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Process Mapping

In life, displays of skill often exude an effortless quality. The actions of a master are balanced and controlled. Obstacles are systematically eliminated with focus and clarity of purpose. Do your business processes seem effortless, focused, and balanced? If not, maybe Marie Kondo can help.

Millions of people have been inspired by Japanese tidying expert Marie Kondo to purge their closets and streamline their homes in a quest for simplicity, joy, and greater productivity. Her fresh take and infectious attitude have made her a bestselling author and Netflix star. Her message serves as a great reminder that it's OK to let go of things that have outlived their usefulness.

This mindset translates to the work environment, too. Think about your workspaces and processes. What sparks joy for you? What do you work around — or complain about — every day?  Think about all of the directions you’re investing your time and energy. Which routines work best and which ones seem pointless? Do you make progress daily, or just keep up?  How can you tidy up your business?

Maybe it's time to “KonMari” your business practices.


Home Base

When you look at your desk, what's the first word that comes to mind? Tidy? Barren? Scattered? Organized (chaos)? Your desk or workspace is one truly critical indicator of overall success. Consider these criteria for assessing its state:

  • Is it covered or surrounded by distractions, unfinished projects, and/or overall clutter? All contribute to clogged creativity and less-than-productive outlets.
  • What objects live in your workspace? Ask yourself about each thing: Do I use it? How often? Will I use it soon? When?
  • Does each object “spark joy,” giving you a positive emotional sense when you look at it— or at least serve a consistent purpose?

Pull everything out. Things you don’t need can be thanked for their service, then donated or recycled. Supplies used only intermittently or seasonally can be placed in storage.


General Surroundings

Next, look at your office. Can you open up the space? Are there rooms, furniture, or other items that aren’t adding value? Your office should be both appealing and functional. This will help those who work there as well as clients who might visit.appeal of an office space and its functionality. These methods can help:

  • Make your space matter. Encourage creative uses of the space as well as logistical.
  • Organize as you downsize. Place similar or complementary items together.
  • Strive to envision each space in its clearest, simplest, and most useful state. Cluttered, incomplete, or useless areas rarely spark joy or votes of confidence.
  • Plants can help both aesthetically and atmospherically. They alter our moods, giving us something to feel compassion toward, and improve air quality.
  • If you're finding it impossible to work in a space, consider moving to another. Sometimes, certain people and certain places just may not work together.

A welcoming and inspiring workplace can have a great effect on the attitudes and productivity of its inhabitants. Consider each entry point to your business as a handshake and personal introduction. Both employees and customers need positive interactions whenever possible.


Digital Dismay

As your physical spaces clean up, so should your mental spaces — those residing on paper as well as in digital domains. It's easy to forget about digital clutter, though, since you don't readily see it. Take a quick look at that email count, though: Are you reading all of those? Apply these methods:

  • Keep the emails you need and make sure you're actually reading and responding to them in a timely way. Some people may feel shunned — or at least frustrated — if you fail to respond to their emails, and these inadvertent PR blunders can derail progress.
  • Assess how much of your saved (or unopened) email is spam/junk and how much is necessary communication. Unsubscribe from any site you don’t want to hear from regularly, and pare down your email volume.
  • Don't worry too much about letting go of those email subscriptions, either. They'll always be there waiting if you decide you really need them back.
  • Once you’ve pared down the communications you want to keep, organize them into appropriately named folders so you can refer back to them easily.


Simple Messaging

We're told not to judge a book by its cover, but we are visual creatures, after all. It's hard not to take into account the image and outward personality of a person, place, or thing.  

Is your business projecting the right image and content? Does it come across as honest, focused, and direct? Your business should focus on what it does best and highlight those qualities. Use these ideas to assess the message you’re sending out:

  • Every message from your company should point in one clear direction. Do your marketing strategies represent your mission or only grab at short-term appeal?
  • A record of success speaks for itself and needs no filler. Strive to engage your audiences with results, not platitudes.
  • Although part of working is juggling priorities, a bias toward simplicity can go a long way in streamlining your path to productivity. Focus a majority of your energy on a minority of outlets.


Create Pathways

Your interactions with customers, regardless of the industry, will often be your defining moments. Making positive connections, offering real solutions and actionable results, and receiving well-deserved positive feedback are the hallmarks of true success. The routines and procedures that regularly garner these successes can be invaluable to a business’ success:

  • Positive communications should be a focal point with business partners and customers, alike. Engage readily, research thoroughly, and respond promptly and completely to any emails, texts, or search queries that come your way.
  • Planning ahead with checklists can keep projects on track and unclutter your brain. Besides making sure nothing is forgotten, a checklist approach also adds more structure to your overall thinking and business practices.
  • Putting good habits and routines in writing for yourself and your team helps everyone identify and emulate the right moves. Lead by example and educate regularly.
  • Thank those around you for their hard work and commitment. Highlight the positive, ignite (and then discard) the negative.
  • Im plement standard business processes that deliver reliable dailuy execution.

These suggestions to tidy up youir business represent only a sampling of the many ways you can choose to unclutter and simplify your work and professional headspace. Each person's approach is their own personal model; what works for one may be too severe for another. Decide what you need, what brings you joy, and what makes the final cut. As you practice the decision-making process, you'll find that it becomes more natural and effortless, much like your own displays of personal skill.

Authored By Guest Contributor Laura Gayle, Business Woman Guide


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