As the lovely extra hour I've been enjoying slipped by this weekend, I was reminded that spring is indeed on the way. That of course also lead me to the thoughts about spring cleaning and clearing up clutter in one's business.
So today I wanted to share with you my top five ways ways to clean up the clutter in your projects and get moving. Here we go:
1. Not every email is equal- It's very easy to get completely bogged down by your email. A book that I recommend reading about this very topic is The Hamster Revolution, but in addition to grabbing your copy of that, there are plenty of emails that waste time. What I do is create an autofilter for anything that I consider reading material. I can then get to it whenever and it isn't crowding up my inbox. I also have a folder titled "Social Media" where all of my twitter, foursquare, Linkedin info goes as well. This way I can check it all at once. Lastly, I take stock every once and awhile of the things I do not read and I simply unsubscribe. I realize that I don't need every new piece of info that comes my way and it makes me more productive in the long run.
2. Templates- There are many times where I have to write the same email many times over. At the very beginning I used to spend hours doing this or some variation on it. Then I started creating templates for particular responses and it made my life so much easier. I now have a template for almost any situation that I can easily plug into an email blast service. It saves me a ton of time and cuts down on the clutter immensely.
3. One sentence reminders on lists- When I have a ton of tasks cluttering my inbox, I look at the basic thing that has to get done and break it down into one sentence. I then file the email away and come back to it later when I am going through my list. This saves me a lot of time that I would spend surfing through old emails of things I have to do.
4. End of day/ Early morning filing- At the end of my day or first thing in the morning I will take the business cards from the night before or the receipts and file them in a spreadsheet. I then can store the cards and receipts and get them off of my desk. The key here is creating a routine. If a routine is in place and you do this every day, nothing will ever pile up and get to be so messy that it is out of your control.
5. Mobile phone as extension of the computer- One of the great things about your phone syncing to your computer is that you can deal with your email on there. The thing I do that helps me is to completely delete anything that I will not be looking at later. If a new blog post comes in, I read it and delete it. I can always find it again on the internet if I really need to see it again. This clears up both my blackberry and inbox. It takes some getting used to, but once you start getting comfortable with deleting, you'll save a lot more time.
And there you have it. Now go out there and clean up that mess!
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