Spring Cleaning Home, Business,
for the New Year
(c) 2004 by Cheryl Williams Levey, http://www.cherylsweb.com
Most people have heard
the term spring cleaning. Its origin is from the United Kingdom
in the 1800s. People would put hay on the floors of their kitchens in
order to provide some warmth from the cold stone floors. They would remove
the layer of hay in the spring when the weather turned warm. Thus the
phrase spring cleaning was born.
Being one to sometimes not follow the pack (my mom will attest to that!),
I typically do my spring cleaning in January. There are several reasons:
* The kids are in school and the weather isnt necessarily that great,
which gives me a chance to really get down and dirty with cleaning (instead
of playing or doing stuff outside)
* Wintertime (particularly around the new year), is a time of reflection
upon the previous year and of making plans for the following year
getting things cleaned out for that is a natural extension
* Its the beginning of tax season, so I want to get all the files
cleaned out and in order
* The house is being undecorated from Christmas, and cleaning
while Im at it makes sense
* In general, the new year gives me a feeling of wanting to clean up from
the previous year in order to make room for the new year
When I spring clean, I go through EVERYTHING under the beds, files,
boxes of memorabilia and photos, clothes (drawers and closets), etc. I
spare no corner, no cabinet. And everything from old underwear to sippy
cups with missing lids are tossed or given away (depending on what shape
they are in). This is not a one-day job. It takes about a week to get
through everything, and I generally have several trips to make to Good
Will and the trash (and various other places depending on what Im
getting rid of).
While spring cleaning does refer to the actual cleaning of my home, it
also refers to an annual review of my finances, my businesses, and my
goals. This includes my business plans and activities and an assessment
of how they are in line with my long-term goals. And of course, adjustments
are made to the plans and to the daily actions I use to consistently take
small steps to reach my goals. Sometimes, I even readjust my actual goals.
And although people dont typically think of throwing things
away from their business, this is exactly what I do. See, sometimes
things you are doing in your business are just not working and are actually
hindering your progress. And if youve been, for example, applying
a particular marketing technique for the previous year (or at least several
months), and its not been working. Its time to toss that out
and try something else. This applies to entire businesses as well.
Now, Im not saying to just quit on things youve worked really
hard to develop, but I am saying to take an honest look at what you are
doing and ask yourself questions like:
* Is this taking me closer to my ultimate goals?
* Is it draining my energy and using up time I should be spending on other
things that are more in line with my long-term goals?
* Is it one of my goals?
* Do I like to do this or do I drag my feet getting it done and as a result,
neglect other things that need to be done?
* Is this something Im doing because I think I should or because
Ive always done it?
* Is this something Im doing out of habit or nostalgia?
* Is this worth the effort Im putting into it?
* Is this getting in the way of what I need to do to reach a goal?
For example, I have a website that I have had for several years. All of
those years (including 2004), I have spent a great deal of time and effort
revamping, redesigning, re-promoting, etc. It was my first real website
and I guess I have been feeling that it will be part of me forever. But
I have finally thought long and hard about this particular website and
I realize that it is not a topic I want to focus on, and by forcing myself
to focus on it, it has become a huge obstacle in the way of things I really
need and want to focus on. So, I am finally letting it go, which is something
I should have done long ago.
You can examine and think about what youre doing in your business
while you are doing your actual house cleaning. The repetitive nature
of the chores is the perfect medium for some heavy duty thinking.
While youre at it, you can also think about what you want in your
life in general your life outside of your work or business. What
are you doing to give yourself emotional fulfillment?
Women who work from home (whether its paid or not!) are particularly
susceptible to losing themselves in the myriad of every day things that
need to be done for kids, house, work, etc. We tend to put what we need
at the bottom of the list a list so long that we rarely get to
the bottom. Try not to do that. It is not selfish to want to do something
for yourself. Doing what you love is the best example you can set for
your kids. It shows them that finding personal, emotional, and spiritual
(and even physical) fulfillment is just as important as earning money.
Yes, we need money to buy food and have a home, but it is not what is
most important in life, and if you can teach your kids a balance between
making a living and making a life, youre more successful than many.
The year 2005 for me will be a time of return a return to what
fundamentally makes me happy. In reflecting on the past few years, I can
see how far Ive come toward what I really want out of my life, in
spite of the mistakes and obstacles (real and imagined). Can you say the
same? Whether youve been actively working toward what you really
want or not in the past, join me in making 2005 your best year ever by
dumping what isnt working and focusing on what you really want.
Cheryl Williams Levey owns cherylsweb.com, a site
dedicated to showing you how to save time and money
while growing your home business. Do you have what
it takes to build a home business?