Declutter Your Business Truths
We hear a lot about these days decluttering our wardrobes and homes, and, creating awareness around the obstacles of decluttering as well as the countless holistic benefits in my work with clients, students, the media and international campaigns since 2010, I don’t need any convincing on how decluttering our living spaces in the right way leads to a simpler, happier life.
Such information that gives people an understanding of the value of decluttering our physical environment as well as the real challenges people face with the process is thankfully becoming more mainstream. But what’s the truth about decluttering your business?
Clutter in our work environments takes the obvious form of paperwork piles, excess stationary, broken gadgets, redundant equipment, out-of-date stock or boxes with obscure contents. Anything that’s posing a health and safety concern or that’s taking up valuable physical space is of course considered clutter. But it goes deeper than that.
I define clutter as anything that doesn’t serve us and makes us feel bad, and this can be physical or otherwise. This might include work processes or systems that are causing inefficiencies, overspends or timewasting. Simply put, clutter is anything in your business that’s making you feel stressed, drained or demotivated.
On first impressions, it’s difficult to imagine a cluttered reception area as the face of a business that values punctuality and efficiency. Or a cluttered car as the hallmark of an entrepreneur who is reliable and in control. These things matter.
One truth I continually observe is that we never learn to master decluttering unless the focus goes beyond functional tidying, organising or even systematically throwing things out according to a set framework. That doesn’t mean we don’t see immediate benefits to our physical environment or feel better for a while. But real, long-term change only comes in our work spaces as well as our living spaces when we allow ourselves to scratch the surface and look at the message behind the mess.
As a coach, NLP practitioner, holistic therapist and professional trainer specialising in the “letting go” aspect of decluttering, the core of my work is helping people overcome the decluttering blocks that keep them stuck. Often, we’re not even consciously aware of these blocks or their cause – we can become gradually immune to a situation and it can be easier too to put on the blinkers. But it’s only when we let go of what’s weighing us down in our businesses can we set about what we really want to achieve in our work.
Being practical is important with decluttering, but it only gets us so far. And if “just throwing it all out” was so easy, everyone would be doing it. More to do with our thoughts, beliefs, conditioning and feelings, it’s the “stuff behind the stuff” that counts, and we’re all individuals in that. Our work-related clutter might be the result of being over-stretched and time poor. But as common as it is to label time the enemy – and business owners are indeed so busy – it’s likely not time constraints that keep you in resistance as you attempt to declutter your business.
Our business clutter has also crept into the refuge of our homes, finding permanent residency in kitchens, living rooms and even bedrooms. So, we never escape it. Paperwork is a serious culprit. It’s overwhelming in detail, and many of us have been taught to avoid throwing out a single document. Further to the time it takes to sort, physical paperwork (and its virtual counterpart) is a continual reminder of unsettling finances, unsuccessful ventures, unfinished projects, unhappy clients and other disappointments and concerns. No wonder it’s more easily ignored!
You can take the invaluable opportunity to declutter your business and make peace with any of these old discomforts. Not another thing that you “should” do but don’t really understand why, doing it in the right frame of mind allows you to take stock and shake thing up at the deepest of levels. To start afresh and feel free. To get clarity. To feel inspired, focused and motivated. To increase productivity. To celebrate milestones and successes. To see the space and potential in the future. Who wouldn’t want that for their business?
So many approach decluttering as another thing to beat themselves up about. That never works. It needs to be gentle and trusting – not one single person ever reaped the benefits of decluttering by throwing stuff out in a panic or all clenched up in the fear that they were making the mistake of their lives. We need to change our expectations too. Clutter gathers in businesses as well as homes over years and even decades, so you need to honour the process as you declutter your business. To understand what your clutter is saying, because it’s always talking to you. And, when we connect to the process with meaning, it gets easier, faster and immensely more enjoyable as we develop the “letting go” muscle.
Every single aspect of our lives is interlinked and I’ve witnessed again and again how decluttering in an accepting and open way benefits us in so many ways; seen and unseen. Truly let go on all levels so you can welcome in the transformation in your business and all other areas of your life.
MY 10 TOP DECLUTTER YOUR BUSINESS TIPS
- Decide it’s going to be a positive experience.
- Get clear on the end picture and how you want to feel in your business afterwards.
- Break your decluttering plan into small, meaningful, time-based chunks.
- Work out if it’s physical disorganisation or clutter. I see disorganisation as lack of systems for items you are keeping, whereas clutter is any item you need to part with – there’s a big difference.
- Get advice on what original documents you need to keep. Considering storing files virtually to save space.
- Focus on how something makes you feel as much as whether it’s needed or functioning.
- Create new efficient systems after decluttering and group like with like.
- Invest in storage solutions only after decluttering.
- Be patient, new ways of thinking and being can take time, and that’s OK.
- Buy a good paper shredder.
Are you ready to learn to help yourself or others declutter your business or any other part of your living space so you can enjoy lasting freedom and peace of mind? Find out more about The Declutter Academy, my professional training certification here.