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Clutter Clearing: Removing Barriers to Retail Success

Clutter Clearing: Removing Barriers to Retail Success

    Your retail space is so appealing, neat and organized. But, look behind the checkout counter. Check the storeroom. That’s another story! And, the office. . . let’s not even go there! It’s quite common for the public spaces in retail establishments to shine while the work areas that are visible to staff and management are littered with clutter of all kinds.

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    You may be thinking, “It’s the public areas that affect the bottom line, right?” Think again. All areas of a business affect the bottom line. Feng shui teaches that everything is connected. Clutter, dirt and disorder in one part of the establishment are sources of negative energy and that negative vibration will affect all other areas of the business. If that energy happens to be located in the area that holds energies associated with wealth and prosperity, the business may suffer financial challenges. If it is located in the area that holds energies associated with fame and reputation, it could experience difficulties with visibility and attracting business. If it is located in the areas associated with children or family, there could be difficulties with employees. And, if that source of negative energy is located in the area that holds energies associated with helpful people, the business could have difficulty attracting customers.

    In addition, clutter in those out of sight places has a profound effect on staff morale, behavior and efficiency. A cluttered environment attracts more of the same. In retail it could manifest in a fuzzy, cluttered brain that is less able to make good decisions with customers. Or, a cluttered space with its annoying, irritating energy could lead to irritations among staff members. If nothing else, clutter in the areas of the business that are visible only to staff creates a double standard. The public gets and deserves to have a pristine environment, but the staff must tolerate clutter and visual chaos. What message does that send to staff about their importance to the business?

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    If a business has an office on site, think of it as the physical brain of the business. A cluttered brain operates ineffectively, is unable to make good decisions consistently, and tends to be reactive rather than proactive. Can you really afford to have a cluttered business office?

    So now what? First, if you have neglected those out of sight places in your retail establishment, you must begin viewing those areas as just as significant as the public spaces. You may not worry as much about their decor, but investing energy to make them neat, clean and organized will have a big payoff on many levels.

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    An initial cleanup will be necessary plus the establishment of procedures for maintaining order and cleanliness. Job descriptions should include clear expectations about maintaining both the retail and the out of sight spaces of the business.

    And, the business office. Clear it of anything that does not pertain to the current operation of the business and management of employees. Old records should be archived in another part of the building or off site. Keeping only current documents and records, with the exception of old records necessary for current operations, keeps the business alive and vital. Old records can be distracting and take up prime real estate in the brain of the business.

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    Clear the clutter. Create a new order. Commit to maintaining a clutter-free environment and watch employee behavior and interactions both with customers and other employees improve. Pay attention to your own ability to think clearly, handle problems and make decisions. And, watch the bottom line. Having removed the clutter barriers to success, you are more likely to experience positive change in many areas of the business.

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    Last Updated on July 13, 2020

    How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

    How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

    Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

    If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

    1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

    The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

    Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

    For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

    The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

    2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

    Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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    As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

    Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

    3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

    Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

      This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

      We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

      Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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      When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

      Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

      4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

      Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

      For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

      Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

      5. Make Decisions

      For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

      If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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      If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

      Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

      I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

      This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

      The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

      6. Take Some Form of Action

      Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

      The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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      It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

      Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

      The Bottom Line

      Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

      When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

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      Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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