Have you noticed what happens to your space as your life gets more hectic? Your house gets messier, your car starts to look a bit trashed, your desk gets covered with piles? Then it feels overwhelming when you come home to the clutter, drive to work in the clutter, open your office door to clutter. Life feels more chaotic. While I believe your office needs to be clean enough that it isn’t distracting to your clients, I’m going to make a case for your home and car to be cleanish as well. I swear it relates back to your practice.
We’ve established that starting a business is hard, right? Have I beaten that dead horse enough yet? It’s easy for non-work things to fall off the rails if you don’t prioritize. This can happen in real life and digitally. For instance, when I have a ton of work stuff going on and am not using the systems that work best for me, my laptop’s desktop can become insanely cluttered. It then slows down my tasks as I search for the file I’m looking for. During those times my house is cluttered. The toys stay strewn around longer than usual, the dust collects, the dog hair blows down the hall like tumbleweeds.
After a long day of work, I can get overwhelmed by all the work to do at home. I start to feel like a victim of all the work. When I work from home it’s hard to focus. I have to take time to straighten whatever room I’m in before I can actually relax into my task. If that task is something you hate, like catching up on your charting, then it’s really easy to clean, then do all your laundry, then scrub the kitchen, then pour yourself a glass of wine and congratulate yourself on all your hard work… leaving those progress notes undone. Feels a little like studying for finals, right?
Here’s what I want you to do if you’re in this place: take 30 minutes each evening to clean your house. Just 30 minutes. Set a timer and set yourself free mid-task. Do this for as many days as necessary until your house no longer needs 30 minutes. Then take 15 minutes a night on your computer clearing out the digital clutter. Start with your desktop and actually put things in the folders they belong in. Don’t dump all those files in randomly; it’s like shoving everything under your bed or in the hall closet. This isn’t high school; this is your primary business tool.
After your desktop looks good and everything you need is easy to find, move on to your emails. Start oldest or newest, I don’t care. Put the ones you want to keep in files in your email system and delete the rest. Go for the elusive “Inbox Zero.” If you use gmail, you’ll get a little message when you do it.
Similarly to getting your paperwork done on time you’ll find that clearing this clutter can not only reduce your stress level, but also invite in new referrals. You’ll be more open, less harried, not stuck in the victimhood of mess.
Give it a shot and let us know how it goes in the comments!
Allison Puryear is an LCSW with a nearly diagnosable obsession with business development. She has started practices in three different states and wants you to know that building a private practice is shockingly doable when you have a plan and support. After retiring her individual consultation services, she opened the Abundance Party, where you can get practice-building help for the cost of a copay. You can download a free private practice checklist to make sure you have your ducks in a row, get weekly private practice tips, listen to the podcast, hop into the free Facebook Group. Allison is all about helping you gain the confidence and tools you need to succeed.