Head to the newsstand and pick up the April issue of Buffalo Spree Magazine to read Store Front, my monthly column about small business and entrepreneurship:
Although it doesn’t feel like it, spring is right around the corner. For me, green grass and budding trees always bring a sense of renewal. Spring is a time for fresh thoughts and new ideas. It’s also a great time to give your business a thorough spring cleaning.
Spring cleaning for businesses doesn’t need to be as dreaded as it may be at home. Look at it as an opportunity to shed some of the extra weight you packed on during the colder months by dropping processes and procedures that are no longer relevant, simplifying product offerings or actually cleaning house.
Althea Luehrsen, the Executive Director of Leadership Buffalo, gave me a great pointer a few years ago. I was drowning in a sea of never ending to-dos. Althea told me to take all of these tasks and organize them by importance. Every week, as tasks are completed, I crossed them off the list and re-order them. She told me to save the lists each week and after a quarter or six-month period, I reviewed the lists to see which tasks still hadn’t been completed. Which tasks were always at the bottom of the list?
I still use this method today. If a task is chronically at the bottom of the list, after a month, a quarter or even a year, you have to ask yourself why it’s not being completed. Am I lazy? Is this even important? Do I need help with this? If it’s critically important to your organization, assign it to someone else. If not, (and here’s where the spring cleaning part comes in) throw the task away. Cross it off. Get rid of it.
Suddenly your business has a little more room to breathe and a small skip in its step. And more importantly, you feel a little less overwhelmed. You have to remember, you’re not just a taskmaster. Use this spring cleaning to bring new energy and ideas and to your organization.
Just don’t add this exercise to the bottom of your never-ending to-do list.