Less than a week into the New Year, “streamlining” has popped up as a trend in articles around the web. Streamlining focuses on making changes to simplify processes and become more efficient, and the start of a new year is a logical time for most people to do a review and see what areas of their lives could be ripe for some changes.
Begin With the Basics
A good way to start a review of your activities is to look at the basics. Mine consist of parenting duties, health management and business. Those alone can fill up a person’s week, once you throw in the occasional social and in-person activities like volunteering, tennis, mah jongg and a monthly book club. Now, make a list of “must-dos” for each of the basics. Those are the things you can’t address as part of the streamlining process because you can’t drop or remove them.
Don’t ignore these “must-dos,” though. Keep an open mind about finding a more efficient way to do some of them. For example, instead of exercising for 60 minutes straight, it might be better to break it up into three 20-minute sessions. Although you still exercise for the same amount of time, you may find that you can accomplish more with gaps in between the sessions.
Areas for Streamlining
At this point, you look at the rest of your activities to see what you can streamline. Here’s a list of things to consider.
- Changing direction. Streamlining isn’t limited to cutting back and dropping activities, but also to consolidating or changing up the work you do to align it with your goals.
- Replace one for one. I’ve heard expert organizers recommend getting rid of an equal number of objects whenever you bring in new clothes, shoes or toys. This avoids building up clutter. Doing the same for your work activities keeps you sharp and focused, instead of spreading yourself thin.
- Dropping energy-draining clients and projects. It scares some folks to think of dropping a client and losing the income, but think of how much more energy you’ll have working with two great replacements instead. Energy-draining clients may bring in income, but it doesn’t add up when you consider the time it takes you to do the work.
- Social networking. I’m also seeing a trend in articles discussing cutting back social-networking usage. The key is to make the most of the time you spend on social media.
- Unpaid activities. I don’t post as many entries on my blog as I have in the past. That’s because my clients’ blogs come first. My blog receives at least one update a week, enough to keep its content fresh. Sometimes I start writing a post in my blog only to find it fits my client’s blog, so off it goes to that blog. Clients’ blogs not only provide income, but also more traffic and a reputation boost.
- Professional organizations. Do you need to belong to all those professional organizations? Do you need to participate in all those events and activities?
How do you streamline your business to ensure you stay on track?
Photo credit: Kymberly Vohsen