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The Business Cleanse

Rid your practice of the toxins that can slow your momentum in the New Year

by Victoria Bowen

You may have read a lot about ways to start implementing healthy business habits in the New Year. A fresh year can be a great time for new ideas and strategies, but first take the time to review and clear your business of the old and unnecessary. Just like your body can build up toxins and impurities, so too can your business.

A five-day “business cleanse,” like a physical cleanse, gives you a chance to clear your work system of some of the toxins and bad habits that may be preventing you from growing and that may actually be hindering the growth of your business. Taking a few simple steps can go a long way to helping you clear out some of the toxins that have built up in your business so that the positive resolutions you’ve made can take hold in the New Year.

The Five Day Business Cleanse

Day One: Clean your office

The first day of a cleanse is often the hardest, and this one is no exception. Look at the clutter in your office and make the choice to clear out the old. Take the time to clean out your filing cabinets, desk, and other hidden places of unnecessary items and old documents (remembering to review compliance requirements for document storage first).

Don’t just throw them away: Recycle what you can, and hire a shredding service pick up anything sensitive. You might be surprised at how much unnecessary paper has accumulated in your office, not to mention what a relief it is to get it out the door.

Once you’ve finished with your file cabinets, turn your attention to your desk and other workspaces.  A disorganized workspace not only makes it difficult to work efficiently, but also can give a bad impression to clients and prospects that come to your office.  It is most effective to take everything off your desk and give it a good cleaning.  Wipe down your monitor and keyboard and phone.  Return those items that really belong on your desk or your office for that matter.  For each item, ask yourself, does this really belong in my office? How often do I use it? If you do use something, try to find a place for it that is convenient and accessible (don’t forget to utilize the drawers you may have cleared out). If you don’t use it, move it out of your workspace.

Day Two: Clean your computer

Very few people can keep their electronic files organized and pristine. Take a day to clean up your computer: Delete unneeded files, reorganize your folders, and back up your hard drive. You should be regularly performing secure digital back-ups, so take some time to review the options and select one if you haven’t already. Call your compliance and/or technology department if you’re not sure how to approach this – that is what they’re there for!

Make sure your computer is in good health for the New Year by updating your anti-virus software, running a scan, and maybe even defragmenting your hard drive. Your computer will thank you, and you’ll find your work life to be much easier without the additional stress of waiting impatiently for files to open.

Day Three: Clean your inbox

Email can be a major source of stress, especially once it starts piling up. Take the time to focus on your email for an hour or two: Delete unnecessary mails, flag action-items for follow-up, set up folders for organization, and reply to whatever you’ve been putting off. Take a few more minutes to manage your subscriptions – do you really need all those newsletters? Unsubscribe to subscriptions you do not need, and consider adjusting the frequency of the ones you do want (do you really need a daily email from your LinkedIN group?). Addressing these mundane but important tasks will make it much easier, and much less distracting, to manage your inbox in the New Year.

Day Four: Accomplish that task you’ve been avoiding

We all have that one thing we hate to do and that we avoid at all costs. Make Day 4 the day you get it off your list. Set aside as much time as you need, but resolve to spend at least thirty minutes addressing this task. You will probably find that once you get started, it doesn’t take nearly as long or cause nearly as much pain as you were expecting.

The feeling of relief you’ll experience when crossing this item off your mental checklist will make the New Year feel that much more empowering.

Day Five: Reflect and review

Clearing business toxins also includes addressing mental ones. Take time to reflect on your past year and address some of the negative thoughts that might be sticking with you. Negativity can arise from many things including frustration about growing your business, uncertainty in the market and compliance to name a few.

Acknowledge some of these negative thoughts that have been plaguing you and make a commitment to being a more positive person in the New Year.  Write down and implement some specific action items into your routine (reading a motivational book or article).  Also, take some time to consider the things you’re grateful for.  Gratitude is a powerful tool to cultivate: research shows that it is strongly associated with greater happiness, a more positive attitude and increased energy level.

Now that you’ve cleared out the clutter in your workspaces and to-do list, addressed and released negative thoughts and got yourself into a positive mindset, add something that inspires you for this next year. A motivational screensaver, words of inspiration in a picture frame, or a photo representing your goals for the next year can be a powerful tool in helping your resolutions and aspirations to stick for 2014.

Wishing you a happy and prosperous 2014!

If you are a financial advisor considering Going Independent or making a change in the new year, call us toll free for a free consultation at 855-464-4634.


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