You know that feeling you get when you go on holidays? I think it starts at the moment you get your keys to your holiday unit and you open the front door, and everything is clean, fresh, and white, and it almost feels like you’re in some kind of magazine home.
The counter tops are clear, the blinds are open to the gorgeous ocean view, and your bedside table has nothing on it except for a lamp (and possibly a blindingly bright alarm clock).
You come in the front door, and you sit on the couch for a minute. And all of your worries from home, your travel exhaustion, and work issues just disappear. You’re sitting there with nothing but a beautiful view and the people you love, and you’ve got that amazing promise of the start of a holiday that has all the potential to be perfect.
And then you start to unload your stuff from the car and inevitably, it ends up all over the bench tops and table, and you have to shove your suitcase off the bed in order to lie on it. The holiday vibe fades a bit and you realise there’s actually rain forecast for every other day of your holiday.
This is what it can feel like in your business, pretty quickly. Things start off rosy and fresh, all promise and potential, and then things start to get cluttered up and you lose focus pretty quickly. I know this because I experienced it myself in my first business, and in many of the businesses I have consulted for.
Things can get so messy. And it costs you time and money, and you can get so far removed from where you intended to go that you give up.
Fortunately, I took a little time off when this happened (hello babies!), during which I immersed myself into minimalism.
I consider myself on a journey, as an aspiring minimalist. It started with my physical possessions, after I read Marie Kondo’s Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (highly recommended!). I had several important epiphanies when doing this:
- It’s not about being organised, it’s about having less stuff
- Creating space in my life means more good things can happen
- Saying no to some things means saying yes to better things
- Quality over quantity
- Long-term over short-term
- Empty space is acceptable – you do not need to fill every void
While I was tidying and purging my home, I felt renewed and refreshed. I was spending way less time on maintaining my possessions, and the things that I chose to keep were things that were strictly important to my day-to-day activities, or brought me immense joy. Everything I keep now must have a genuine purpose – practical or joy-sparking.
The next step of my journey was to go digital with my minimalism. I’m still working my way through this process, but in essence what I’ve done is:
- Remove nearly all of my email subscriptions
- Systemised my emails to achieve inbox 0 daily
- Delete old accounts that are no longer relevant to me
- Import all logins into a password management system
- Organise my photos, keeping only the best
- Archiving nearly all of my files (anything old or inactive)
- Digitise nearly my entire office-worth of important paper documents and sort them into folders on my computer
- Make sure that all my important files are in the cloud
While I was going through this massive purge, I realised how much clutter I’d accumulated through my business. There were probably hundreds of accounts and subscriptions, all vying for my attention, and yet 99% of them served no purpose. I had client files from years ago that were still taking up digital (and mental) space. Folders customers had shared with me were still sitting there in my main file folder. Social media accounts I hadn’t posted to in over a year were still live, if you could call *crickets chirping* live.
So I archived* it all.
* By archive, I mean I chucked it all into this abyss of a folder I have called “archive” that I chuck anything I probably don’t want to think about ever again, but can search for if I need to in the future.
What followed was this sense of incredible relief. Like a weight was lifted off my shoulders and I was free to pursue new things again. Within a few weeks, I had new ideas brimming, more than I’d had in the entire year prior. And I was finally taking some action again. Action which propelled me in this particular direction so that I’d be writing this blog post here today.
Now that I’ve learned about the benefits of minimalism, here is how I am doing things different in business:
- I’m being super focused on my specific niche product, instead of cluttering my services up with all the things I technically can do
- I have narrowed my target market RIGHT down to my absolute perfect fit instead of just marketing to all “businesses and business owners”
- I’m being very selective about the products and services I engage to help my business grow/run
- I’m keeping my file systems simple
- I’m archiving files as soon as they’ve served their purpose
- I’m focusing my time and energies on the activities that spark joy
- I’m letting this joy flow into what I do, being authentically me at all times
- I’m also focusing my time and energies into the activities that I know drive profit, and eliminating anything that clutters up my time without adding value
- I’m saying no to a lot more people and things
- I’m creating as much space as I can to avoid getting “busy” and leave room for all of the best opportunities that I know will come up
So far, so good. This approach to business is much healthier and I believe more productive and profitable. I’ll be sure to keep you updated on how my journey progresses… but based on my experience this last year, I’d highly recommend it!
I’d love to know – do you operate your business this way? Have you discovered minimalism in your own life and applied it like this, or do you have a different approach?