Cheryl .

As we grow our businesses, we receive a lot of noise and our day begins to fill with growing “busyness” instead of growing our business. As we head into the last few days/weeks of any month, season or year, we can use the time to plan out how we want to show up next in our business and in our lives. If we don’t begin to clear out the business of “busyness”, our future business growth will be slowed down. Just like clutter builds up in our closets and on our desks, we have clutter that builds up in our email, voicemail, calendar, files and ultimately our bank accounts. Clutter for purposes of this discussion includes anything that creates information overload and hidden recurring drains on our time and our wallets such as time-sucking distractions and cash outflows from bank accounts or automatic credit card charges.

My suggestion is to take small and easy steps to reduce the “busyness”.

• (30 in 3 Rule) Schedule 30-minute time blocks on your calendar for at least 3 days each week to check email and unsubscribe from unnecessary newsletters – declutter your email box and quiet your mind. Studies show that a clean email inbox reduces stress, opens up creative thought and increases overall productivity. One additional rule for this timeframe is to set your notifications on your phone and computer to “do not disturb” for this 30-minute block of time.

• Make a list or spreadsheet of all the services, subscriptions and networking groups you use, how much they cost and the renewal dates. Use one of your 30-minute time blocks to assess the impact of each of your businesses and/or your life. Focus on quality versus quantity – declutter your resources and increase your cash balances. This can also become a practice in how to say “NO” to friends and family who may be selling subscription-style services, you know the ones that become those monthly annoyances that you are afraid to stop for fear of offending the salesperson? Yes, those. Chances are they have already forgotten about the sale and won’t notice you’ve stopped the automatic renewals. One client who implemented this tool saved $20,000 in a twelve-month period. You will be surprised at how many little purchases add up to a significant impact on your business. You can make this a game to see how much you can save and perhaps use that money to fund your next vacation or business investment.



•(10-6-3 Rule) Schedule 10 minutes on your calendar each evening, write down 6 things you must get done the next day and circle the top 3. This will help create a roadmap for your morning. There is something to be said for knowing where you will start when you sit down at your desk to begin working for the day. In the absence of a roadmap, we can easily get distracted and lost in our emails and voicemails. Creating this additional structure increases productivity and positive results.

These key steps are areas to practice and build new muscles. Take things one step at a time and break them up into doable tasks so that you will be able to complete them easily. Remember to celebrate and acknowledge your efforts at the end of each day. The simple act of acknowledging the accomplishments you have made each day will begin to help you strengthen these decluttering muscles and allow you to grow your business instead of your busyness. 


Cheryl Marks Young is the CEO of Creative Blueprints for Leaders and a Premier Success Coach from the Central New Jersey Chapter. She is an award-winning author, growth strategist and business matchmaker who used the very criteria and data points she created to find her husband - tracking 3,000 men as they migrated across 13 online dating sites - to help small business owners and entrepreneurs “define their life scape” and fulfill their vision.

Holding a Degree in Accounting and a Masters in Administrative Science and Global Leadership, Cheryl - a former Chief Finance Officer - has managed $136 million in budgets and $390 million investment portfolios. She is also the mother of two children who have severe food allergies and is an active allergy awareness advocate and policy campaigner.

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