Autumn has arrived! Right on its heels is Q4 – and a new year is not far behind! Are you ready?
For those who are gardeners at any level, this beautiful time of year typically beckons us outside to do some pruning – and maybe a little planting – to aid Mother Nature in bringing us beautiful blooms and bountiful harvests next year. We’ll pluck off tired flower heads, trim and haul away dead and overgrown stalks and branches, and turn under the waning remains of annuals or crops. Maybe we’ll plant some bulbs or condition the soil.
But the magic is in the pruning and purging – it optimizes conditions and makes room for growth. Now is the perfect time to do the same for your business. Here are some ways you can prune away what’s not productive and lay the groundwork for growth.
Get rid of tasks you don’t need to do. Are you often scrambling because you’re trying to do more than you really need to do? Whether it’s habit, disorganization, perfectionistic tendencies, an enjoyment of those tasks, or a matter of feeling in control, most of us pile on tasks that we don’t really need to do. First, assess whether a particular task actually needs to be done. If so, is your involvement in the task really necessary or of substantial benefit to you or your business? If not, delegate the task. Determining what you don’t need to do points you towards the things you truly need to do and identifies priorities. Getting rid of the rest leaves you with time and energy that can be directed to the areas that most need your attention while giving your staff members the opportunity to further develop their capabilities.
Just say no! We are wired to help our fellow human beings and that’s great! But at some point there has to be a balance. If you can’t tend to your own responsibilities, you’re not in a position to be of much help to anyone else. Rather than flying around with your hair on fire and your stress levels through the roof, learn when and how to say “NO!” Be selective about what you take on so that you have the time and energy to be great at it, truly make a difference, and enjoy what you do.
Remove distractions. Get rid of the “noise” around you. There may be some projects or situations that are demanding your attention but don’t really need it, so send those distractions packing. But giving yourself the time and space to focus is also about prioritizing and organizing. You may want to choose a period each day when you turn off your phone. Designate specific times to check email and mute audible notifications. Schedule your meetings and appointments to allow yourself some uninterrupted blocks of time. Consider sometimes working outside the office.
Organize (or reorganize) your to-do list. If you’ve taken the steps above, you now know what you REALLY need to do. Whether it’s hand-written or electronic, create your to-do list accordingly – which will also likely require some purging. Resist the urge to write down everything that crosses your mind while making your list. The point is to declutter your mind – not replicate mental clutter on paper. Differentiate between needs versus wants and don’t include projects you’d like to do. Those can go on a separate list you maintain for personal wants and goals. Additionally, activities like “exercise” or “go to the bank” don’t belong on your to-do list since they dilute the effectiveness of it. Instead, schedule those activities on your calendar in order to keep your to-do list – and your mind – clean and clear.
Perform a data purge. We all know how easy it can be to accumulate “things.” The same can easily happen with data. Set aside an hour a week to purge outdated and irrelevant files, records, receipts, manuals, etc. If you haven’t already, go paperless as much as possible. Begin the practice of scanning receipts and documents at the time they are generated, file them electronically, then shred or recycle the paper copies – or simply don’t create paper copies at all. Of course, you’ll need an effective strategy and system for offsite and/or cloud-based backup and storage. This is a perfect time to clean up your books and organize those files and records that document your business and financial activities.
The Minerva Group is a full-service financial firm, ready to help you purge and prune by sorting out your financials, cleaning up your books, and providing you with guidelines for which records to retain and for what period of time. We are also fully equipped to help you protect and grow your business, helping you develop a strategy and structure for sustainable profitability as you plant seeds for success. Visit our website to learn more about our expertise or contact us to schedule a complimentary review of your financials.