At the office, spring cleaning isn’t just about removing the dust bunnies from under your desk and clearing out the storage room. As new life begins bursting in the world around you, spring is the perfect time to bring order to important – and often ignored – aspects of your business. Even though your region may still be blanketed by snow, now is the time to think about spring cleaning for your business.
Spring Cleaning Your Emails
If your inbox is like that of most small business owners, you have dozens of email folders to organize and store your messages from clients, employees and vendors. Chances are also good that you don’t have time to clean out those folders as often as you might like. Starting the spring cleaning for the business in your email will not only free space on your email server, it will mentally allow you to turn the page from old projects to new ones.
Clearing out your email involves four basic steps:
1. Empty the Deleted Items folder. You clearly thought the message was worth deletion from your inbox, so why not kick it out of the mail system completely?
2. Review the Inbox. Allowing emails you’ve already read to accumulate in your email inbox can happen to the best of us. It’s fine to leave a few important messages you need to take action on in the inbox, but not thousands. Most messages could likely be deleted or filed in a folder.
3. Sort through the Sent Items folder. If your email system automatically saves a copy of every message you send, you could end up with hundreds or thousands of messages sitting in this folder. In most cases, you can delete old items without consequence; however, if you need proof you sent something, filing it in the correct email folder will make it easier to find than digging through Sent Items.
4. Trudge through the remaining folders. Without a doubt, going through all the messages you filed in your email folder system is the equivalent of your least favorite home spring cleaning task. This task can take a great deal of time, but it will be worth it in the end. Don’t forget, current or ongoing projects will retain more items than a one-time project from five years ago.
Spring Cleaning Your Hard Drive
Contrary to what many of us like to believe, we don’t have to keep all our documents, memos and letters stored on our computer’s hard drive. If you already back-up and offload your files to a storage device on a regular basis, your spring cleaning task is complete. If not, your computer may run faster if you remove the files, pictures and MP3s you don’t often need from your hard drive and retain them on a CD or flash drive. You may want to purchase an external hard drive to keep everything stored in one place if you have years’ worth of data to migrate off your hard drive or network.