Since most solopreneurs I know work from home, it makes sense to talk about home care even though it’s not strictly business. Your environment plays a huge role in how you feel, how much you get done and the quality of that work. One of the most common plagues of modern living is clutter. Although there are many types of non-physical clutter, I’m specifically talking about physical clutter here.
“Stuff” is relatively cheap now in terms of time, effort and money to acquire it. Relatively cheap postal rates are a boon for junk mailers. Magazines and newspapers take it upon themselves to subscribe you in order to pump up their circulation numbers. Add to that the normal upgrade cycle of all the various electronics devices and it makes for a lot of potential clutter.
Note that I called it potential clutter. All of the stuff that comes into your house has the potential to become clutter if left unchecked. Since the inflow is more or less ongoing, the mitigation needs to be ongoing as well. For years, I’ve cultivated the habit of continually decluttering. It’s something that happens casually throughout the day. If I buy a new pair of pants, I scan my existing pants to see what can be donated. If I’m putting something away and the cabinet or shelf seems crowded, I do a quick sweep to see what can go. I do a big yearly kitchen/pantry decluttering every winter.
Recently, I’ve adopted a slightly more formal approach that has been working great and has helped my business as well. I now declutter 15 minutes a day (props to flylady.net for the idea). One of the helpful things in this approach for me has been to use a wide definition of decluttering. It’s not just the “clean out the closet” tasks, but also putting everything back where it belongs. What’s great about this is that there’s never too much accumulation and there’s a set time to take care of it every day. When you practice 15 minutes a day of decluttering, you’ll find that most of the time you can put away anything left out in the last day or so and still have time to do real decluttering such as cleaning out closets, shelves and storage areas.
So how might this help your business?
It helps by taking something distracting off your plate when you are trying to work. If you go to an office outside of the house, it’s easy to leave home chores undone for the day since they are not right in your face reminding you. When you work from home, those tasks nag at you and may pull you from your work. There’s a certain pressure to feel like your house should always look good because you work from home, and this helps keep things tidy. By doing a little every day, you don’t have to try to find a huge block of time to do it later. If your house is in reasonably good shape, you’ve can’t procrastinate working in order to clean it. Having a clear space may help you concentrate or feel more focused. Knowing there’s a set block of time every day to do this kind of thing takes the pressure off. If I see an area that needs to be addressed, I know I’ll get to it eventually and it doesn’t hang over my head while sitting on my to-do list.
In invite you to join me in this daily practice and see how it improves your business. Many people make a new year’s resolution to get organized, and instead of that I suggest trying 15 minutes a day of decluttering. Tell me how it works for you in the comments.