The Spring equinox in the Northern Hemisphere starts March 20th, lasts until June 21st 2023, and is defined by when the sun crosses the celestial equator going south to north. You may consider the onset of spring as the date on which the first daffodil flowers or the first birds make their nests or the date you can stop wearing your winter coat! It ultimately represents the growth of new animal life, plants, and flowers – mother nature at her best.
The same principle applies equally in business and life. What new seeds, plants, projects, and plans have you set out for growth to spring forth in the coming months or even years?
Here are my eight spring cleaning tips for business success, or more specifically, eight things you can ‘stop’ doing right now 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, or 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 increase focus and concentration and help you burn through more work than ever.
#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 unimportant
Every time you say ‘yes’ to something unimportant, you say ‘no’ to something important.
You can’t be all things to all people. Know your priorities. Know your goals. Know what needs to be done over the coming weeks and months to feel that you have played your best game.
#5 Stop… attending meetings for meetings’ sake
How often 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 needs to occur, where it adds any value, and whether it needs to happen.
(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 owners and leaders to allow for thinking time at work. Whatever your role, you must create quality thinking time to work ‘ON’ your business and life. Try blocking appointments in your diary with yourself, even for 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 daily. 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 entirely 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 well-being is on an equal footing to your physical well-being. 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 make the difference can be the difference between hitting our goals and being massively off track.