Cleaning House – For a Super Productive 2016

As we say goodbye to 2015, you’re probably feeling a little frazzled. There’s always so much to do this time of year! Even if it’s all good and fun stuff, it can be overwhelming.

In the midst of all the holidays and travel plans, I’ll bet you’ve got your eye on what kind of year you’d like 2016 to be.

I know you have a lot you want to achieve in 2016, and I think it’s super helpful to do some strategic “house cleaning” – to set yourself up to be super productive in the new year.

Earlier this month, I found myself in overwhelm mode and I KNEW something had to change.

If I wanted to accomplish everything on my plate (and enjoy myself while doing so), I needed to do some clearing (physically and energetically).

Just like you, I have limited time to work on my business. Whether you spend 10 hours per week or 40 hours per week on your business, I want you to be able to spend those hours feeling focused, calm, and organized.

Being productive doesn’t just mean getting things done, it means getting the RIGHT things done.

I’m going to share what I did to have the MOST productive month ever, so you too can feel less frazzled. This will allow you to focus your time on projects and tasks that will get you results – meaning will help you generate revenue.

The new year is a time for a new beginning. Before you dive into new projects for 2016, I want you to allow yourself some time for cleaning, clearing, and organizing.

It honestly takes much less time than you think! I thought I’d need to clear a week or two, but it really only took a day.

Give yourself one full-day – or 2-3 mini-days – for this “house cleaning.”

Step 1: Organize your work space

While it may seem minor, you will be much more productive if you clean up and organize your workspace. When I have clutter on my desk, my mind feels more disorganized.

Go ahead and…

  • File papers you need to keep
  • Recycle papers that have been building up that you don’t need to keep and likely will never use. (If you haven’t referred to it in the last month, you probably don’t need it!)
  • Remove non-work items from your work space and find another home for them

Step 2: Clear the decks

One of the worst types of clutter is mental clutter and the clutter that builds up in our email inboxes.

Speaking from personal experience, this type of clutter leaves me feeling like I’m “not on top of things” and worrying that I’m not taking action on something critical for my business.

This is an energy drain and will keep you from being as productive as possible. Not only that, but once you clear the decks, you’re going to find working to be much more pleasurable.

In our busy lives, we often don’t allow ourselves time to clean out our inboxes or our mental to-do lists.

Take a 1-2 hours to:

  • Clean out your email inbox (use folders to organize emails you want to keep and delete everything else.)
  • As you go through your emails, you may find items you want to take action on. If they are revenue-generating activities (activities that may result in clients), make a list of these items and schedule in time on your calendar (yes, make an appointment with yourself!) of when you will complete these items.
  • As you go through your emails, you may find items that you don’t want to take action on right now. Put these in the “parking lot.” This means you’re not forgetting about them, but they’re not a priority right now. You can put these items on your calendar several months from now, or create a document where you list these items and refer back to it at a later date. This will allow you to let go of that nagging feeling that you have things hanging over you.
  • Once you’ve cleaned out your email inbox, it’s time to clean out your mental inbox :). I want you to do a brain dump of all the projects, tasks, ideas you have on your mind. Then, organize that list into items you want to take action on right away, items you no longer want to take action on, and items you want to put in the “parking lot” document to take action on at a later date. For the items you want to take action on right away, schedule those items into your calendar sometime in January.

Step 3: Rethink your schedule

If your weekly schedule is working great for you, then you can skip this step. But no matter how long you’ve been in business, more likely than not, there are some things that aren’t working so well that you’d like to shift around.

Often, we feel stuck with whatever routines we’ve developed, but the truth is that you have a lot of freedom. This is your opportunity to create YOUR ideal schedule.

Answer these questions to create your ideal schedule:

  • Do the days/times you see clients work best for you? Are they too scattered? Would you like to consolidate client calls to 1-2 days per week?
  • Does your schedule allow you time to take care of yourself? Be sure you’re scheduling in time for movement, food prep, time with your family and friends.
  • Does your schedule allow for unscheduled time to write/create content and market yourself/your offerings? (This should be at times when you’re at your best in terms of energy and mental clarity.)
  • Be honest and clear with yourself about which times are “work time.” I don’t care if this is 10 hours or 40 hours per week, but make this time sacred. This is time you’re fully focused on work – not browsing social media, doing laundry, or cooking dinner.

Taking time to clear out physical, mental, and electronic clutter is extremely powerful. Take it from me – someone who has resisted taking valuable time to go through my email, de-clutter my mental to-do list (and my desk). You can do this!
Now I’d love to hear from you!
How did you feel before (and now AFTER) cleaning and clearing for a productive 2016? Share your experiences below!

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