Small Business Owner’s Mental Clutter Clearing Checklist

Flowers. Everywhere.

I love spring.

The smell, the energy, the longer days. It’s the perfect time to do some decluttering and cleaning up.

I started writing this “how-to spring clean for your business” checklist.

But then I stopped because 1) It was sounding really boring and 2) You probably don’t need a reminder to backup your computer or organize your workspace.

I wanted to give you a Spring Cleaning Checklist that you and your business REALLY need.

Because cleaning your physical and digital space can do wonders for your energy but if you still have a bunch of mental clutter no amount of dust-free white space is going to help you take your business to the next level.

Let the mental clutter clearing begin:

Here’s your list. Your mission is to pick one or two to work on for the week. And then next week pick another one or two. Try to notice which ones make the most difference for you and then turn those into habits.

  1. Make a decision on something you’ve been going back and forth on.
    Need to buy those plane tickets? Choose a bookkeeper? Register for that conference? Buy a new printer? Stop going around in circles and make a decision. Then you can stop thinking about it and free up some mental space.
  2. Create a system for all of the random ideas that pop into your head throughout the day.
    Like when you’re emailing a client and all of a sudden you remember that you need to research the best restaurant to take your best friend out for her birthday. Instead of making a full stop to research, jot it down quickly and stay in your work flow. (I use Evernote, so I don’t have miscellaneous notes everywhere and I can add to it if I’m out and about. But you could have a dedicated notebook or even a chalkboard.) 
  3. Get rid of people or limit your time with people (clients, vendors, coworkers, FB groups) that bring on overwhelm, anxiety, or drain your energy. Obviously you can’t get rid of everyone. But you can stop engaging with some of them or set boundaries up around your time and mental space.
  4. Notice the things you complain about over and over. What annoys you on a regular basis? What stresses you out regularly?
    Once you’ve identified the things you have two options: Change the situation or change the way you perceive the situation
  5. When you’re feeling overwhelmed evaluate the tasks you’re doing and ask yourself if you really need to be doing them.
    Stop doing tasks you don’t need to be doing, find someone to do them or a system that will simplify them for you. Do you really need to check your email 20 times a day? Do you really need to do your own bookkeeping? Is that the best use of your time? Are you using some parts of your work/life as an excuse to put off doing more challenging but necessary work in your business?
  6. Figure out what your genius work is and do more of it.
    After doing #5 you’ll have more time and energy for doing work that you love. The work that makes you feel good and gives you energy. This is your genius work.
  7. Make time for yourself.
    Go for walks, check out that new sushi place, grab a beer with a friend, go get a massage, or just zone out and do nothing. Put these in the calendar and make the appointments or invite someone to come along to make sure you do it.
  8. When you’re feeling like your brain is going to explode dump everything into a giant list.
    From the list organize it into categories. This can be by areas of your life/work or you can organize it by must-do’s and nice-to-do’s. Then pick one thing to work on for the week if it’s a big project or just one for the each day. Again, plot it on the calendar and look at it regularly to help you feel grounded.
  9. Pick one thing for the day, week, month that you want to accomplish and zero in on it.
    This goes with #8 and it is the HARDEST one for me. I want to do all the things. And I have to remind myself to focus. I get way more done than if I try to do too many things and end up overwhelmed and just wanting to zone out and do nothing.
  10. Congratulate and thank yourself for something you’ve done.
    YOU’RE DOING AN AWESOME JOB! It’s okay if your desk is a mess. It’s okay if you’re a little behind on your website backups, social media, and bookkeeping. It’s okay if you gave your kid an ice-cream sandwich for breakfast cause you haven’t had time to go grocery shopping. I’m sure you’ve done something great today for your business. Just showing up is half the battle!