Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Serenity Tip: Spring cleaning

First, an apology. What can I say? I got bogged down with work. And if I've learned anything from tracking my time, it's that prioritizing is important. So I prioritized other things. But I've been thinking about this blog this whole time.

So! Now for the fun part:

Do you need to do some spring cleaning?

You may be asking, How is this fun?

Well, I've written here before about how clutter can steal your serenity before. Here are the two main ways:

* By clouding your clarity about your work (Where's that article I printed out again? Where are my notes? I know I wrote that person's phone number down somewhere...)
* By potentially helping you lose bills and get behind in payments. As we all know, money stress will beat the serenity out of us every time.

It's all about focusing on what you can't control instead of what you can.

So try these steps for your business spring cleaning:

* Scan in old contracts and important documents from previous clients.
* SHRED those papers and recycle the file folders for future use.
* Go through old files and make a list of potential story ideas (if you're a freelance writer, like me) or potential new markets for your business.
* Save what you need from those old papers (anything that will be useful in future marketing) and recycle or shred the rest.
* Move tax documents from 2004 and before into files marked "Destroy on XXXX." Those XXXs represent five years after the tax year. That's, I believe, the statute of limitations on audits.
* OR, scan all your tax docs into your computer and shred the papers.

And finally:

* BACK UP all those newly scanned files. Once they're on your external drive, you can delete them from your computer's hard drive to save space.

You can also use this time to go through all old material:

* Do you really need all those books you bought over the past five years? Some are probably for issues or technology that's obsolete.
* Do you have office furniture that's broken and stashed in the corner? Look up your local hauling company or list the stuff on FreeCycle.
* Sell the stuff that's good enough to sell.
* If you've replaced computer equipment in the past year, chances are you have an old CRT monitor laying around. In many areas you can recycle those, too.

Have I inspired you? What's one thing you can do to toss out the old this spring?

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