Step 1: Clean The Space
First things first, it helps to have a niece that is bored and looking for something to do. This reduces your workload and lets you practice your managerial and delegation skills. If you don’t have a niece, children are also a good source of free labor, but worse case scenario – roll up your sleeves and get started.
There are a few schools of thoughts about cluttered spaces. An article from Inc in Feb 2017 says it’s bad. An article from Inc in Nov 2017 says it’s ok. I’d say lean toward what makes you the most comfortable. If you’re a fan of clutter – consider tidying up a bit. Old notes, letters and documents at the very least take up space and worst case – leaving old contracts and notes out in the open on your desk is generally a bad idea. Nothing sucks more than having a client come by for a visit and then realizing that you have contracts laying around that put you in an awkward situation.
With that said – everyone probably knows how to clean, so I won’t go into details. Just get organized, take a breath and enjoy not looking at the pile of dirty coffee mugs that should have been taken to the dishwasher a few weeks ago.
Step 2: Clean The Processes
Think back over the last year. How many times did you think “Why the hell are we doing things this way?” Well, now is the time to fix it. Most of the times our processes start clean and perfect. When we first created our processes were able to plan everything out and we probably felt pretty good about our decisions. When you launch a new process, we all love the feeling of sitting back and reaping the rewards of a job well done.
Sadly, over time, most of our lovely processes begin to turn from beautiful swans into some kind of weird chimera with a few white feathers that limps along, silently whimpering and begging for the efficiency it once knew. Now is the time to fix that process and turn it back into some semblance of the swan we once knew and loved.
Again – I can’t tell you exactly how to do this because I didn’t build your swan. I can tell you this: Simple is most often better than complexity. Flexibility is most often better than strict structure. Collaboration is most often better than going it alone.
To begin this process, bring in others and take a critical look at how your process has changed. Think through where you made mistakes and find areas of improvement. This doesn’t have to take a long time – it just has to happen. The end result here doesn’t need to be another completely new process – it just needs to be a more efficient version of what works.
P.S. – If your process is perfect and you don’t need to take advantage of this step, please email me about a job offer.
Step 3: Clean The Mind
Simply put – make sure you’re doing what you want to do.
If you’re not loving what you’re doing – do something about it. This doesn’t always mean that you need to quit and go out in a blaze of glory, but this is a good time to think about what you’re looking for this year. If you’re not happy, get happy. Work toward the promotion or work toward spending time with the family or work toward both. Don’t just do the same thing and get mad if nothing changes.
Take this opportunity to look around and make sure that what’s happening around you is what you want to happen. If it’s not, do something about it and come back knowing that you’ve at least tried to make a change.
Step 4: Breathe
Don’t forget this one. First off – you have to breathe to live, but secondly, you need to breathe to relax. There are so many studies about the importance of conscious breathing in our lives that I won’t go over them all here, but seriously – practice how you breathe every day.
Download an app, read a book or find a guru and work toward your breathing every day. The five minutes this takes may have a bigger impact on your health and well-being than any other 5 minutes of the day.
Step 5: Enjoy Success
You did it. Be proud of yourself, get happy and get ready to take on the rest of the year.
Also, if you made it to the end of the article, here’s a little secret that most books & apps don’t tell you: breathing exercises pair very well with a glass of wine.