While it’s still pretty chilly here in Ontario, signs are beginning to show that spring has finally sprung! As the weather finally begins to warm the season brings with it budding trees, sprouting flowers, and the task of spring cleaning. While there’s plenty of tidying to do around the home and yard, I also find that this time of year is perfect for doing some business-focused cleaning and organization.
I’ve found the following activities to be valuable ways to refresh and energize my work this time of year:
Prune your business plan
The end of March marks the end of the first quarter of the year, making April a great time to reflect on how your business has been performing so far. By this time of year you’ll likely have some data that will help you figure out if you’re on track to meet your business goals. If needed, you can adjust your goals to better focus the work you’ll be doing throughout the rest of the year. A quarterly review like this will also offer insight into which business tactics have been the most effective for you and your business so you can alter your financial and time investments accordingly.
Reflecting on your business plan doesn’t need to be an intense process where you rewrite the entire plan if you missed a sales target, but taking a moment to pause and consider how the year is going for your business can be a great way to ground yourself and your future efforts.
Declutter your schedule
Decluttering your schedule goes hand-in-hand with pruning your business plan. Taking a critical look at your standard daily, weekly, or monthly schedule and figuring out where your time is generally spent allows you to make sure that the work you are putting in actually aligns with your business goals. Sometimes you can find business activities where the time investment dramatically outweighs the value provided. Other times, work that could be automated or delegated may be taking up lots of your time.
I find it helpful to sit down with a notebook and map out every step of my business process so I can get a proper sense of where my time is being used. Be careful not to fall into the trap of spending extensive amounts of time working on optimizing your time use though!
Neaten up your inbox & followed accounts
Another business spring cleaning activity I’ve found helpful is identifying and unsubscribing from newsletters that I no longer read. There’s an awful lot of content available out there and signing up for emails and notifications makes it super easy to end up in a situation where everything becomes a cloud of noise. If you’ve been getting email newsletters that are no longer relevant to you or your business interests, reading or deleting them is just taking up time that could be better spent elsewhere.
This same practice can be applied to your social media feeds - if there are accounts you’re following that are filling your timeline with information you don’t need or enjoy, then those accounts are just adding noise to your environment. Unsubscribing from such accounts can bring peace of mind and more space in both your feed and your mind for content that serves you better.
Tidy your expenses
Like with email newsletters and social media accounts that you follow, you may be paying for services or subscriptions that you no longer need or use. Spring is tax season so you’re looking through your finances and figuring out what you’re spending money on anyway, so this is a great time to ask yourself if the things you’re paying for are required or useful to you. If not, you can free up some money to invest elsewhere.
Clean up your documents
Documents, both digital and physical, can collect quickly. It can be tough to manage lots of paperwork and documentation, but taking the time to establish an organization system and regularly going through to clean things up can save you tons of trouble down the road. Making sure your digital documents and folders are well-named and sensibly organized makes finding everything a whole lot easier. A similar approach works for physical documents as well, or you could look into digitizing any paperwork you need to preserve to free up some more space. While organizing your documents it’s the perfect time to make sure you have a process in place for regularly backing up your digital files because losing years of work and files is the furthest thing from fun.
Freshen up your visuals
While looking over and organizing your business why not add a fresh coat of paint too? Taking a glance at your business documents like invoices, newsletters, and marketing materials and making sure they have a cohesive visual style helps ensure each of the documents reflect your brand identity and ideals.
There’s no harm in sprucing up your website and social media streams either. If you’re looking to add some extra visual flair to Instagram or Twitter, you can find plenty of affordable high-quality images in the gramthis.ca catalogue. If you have physical products you’re selling, you may be interested in a custom brand photography package or the blog post I wrote with suggestions on taking your own product photos.
Taking the time to deal with business clutter, looking over your finances, and reassessing the road ahead this spring can give you a bright new outlook and re energize you for quarter 2.