Many of us are still feeling the effects of springing forward this past Sunday, but rationalize the early morning dragging will soon be replaced with more sunshine and warmer days. Seasonal changes offer great opportunities to freshen up homes, lives, and even the workplace. Here are some tips to get started:
Aligned perfectly with the concept of spring cleaning, decluttering your computer and office space is a great way to start the season. Be warned, you may need to dedicate a few hours to the project, so plan to spread it throughout a slow work-week or even for a whole Monday or Friday when creative motivation isn’t high. You can begin where ever you like, but I suggest the most disorganized or dreaded area should be tackled first. Some suggestions:
- Open file cabinets then toss old and expired paperwork (when in doubt check with a co-worker or simply keep). Ensure the remaining documents are in order with legible file separators.
- Ensure supplies are working and well maintained. Now’s the time to toss that stapler you need to slam super hard to make it work and to settle down with the printer to figure out why it flashes “Code 102947”. Keep a running list of items you’ll need to purchase.
- Organize your computer. Delete old files, ensure new files are within organized document folders. If your office uses a group digital filing system, designate sections for everyone in the office to comb through. Once old files are trashed, it might be a good idea to have one person finish the organizing process to ensure standardization.
- Dust! How often do you get the dust bunnies behind your computer? Are there dried coffee spots on your keyboard or mouse? Dust in the keyboard crevices? That’s what I thought.
You’ll have a good sense of relief when all the decluttering is finished. Not only should you have more space, but information will be more accessible.
2. Set goals.
Many businesses already set goals, but how often do you take the time to revisit them? Quarterly goals typically work well in larger businesses, while monthly and even daily work for mid-sized and single person operations, respectively. I’m not going to go over how to set a goal (I do suggest SMART), but rather want to focus on tracking the goal itself.
Honest evaluations are important for improvement. The seasonal shift its associated with brighter outlooks, a great theme which helps keep motivation high even when we’re not doing as well as we’d like. Take the time to evaluate where you are in your goals, what you can do better, or if you need to add more challenges for yourself. Don’t be afraid to scale back on a goal either. When I began writing I set a goal to write everyday for at least an hour, even weekends. I found I easily managed the hour goal during the week, but on weekends I tended to get caught up in enjoying free time with my husband, and even felt guilty if I had to sneak away to work. I readjusted: write daily, at least two hours during the week, then simply take notes or write in a travel journal on the weekends, without pressure to actually produce anything.
Play on your strengths, examine your weaknesses, then find solutions.
3. Try something new
Imaginative ideas often materialize when we are relaxed and inspired. Inspiration tends to take its cue from new perspectives. Come up with ways to expose yourself and your co-workers to new experiences or approaches to business.
For example, to boost business marketing, come up with a fun social media campaign where every day has a different theme. Try the Draw Toast trick presented by Tom Wujec during TedGlobal 2013 to work through difficult problems.
Sweat it out together by bringing in a yoga instructor for a lunchtime lesson, or heading to an indoor climbing wall.
When I feel stuck or unmotivated I head outdoors for a walk or run (on particularly frustrating days). I try to vary my path to see as many new sights as possible. The point is to give yourself a break from what your already know and maybe even to push your comfort zone, from there inspiration and creativity will have a chance to blossom.
Take inspiration from the warmer, brighter days to freshen your business. A thorough decluttering will cleanse, an examination of goals will ensure you’re on the right track, and trying something new can boost inspiration and motivation. It’s time to spring ahead!