The birds are chirping, the days are getting longer, and everything is slowly starting to turn green again. There’s no doubt about it, spring is here. This year, I have been enjoying and embracing the season more than ever before. The ushering in of spring is often accompanied by the ushering out of the clutter in our homes with an annual spring cleaning. Doesn’t it feel amazing to rid your space of your unnecessary things?
Why not put in place a similar practice for your business?
At the start of the year, we are all about setting goals. This is a good time of the year to evaluate how you are doing with those goals, determine what is working for you and what isn’t, and freshen up your space.
Where do you spend the bulk of your time running your business? Where do you waste time? For me, one of those areas was having a template that I use to send quotes to branding clients. I customize each one before sending it, but I never have to start from scratch. Think about your interactions with your clients start to finish. Where can you save time? Identifying small improvements will add up and add time back into your week. The key here? Details! The more detailed you can be when making this list, the more you will be able to find those little areas taking more time from your life than they should. Try starting with:
- Responding to Inquiries
- Sending Quotes
- Scheduling meetings
We set goals for a reason. There aren't many feelings better than accomplishing goals we set ourselves. While thinking and dreaming and setting goals may come easily, the follow through can become difficult. Take time to evaluate. What have you already achieved? (Don't forget to celebrate!) Where have you made progress? What are the areas that could use more effort? Are there goals that you don't care about anymore? Maybe you thought you wanted to run a marathon...then you remembered you hate running. It's ok to change priorities but it's even better to check in with yourself, rid yourself of what you don't want to focus on, congratulate yourself for what you have done so far, and refocus on the areas you still want to prioritize.
Social Media Management
If there is one thing I have found that can become a huge time suck, it is social media management. I recently started a Good Day Design Co. Instagram account. I hesitated for several months because I didn’t want to start one unless I could maintain it and regularly post solid content. (Quick Tip: I have been using Later for Instagram planning, and it has been revolutionary for me.) There are so many social media management apps out there. Find the system that works best for you and use it, so you don’t end up working harder than you have to.
While we are on this point, which social media accounts do you use? It can be tempting to try to use all of the platforms out there, but a good rule of thumb is to choose two and stick to those. This will prevent you from spreading yourself thin and sharing subpar content on an overwhelming amount of options. Instead, you can share great content on only a few platforms so you can focus on gaining followers there. If you have accounts that you don’t keep up with or don’t see any engagement with your followers on, consider letting them go.
You know what they say about an organized desk and an organized mind? Get rid of those stacks of papers cluttering up your space. Recycle them, scan papers to digitize them, file them, burn them, do something to get rid of the stacks and free up your space. You will feel lighter and refreshed afterward. Then get yourself a new plant or a notepad. Why? 1) Because you work hard! 2) Because it is important to make your workspace somewhere you want to spend time.
Do you have a system for saving files on your computer? Having an organized system will make your life so. much. easier. When I think about the way I saved files in college it makes me want to cringe. I could never find files and relied on “Open Recent Files” an embarrassing amount. Now I have a system in place and can find files from years past with ease. Take time to start implementing a system and clean up past files as well. While you’re at it, delete anything you no longer need to free up space and speed up your processor.
No one wants to spend more time checking their inbox than necessary. Inbox management is a tough, never-ending task. It's like laundry for your professional life - you have to do it, and it feels good to cross off your list but is a pain in the buttocks.
- Unsubscribe from newsletters you don’t read. Why open emails or let them collect when you don't want to read them to begin with?
- Delete emails you no longer need.
- Utilize away messages. This might sound obsessive, but you need to have freedom from emails. If you KNOW you won't be checking/responding to emails over the weekend, even if you aren't leaving town, if it will give you peace of mind, turn on your away message.
Do you have any seasonal rituals to help keep you on track? I would love to hear what works for you!