The start of the year is a popular time for detoxing your body but perhaps your business needs a detox too? Now could be the time to clean up those bad practices holding you back and rejuvenate the body, mind and soul of your business.
Just as with detoxing your body, you could break down business detoxing into four areas – cleaning, dieting, throwing out the old, and giving yourself some care and attention.
Just as you need to clean out the toxins to improve your physical health, cleansing your work space, both physical and virtual, can have a wonderfully revivifying effect on your business.
Start with your office. How long has it been since you physically decluttered your workspace? Do it now. Tidy up all those loose files, go through all those scrappy bits of paper. What can be junked, what needs to be saved and where should it go? This could be a good time to create new filing and storage systems that make your business tidier, more organised and with improved workflows.
Now move on to your virtual environment. Is your desktop so cluttered with old files and projects that the very act of looking at it can feel slightly draining? Then tidy it up. Identify the folders that are old and defunct and file them away. Are there several files which could all be grouped into one single folder? Do it. Notice how satisfying it feels to declutter your screen. Now when you stare at it, your mind should feel clear and open to ideas rather than stressed and worried.
Do the same with your emails. Now is the time to go through all those messages you’ve been avoiding reading. Commit to it now, get it done and notice how much better you feel. Now that you’ve eliminated the unread messages from your inbox, take the time to organise your emails to avoid future cluttering. Can you create separate folders for different clients and suppliers? How about topic-based folders? Anything to make that long list of emails look less intimidating and more manageable.
Just as physical detoxing involves cutting out some of those tasty treats that might not be great for your health, so too your business might benefit from a little trimming.
How about starting on a personal level by cutting out something that might be reducing your productivity? Could a social media diet be the way forward? Try self-banning personal social media use for a morning or afternoon, or perhaps the whole day if you’re feeling ambitious. Try again tomorrow. Extend it to a whole week. Is there a noticeable change in the amount you’ve got done? If so it’s something to think about continuing.
The same frugal mentality can be applied to your business. Are there other ways you could cut down on time wasted? How about unnecessary spending? Pointless and outdated processes? Try cutting these out and see how it impacts on productivity and the bottom line.
Out with the old, in with the new
For a healthy new start, you have to throw out some bad old habits and make space for some new good ones. The same is true for your business.
Start with clearing up old debts. Go through your accounts and invoices and work out who owes you money that should have been paid already. Then approach them and ask for it. Simple as that. But in a manner that’s in keeping with your new Zen state of mind of course – starting the new year with bad karma would be counterproductive to your detox goals.
The same goes for outstanding debt of your own. Go through what you owe, figure out what you can afford to pay and pay it. Debts weigh on us, even if it’s subconscious, so clearing them can have a destressing, rejuvenating effect.
Can the same decluttering attitude now be brought to bear on other aspects of your business? How about your client list? It might be time to take a good hard look at those customers who give you more headaches than profit. It can be very scary to say goodbye to clients but think instead about how much better that time could be spent on a different customer who brings far greater benefits. The same goes for suppliers.
What about projects? If you have a whole bunch of unfinished projects from last year, take some time to figure out why they are unfinished. The answer could be that they aren’t going anywhere. If so, you need to let them go. Again it’s scary but notice how much lighter you feel when you release that unnecessary baggage.
Detoxing isn’t just about punishing your body with spartan regimes. It’s about taking the time to focus on yourself and do what your body needs to feel good and healthy. The same is true for your business.
Take some time out of each day to do something that makes you feel good and is good for you. And actually, take the time off. Don’t force yourself to get up earlier or cram more stuff into a shorter space of time.
Leave your workspace and go for a walk. This is easier said than done when you have a million and one things that need doing, but overall it will make your time more productive. Walking helps clear the mind and that leaves space for new ideas to come in. By the time you get back to the office, who knows, you might have had that inspirational idea that could drive your business to the next level, a solution that you would never have come up with trawling through emails and answering the phone.
If you’re really ambitious you could even take a detox retreat. Pull down the shutters, say goodbye to clients for a whole week and just focus on the areas of your business that you want to give attention to. Just make sure you don’t end up doing the equivalent of fielding telephone calls on the massage table!