6 steps to a decluttered business

Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed by your business space, whether that be stock, an office, or your business administration? Is your desktop or laptop a bit of a mess with folders, documents and images everywhere? Trust me, you're not alone!

If your physical and virtual business space is a mess, you’ll spend valuable time wading through items that would be better off being re-named, re-housed, archived, or binned. It may feel like an onerous task and a time-consuming exercise to sort through everything, but I promise you that decluttering and organising can save you masses of time when you're looking for an important contract or vital travel document.

What are the benefits to decluttering?

  • It’s cathartic – think how satisfying it is to throw away things that you no longer need and how much more space you’ll have
  • It’s productive – you can set up a system so that you’ll know exactly where that document/image/contract is in future (no more blaming someone else for moving something that you yourself have actually lost)
  • It’s easy to manage – once you’ve set it up, it’s so much easier to keep on top of an organised system
  • It’s personal – if you run your own business, you can organise your system exactly how you want
  • It’s the way forward – no more clutter for your office or your mind

6 steps to getting decluttered

Step 1 – Plan

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Sit down with a pen and a blank sheet of paper and think broadly about how you could organise your existing products or services, business documents, images, stock, or folders.

  • Is it based on a system for each year, for each client, for each type of product or service, for each type of photoshoot?
  • Do you need separate folders for any or all of the following:
    • Action Plans
    • Business Plans
    • Clients
    • Events
    • Finance – including expenses, mileage, accounts
    • Images
    • Legal documents, such as contracts and tenders
    • Logos
    • Marketing
    • Reviews
    • Social Media info
    • Stock orders and recording
    • Technical
    • Templates
    • Training
    • Travel documents
    • Website info

Step 2 – Create a clear structure

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Utilise any of the above suggestions that are helpful to you, add to it depending upon your business, and create an appropriate structure that will make enough sense to you so that once it’s in place you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for in super-quick time. Make sure that you clearly label everything, and that you think about whether you should use any special categories, or in alphabetical, chronological, client, or numerical order. For example:

  • If you run events, do you have props or activities that you use for specific events? Can you utilise some shelving and storage boxes, so you can compartmentalise these?
  • If you work in hospitality, is all your information such as in-room leaflets and menus up-to-date, how do you store all of this information?
  • If you have overflow stock from a shop, would it be helpful to have a layout that mirrors that of your shop to help you more easily find stock?
  • If you work in an office, do you need to organise yourself by individual client, by client type, or by the type of service you provide to each client?
  • If you work with images in any way, do you need to organise your images by location, type, size, customer, gallery viewing, year?

Step 3 – Be pro-active and adaptable

Once you have a proposed plan in place, schedule some time in your diary, whether that be an afternoon a week (maybe on a Friday so you can feel that you’re being super productive with what can otherwise be wasted time), or a day (or two or three) so that you can really blitz your business and get it ship shape in one fell swoop. Then stick to this schedule and don’t be tempted to put it off. Get stuck in and really go for it, but don’t be afraid to change your plan if you find that once you’ve started you think of a better system. It’s your system, so go with whatever suits you best!

Step 4 – Archive and Delete

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Really assess the worth of a document or image and if you need to keep old or multiple versions of documents, then create an archive, label the document appropriately and then make sure you archive it. If you don’t need a document, template or image at all anymore – then delete or bin it!

  • Don’t be afraid of either the delete button or the actual bin!
  • Don’t hold onto anything for the sake of posterity, as that’s what’s been cluttering up your office cabinets and your hard drive space, and clogging up your laptop performance.

Step 5 – Backup

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Make sure that your shiny new system is replicated in any back-up systems that you use, and that you delete or archive unnecessary documents there too. In fact, you could even free up more space by moving your entire new archive(s) to a back-up version only.

Step 6 – Regular Maintenance

Once you have a shiny new system, it will become second nature to stick to it. Organise as you go, and you could always set aside an hour a week or a fortnight to make sure that everything is as it should be.

If you’re really stuck, then let me help you!

If you don't know where or how to to start I can help. Let me declutter your virtual or physical space for you and organise it into a productive, effective, efficient structure. It’s what I’m best at! I can also work with you to clear your cluttered desktop so that you aren't bombarded with gazillions of shortcuts as soon as you open your PC or laptop. Check out my Support Package on decluttering and organising.

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