentration and help you burn through more work than ever before!
#2 Stop… handling the same task more than once
Next time you have a pile of papers, emails or post try applying the four D’s principle as you go through it: Do it, Delegate it, Dump it or Diary it.
When you work on a task try to deal with it only once, or up to the point you can’t do anymore and you need to either hand it off or get input from someone else. Give it the focused time to get it to completion or near completion.
#3 Stop… calling it a ‘to do’ list
Instead, call it your ‘success list’. See how changing the words from ‘to do list’ to ‘success list’, refocuses the mind on what’s important rather than just what’s got to be done. By making this simple change you’ll find you’re always working on your highest priority items.
#4 Stop… saying ‘yes’ to something that is unimportant
Every time you say ‘yes’ to something that is unimportant, you are saying ‘no’ to something that is important.
You can’t be all things to all people. Know your priorities. Know your goals. Know what needs to get done over the coming weeks and months for you to feel that you have played your best game.
#5 Stop… attending meetings for meetings’ sake
How many times have you walked away from a meeting and said; ‘that was a complete waste of time!’ Maybe if you’d have challenged whether it was needed in the first place you could have got back a valuable hour or two. Start questioning whether a meeting REALLY needs to take places, where it actually adds any value and whether it needs to happen at all.
(Check out an earlier blog post on this very topic; 7 tips on how to halve the number of meetings you have and halve the time they take)
#6 Stop…for thinking time
It’s so easy to get caught on the hamster wheel continuously doing the same things the same way without making time to STOP, THINK and EXPLORE better options and more effective ways of working.
It’s a MUST for all business professionals to allow for thinking time at work. Whatever your role you need to create quality thinking time to work ‘ON’ your business and life. Try blocking appointments in your diary with yourself even if it’s just 30 minutes. This is your appointment with yourself for thinking time.
#7 Stop…and ask yourself this one key question
What do YOU need to stop doing?
In today’s fast paced world it’s so easy to lose focus, not just on a monthly or weekly basis, but on a daily basis. Here are five simple questions you can ask yourself to keep you on track. I call them the Focused Five;
- What will I stop doing? (Stop)
- What will I do less of? (Minimise)
- What will I keep doing? (Maintain)
- What will I do more of? (More)
- What will I start doing? (Start)
#8 And finally…remember to take a personal ‘pit stop’
Build-in quality ‘down time’ where you decompress and close down the day so you can shut the door and tune into your personal life; family, hobbies, outside activities and be present in the moment. Often our challenge is that we put little time into ‘downtime’ which means we carry the day into our evening, never quite turning off and before we know it, it’s morning again!
When you understand your happiness is not a luxury; it’s the energy source powering your performance, you acknowledge your emotional wellbeing is on an equal footing to your physical wellbeing. When it’s low, your performance is low, which has both a short and long-term impact on the business.
Our ability to truly focus on the things that really make the difference can be the difference between hitting our goals and being massively off track.