We can always find ways to make more money, but we can’t find ways to make more time. The only way to find more time to do what matters, is to eliminate what doesn’t.
We often look at productivity tools as a way to magically do more, and I swear by many of these methods to work more effectively, but there is one little dirty secret.
We can’t do it all. With the tools and technology we have available, we can add endless tasks to our lists, but our capacity to do them isn’t endless, so the first thing we need to consider is the need to eliminate.
When we eliminate tasks from our to-do list, we unleash the true power of productivity.
Consider a closet stuffed to the rim, and you want an organizer to come in and magically find you more space. What is the first thing they will do?
Get rid of clothes you aren’t wearing! If you have ever done this, you will find it is magical. Once you clean out your closet, it is now easier to find what you have and use things (instead of buying another white tee shirt because you can’t find it when you need it). So even though you have less, it actually saves you both time and money.
You will also feel happier because our caveman mind is wired to search for danger by noticing inconsistencies. In the case of an overstuffed closet, your brain is distracted by all the bits and pieces that are stuffed into places, causing misalignment. This is why the home edit interest boards are like eye candy - they are dreamy pictures of order that soothe our brains. However, the home edit does not work by simply sorting by colors. It starts by eliminating what is no longer needed.
Several fashion designers have eliminated a wide range of clothes in their personal wardrobes by wearing a sort of uniform. By eliminating the need to decide what to wear every day, they are able to focus their creative energy on designing runway hits. As a business owner, you can also eliminate unnecessary daily choices and clutter, which will allow you to spend more energy and creativity on the factors that have the most impact on your business.
How does elimination help your small business growth plan?
If you eliminate products and services that take time and money without a good rate of return, you will be able to put your time and money into products and services with higher returns, which will mean more profits for you.
If you clear out and eliminate old documents and files that you don’t need anymore (make sure you keep those that are necessary!!), you will be able to find the files you need more easily and probably not make duplicate documents like I have. In any case, you might benefit from the use of the documentation you have by not having the others clutter your view and taking time to open them all to find what you are looking for.
If you eliminate software you aren’t using, you will save money and streamline processes. Additionally, by having less software, you may actually figure out how to use it better and find ways to save yourself time. In any case, jumping from app to app and trying to learn more software robs you of time. You also lose time when you don’t know how to use your software, so look at what you can get rid of so you can focus on using what you have more effectively.
There may be processes that you can eliminate. You don’t need to take shortcuts, but are there unnecessary steps in your processes that can make your business flow more easily? One of my pet peeves is unnecessary steps, like the three different forms I had to fill out every time I wanted to take a day off from teaching. Each step in the process requires more time, so the simpler you make the process, the more time you will have to do what matters which leads to small business growth.
The answer for small business growth is not doing more, but getting clear on what matters and eliminating what doesn’t.
The Chinese prepare for their new year by a deep clean which involves eliminating what they don’t need anymore. Why not start your new year off clean by taking time to review and reflect on where you are spending your time and consider what you can eliminate so you can focus more on what really matters?
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