Small business owners usually run the business, work in the business, market the business and do the bookkeeping. It’s easy to devote every waking hour to work. Home life often suffers as a result.

Whether you’re conscious of it or not, your environment is shaping you.

Clutter makes it difficult to think clearly, about home issues and work issues, having direct effects on your decision-making ability and productivity. Since everyone’s so hot on the show Tidying Up With Marie Kondo on Netflix right now, I figured we should discuss…

How can we make sure that our work environment sparks joy?! I’m not just talking about your home office space, if you even have one. But let’s talk about three environments that do have a big impact on our success.

Your Home & Office Space

Everything in your home is influencing your mood in some way. A valuable exercise is to go through your environment and figure out what is irritating or distracting you. Does it really need to be there?

This is a great way to start to purge, or clean up the clutter. Ask yourself how your space needs to be fixed so that it starts to be pleasurable for you. Decide what things you need to “Keep – Give – Toss”.

Consider all the rooms in your house – even the bedroom, closet, bathroom, and kitchen. As you look around, you might discover all sorts of things that send a disempowering, negative message to you. These are things that no longer belong in your space.

You don’t have room for negativity in your life! By getting rid of this negativity, you make room for positivity or, dare I say it, joy. Scan your environment to identify items that can be brought in to increase the energy in your space. You might find that adding a table to your office gives you an inviting place for creative work. Adding plants often makes people feel calmer and connected to nature.

Your Media Environment

What does your bookshelf say about you?

When you open your email or social media, what messages come flying at you, and how do those messages make you feel?

When you wind down by reading or watching TV, are you consuming something that boosts your mood?

Social media, blogs, websites, books and magazines all have the ability to enhance your quality of life – or diminish it. If you want to get rid of the Facebook app so that you’re not burdened by its messages, then do so. Adjust your notification settings to what works for you. Use technology to empower you, not have power over you.

I’m subscribed to lots of emails that I scan, but don’t read. I’m not entirely ready to remove myself from these lists, as they have a time and place in my life. But I’ve set up email filters so that I don’t have to see the messages unless I want to.

Your Workload

When you evaluate your workload, follow the same approach that you used with your home. What’s not working that can be removed from the business? What can be delegated? The methodology of “Keep – Give – Toss” can apply to your workload too. If fact it can be really powerful to use in your business!

One reason that to-do items accumulate is that we feel like we have to do all of the work ourselves. One of the key strategies for getting more done is to master the art of delegation. Often, we think that we’re the only one who can master the task. Look at your list of tasks and decide which you must do, which you can handle having it be done less than perfectly (aka done by someone else!), and which you don’t really care about. It’s pretty easy to delegate once you know what you can farm out!

Then look at the projects that haven’t even launched yet. That half-baked idea that you lost steam on? What happened? Take a look and see if it was really going to contribute to the business. Was it going to give you a 10% lift or 10x results? If it was a 10x-er, why did it not get completed? If it’s because your heart’s not in it, then it’s something that could be delegated.


Remember that not all clutter is bad. For many people, clutter is part of their creative process.

Environments control us, but as humans we’re one of the few species that can control our environment. Let’s make it happen and see how it impacts our productivity.


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