Spring Cleaning 101: How to Purge and Be More Productive

By the small business content developers at  BizLaunch.com.

We all want to be more effective, more fruitful, and more accomplished, but it can be easy to get in your own way if you’re getting held back by clutter and overwhelmed by the sheer volume of what’s in your office. It is much easier to accomplish the items on your to-do list if you’re not having to clear a space to work first.

Take a look around you and examine your office. Do you have piles of things you’ve been meaning to clear out? Do you know exactly what’s in your desk drawers? If you need an important document or tool, can you find it quickly? If any of those questions made you squirm even the slightest bit, then it’s time to set aside a block of time and clean out your workspace.

  • Get a big trash can.

Look around and evaluate all the little things that you meant to get rid of, but to which you are still holding on. The book you meant to pass onto a colleague or the pile of old documents you meant to archive. If you haven’t done anything with them in the last 6 months, it’s time to acknowledge that you have other priorities. Accept that and move on. If the book has some value, reach out to your colleague today. If the documents are necessary for a portfolio, get a box and create a physical archive or take a photo and add it to your digital archive. The best thing to do is to let some things go to remove the physical clutter so that your mental landscape improves. When you clear out your office, your clean slate will help you get a fresh start.

  • Prioritize your efforts.

It’s easy to be so caught up in the big picture that you face confusion when it’s time to get started. Try to formulate what needs your attention in the short term and/or long term. If you’re behind on collecting your tax information or your client list is a mess, focus on what needs to get done first. For example, if you have your information spread out among devices or in different physical locations, corral them all together. Prioritize the actions that will provide quick results and do them first if you need to build up strong inertia to help you stay on track. However, do give yourself time to finish a task that’s been weighing you down.

  • Lose the fear.

It can be difficult to acknowledge that you may have been spinning your wheels or have not been completely committed to your task. It’s okay to change directions if your earlier efforts are not getting you where you need to go. You may have thought that your business needed an infusion of new energy and done preliminary investigation on an additional venture. Re-evaluate your thought process if you haven’t moved forward on a project. It may be that it’s not a good fit or you may need to reassess your long-term goals and reclassify your short-term goals. Either way, let go of the fear of doing something wrong and either get ready to take action or drop the plan entirely. If you decide to not move in a certain direction, remember to dispose of all the collateral that can quickly become clutter!

  • Design for Success.

As you start clearing things out, think about your priorities. Do you need a space for small projects? Are your files perpetually disorganized? Does your email inbox become your biggest impediment? Whatever the challenge, it’s important to establish a system that addresses that issue. End your day by clearing out your workspace -- even 15 minutes can make a big difference. Schedule a weekly file maintenance hour or develop a system to manage your email that doesn't create a quagmire. The most important lesson is to recognize that purging and productivity are deeply connected, so when you clear the decks, you make space to improve your workflow and increase your profitability.

By Andrew Patricio

April 06, 2016