Home Thinking Aloud Spring Clean Your Startup: 5 Tips For Removing The Clutter

Spring Clean Your Startup: 5 Tips For Removing The Clutter


by Rick Martinez, CEO and founder of Project BINK


Clutter is a drag. It slows us down, distracts us, and can send the wrong message about our work habits. Worse yet, it can have the same effect on an organization as a whole.

For startups that are always pushing forward, it’s only natural that they’ll leave a mess in their wake. After all, a little clutter is simply the byproduct of productive teams, right? But problems can emerge if your startup is a big mess.

The solution? A little spring cleaning. In fact, just 10 minutes a day goes a long way in combating the piles of paperwork and desk clutter. But good leaders know that a startup’s processes, systems, calendars, and people all need to be considered. There are all kinds of clutter, but each can be kept in check with a few simple, proactive tricks.

Streamline Your Resources to Get More Done.

First things first, declutter your time. Take charge of your calendar, and use it to defend your time. Say no to nonessential things. Meet on Skype instead of leaving for long meetings outside of the office. Block out your time with priority items that only you can do; then, delegate the rest.

Once you’ve preserved your time, think about which processes can be simplified. Ask your team members whether they have ideas for more efficient ways to get things done. Also, find out whether anyone can be used more effectively.

If you uncover people problems, address them immediately. Efficiency and speed are hallmarks of a successful startup, but both require people and processes to be synchronized.

The Benefits of Spring Cleaning.

Spring cleaning will identify what’s monopolizing your time in nonproductive ways. A calendar that’s optimized for essentials not only increases productivity, but also produces more valuable results with greater impact. Likewise, a clean, organized workspace will help you have a Zen-like focus, and you’ll be able to do more thoughtful work.

But the real saving is time. Time is a finite asset, and to recoup more of it is invaluable. That salvaged time can be invested back into bigger tasks, friends and family, or personal development, which yields even greater results for you and your startup.

Use this newfound time to evaluate which policies and people are best for the longevity and health of your business. As companies grow, so must its policies and people. Knowing the right time to prune or feed your company is the key to successfully scaling up your business.

5 Spring Cleaning Hacks for Your Startup.

Spring cleaning is an exercise, not a chore. If you can teach yourself and your team to view it in such a light, it becomes a frame of mind.

Here are five hacks to keep all of the tangible and intangible clutter at bay:

1. Hire an assistant. You know the saying: “If you don’t have an assistant, you are the assistant.” An assistant is instrumental. He or she keeps you squared away and acts as a gatekeeper of your time. Entrepreneurs want to take on everything, but that will keep your business from growing.

2. Clean as you go. Ever watch sushi chefs with a knife? They clean and wet the blade before making each slice. Neat freaks? Maybe. But the clean knife simply performs better. Each cut is precise, and sushi rolls look perfect when plated. Treat your workspace with the same respect.

3. Seek ongoing feedback. Forget annual reviews. Set up quarterly meetings to create an ongoing loop of feedback. Outside of these formal meetings, simply connect and get to know your people. Huddle for 10 minutes a day, and you’ll soon know who’s doing what and how well they’re doing it.

4. Establish a meeting rhythm. Daily and weekly meetings should be the norm. Those quick daily meetings keep everyone nimble, informed, and aligned. As your team and company mature, be sure to focus more time on important, strategic issues and less on operational issues.

5. If it’s broke, fix it. Map out processes that aren’t working, and it will be clear what’s causing the problem. This is how engineers solve problems — they visualize every step. As an entrepreneur, your processes need to deliver reliable results. For most startups, there’s often no safety net.

Building a culture that understands the value of spring cleaning requires you to embrace it. You’re probably guilty of doing 10 things at once, so your desk and workspace are bound to look like it! But now is the time to take 10 minutes and get organized. Chip away at it with 10 more minutes tomorrow, and you’ll be leading by example — the best way to lead.



Rick Martinez is the CEO and founder of Project BINK, a community and platform that guides people to purpose-driven happiness. Find out more about how remove the clutter and distraction in your startup, career, and life from the new BINK book.