As the year is coming to a close, a lot of people are evaluating what they are doing to grow their business. I really enjoyed the article Jason Fried put forth on pruning in his own business. I tend to be just as vigilant about keeping things simple and high leverage. It’s so easy to let a lot of good things into my environment at the cost of the best.
I find this is true with all the choices of free tools, social media and services out there. Just because it’s available doesn’t mean there is not a cost. That cost comes from lost quality and opportunity. Too many things that pull on our psyches suck us dry of creativity, attention and those click moments.
Everything we let in or own has to be managed. It’s there in our direct or peripheral vision distracting us, pulling at us and creating small levels of stress because of an open loop.
I tend to be more rigorous than most in getting rid of things that don’t make an impact. What I have found is that my mind becomes more open to other possibilities. Also, I avoid the fiddling and time suck of manipulating something that just doesn’t quite fit or make a large difference.
The truth is that there were ideas that you may have started that don’t quite match up to what you are about today. There are tools that you still have logins and downloads for that you will never use. There are relationships – customers, vendors, partners, etc. – that may not be producing great value compared to what you see in other areas.
The whole point of pruning is to create an environment for other things to grow. Nature hates a vacuum and I think this is true in business. You only have room for so many things. If you keep crowding the space and attention then you don’t get growth. You get stagnation and loss of energy.
Take a look at your systems and see what you can prune. Maybe you can combine the functionality you depended on within another tool you use. Perhaps you could do much more with less. Or you could integrate some tools to make them create less data management for your team.
There are ways to streamline and taking a cold hard look at things that are performing with mediocrity or no buy-in can help you get clarity and you might even be surprised at new opportunities that arise.
If you had to prune, what do you think could lighten your load?