March is always the time for some deep cleaning: we do spring cleaning at home, change our wardrobe because the warm sunny days are peeping out, but…what about your business?
Our digital life is often busy, cluttered, confusing and overwhelming.
Lots of apps, notifications, unread emails, your cloud storage that’s full of old stuff….isn’t it about time we all do a bit of cleaning in our businesses, too?
Here it goes: every March (but I strive to do this at least twice a year), I not only clean the windows of my apartment, throw or recycle my clothes, move all the furniture around for an intense session of vacuuming and dusting….I also take the time to declutter my inbox, my email list, my social media, my cloud storage and so on.
Because it makes me feel organized.
It gives me clarity.
It almost like a cleansing ritual.
So I thought to share with you my best tips and pieces of advice after many years of D.D. (digital decluttering).
It’s intense, there’s a lot of stuff here, ladies, but take your time, you can even download your article as a PDF so you can access it any time.
Ready? Let’s start!
Keeping our list “clean” it’s extremely important: if you have a lot of people not receiving your newsletters for various reasons, this WILL affect the deliverability of your emails.
In other words, the more people open and ready your emails, the higher the chance other “inactive” subscribers will see your newsletters.
But who are the inactive, bounced and unconfirmed subscribers?
The inactive ones are those who do get your newsletters, but they don’t open them.
They ignore them, move your emails to the bin without even opening them.
So they kind of take places on your list but they aren’t really interested.
I personally do a list cleaning at least twice a year and I unsubscribe all those contacts who didn’t open any of my newsletters in the past 3 or 6 months.
The bounced are those contacts who signed up with a wrong email address (for example they mistyped) or those who maybe changed email address, and the one they used to sign up for your list, isn’t active anymore.
The unconfirmed subscribers are those who signed up for your list, but never clicked or got your confirmation email (or double opt-in). So these people are in your list BUT you can’t email them. Legally, you simply cannot. Even though they signed up voluntarily.
They never got any of your emails nor they will ever get unless they sign up again and hit that “confirm” button.
Honestly, this is THE most important action you can take right now to declutter your list and make sure only the people that are in love with what you do are in your list.
I know it may be scary to voluntarily unsubscribe people, especially when you have a small list, but think about it: you are making space for subscribers who love what you do and who WANT to hear from you.
Besides, having a lot of inactive, bounced and unconfirmed seriously messes up your stats! And you want to know that those open and click rates are realistic!
How many software do you use in your business?
Maybe you have a call scheduler like Acuity, that integrates with Google Calendar. You may have a tool that lets your clients sign agreements digitally and of course your inbox, Google Drive, your invoicing tool… so, a lot of them.
What if there would be a way to simplify and streamline? Let me give you some ideas:
Can you use one tool instead of five?
Example: I recently switched from Google Calendar, DocuSign, Google Drive, QuickBooks and Asana to Plutio.
Now I create and send proposals, get them signed, create invoices and get them paid, manage clients’ projects and tasks and keep myself organized by using just ONE tool instead of five.
Can you do the same? Maybe you can’t but you may streamline your client onboarding process, for example.
Start small: ask yourself – what is taking so much time for me because it has a lot of middle steps? And how can I simplify the process?
Cancel subscriptions of services you don’t use
Is there anything in your bank account that you aren’t using, and yet you’re paying? It may be a membership, a tool like Zoom or Adobe Spark.
Get rid of anything that you’re paying for, but aren’t using. Or start using it!
Optimize your social media
Do you have the same content that you share regularly? For example once a week?
Then why would you spend time scheduling it every single week, when you can use tools like SmarterQueue? It’s a really useful tool that lets you schedule your own content, curated content AND evergreen content.
You can choose the frequency, and you can even decide to publish it until a specific date.
It simply makes your life easier, plus, if you use it to publish your blog posts, you can use it to bring traffic regularly to your older posts by sharing them every so often.
How many courses have you purchased and never went through or implemented?
I stopped buying courses. I have so many that this year I simply decided I would choose one per quarter and implement it, or go through it properly.
And I found some real gold nuggets there: stuff I had completely overlooked.
Time to pause your spending and review what you already have access to.
Backup your site and computer.
Can’t stress this enough. Regularly backup both your site and your computer: you never know what might happen!
I personally have a hard disk only for backups and it’s ALWAYS connected, doing backups every single day (on my desktop) and I have a cloud backup for my laptop.
Plus I use UpDraft Plus for a regular backup on my own website.
Clean up your cloud storage.
If you’re anything like me, you tend to accumulate tons of stuff in your cloud storage, whether you use Google Drive or Dropbox. Every now and then, it’s a good idea to organize its content, so you at least know what’s in there.
Ideally, you would want to organize all the content in folders, but this is a time-consuming task, so what about getting rid of what you don’t need anymore?
Simply move to the bin whatever you don’t use or don’t need. You will already see some order 🙂
When I don’t have much time but I’m feeling overwhelmed by the content I see in my Google Drive, I usually create a folder and name it “To Check”.
Then I move all the content I need to go through and mark a day and time in the calendar for when I’m going to check all the files and decide what to delete, archive or move somewhere else.
Anyone else having 40 tabs open while you’re browsing the internet?
I definitely had. But it isn’t really smart since it slows down your browser and it makes it pretty much impossible to find what you need.
When I learned about OneTab I was in awe. One little browser extension that lets you save all the tabs you open during one session and then re-open them whenever you need them. I. LOVE. IT.
Declutter your Chrome extensions.
As much as I love extensions, they do slow down your browser. At once I had Grammarly, Loom, OneTab, Tailwind, MailTrack, FB screen sharing, LastPass, Momentum and something else. And my browser was soooo slow.
Then I figured it was because of the extensions! So what can you do to make sure you browse the internet as fast as Flash?
Simply deactivate what you don’t use.
You can turn them on whenever you need them, but toggle them off when you don’t use them. It will make a MASSIVE difference.
Social media can be overwhelming, so why don’t we do a bit of spring cleaning on our feeds, too?
What’s the point of staying in a group if you don’t get anything out of it?
It’s just extra noise. Leaving groups or turning off notifications of groups you’re not interested in, can be something you can do mindlessly in the evening while you’re watching tv.
Clean up your own group.
As we said earlier about your email list, do a bit of spring cleaning in your own group.
No point you keep people there who don’t engage.
Sure, some may just not see your content because of the damn algorithm, so what about tagging them in a post, saying the who wants to stay needs to comment AND change the notification settings to “see first”, so they don’t miss all the goodies you’re sharing?
And those who don’t comment will be removed. Better a smaller community, but engaged and interested.
Remove friends and family as followers on your pages.
I know I’m guilty of this.
When I published my business page, Facebook sent a notification to all my friends, so I ended up having high school friends following me even though they don’t speak a single word of English.
Or my granny sharing every single post I shared.
I’m absolutely honored about it, but that’s not really helping me reach my ideal audience.
So I figured that you can remove people who liked your Facebook page in a click.
If you’re still doubting this, think about running FB ads: if you target who likes your page, your granny is going to see your ad. Is it worth it? Or useful?
Check the preferences for ads on Facebook
Sometimes I get really fed up when I see a random advertisement.
Stuff I never looked for suddenly pops up in my feed and I feel like I’m being spied on. Or worse.
So let’s just hit our Settings on the top right corner of our FB dashboard, then hit “Ad” and go through your interests, advertisers, your information and settings – just click over the stuff you don’t want to see anymore and that’s it.
No more annoying and weird ads on your feed.
Clean up your likes
When I signed up for Facebook, I used to like 50 pages every day.
They were sharing funny stuff, it was something new and it was entertaining.
Now though, I see some random stuff in my feed, being published by pages I had completely forgotten about, or that have changed name direction, or simply stuff I’m not interested anymore.
So, it’s time to remove our own likes from pages who don’t interest us.
From your own profile, click “more”, then “Likes” and there you’ll find all the pages you liked.
Soooo many, right? So get a cup of tea and start unliking stuff that bores you!
Update the news feed preferences.
Maybe you’re seeing first random stuff, so how about customizing (and cleaning) your Facebook news feed according to what you really want to see?
Sounds nice? So, from our dashboard, head over to the top blue bar, top right corner.
Hit the down-pointing arrow and select News Feed preferences.
You’re welcome ;).
How many times have you neglected your inbox and let emails emails pile up until an unbearable number?
Yes? Well, let me help you with this.
Unsubscribe from unwanted newsletters.
Got people who write you daily and you’re fed up? Unsubscribe.
Don’t feel bad about it: unsubscribes are normal at every sent newsletter so take some time to go through the stuff you don’t want to see anymore and just unsubscribe.
You’ll feel much better the next day when you check your inbox and you’ll see only those mailers that are interesting and you read with gusto 😉
Keep the inbox closed when working.
Sounds simple, yet are you doing it?
I rarely do it. Honestly.
I tend to keep my inbox open so when I see a new email I have the impulse of checking it immediately.
Though I get distracted from whatever else I’m doing.
So keep that inbox closed when you don’t need it! I promise I’ll get to work on this one, too.
Delete your email work account from your phone.
Honestly, it was such a liberation for me.
I still have my personal account, but I got rid of my business account years ago.
No more checking work emails while you’re on to go to meet your best friends for a coffee!
Check emails at specific times.
Decide when you’re going to check your inbox: it may be 2-3 times a day or more often if you need to, but decide the schedule and stick to it.
This way you are making time for your emails and it’s time specifically designed to go through them.
Meaning that you can select which emails you want to send immediately to the bin or another specific folder, without going through your main inbox.
Example: if you check the newsletters you’re getting on Fridays when you’re having your coffee, you could easily set a filter that sends your favourite ones to a specific folder.
This way they don’t sit unread in your main inbox and you can go through them when you choose to.
Do you get a lot of emails asking the same questions over and over?
Then you would really benefit from using Canned Responses. It’s a little Gmail addon you set up and then just create your templates.
Next time you’re getting the 100th email asking the same question, you just hit the canned response button, select the right template, customize if needed, and send.
You’re welcome 🙂
Change your inbox settings and see unread emails first.
I personally dislike the standard Gmail display of “main”, “social” and “promotional” emails.
I like to see my emails at a glance, that’s why I changed the settings and now I can see the unread emails first, in a separate “tab” above the rest of the read emails.
Really handy and much clearer overview on what’s coming up 🙂
Of course, you can choose to display starred emails first, for example, if you star emails to highlight the most important!
You’ve heard it many times – works smarter not harder is THE mantra for efficiency, yet sometimes it’s hard to implement, especially for an online business owner who’s not really technology’s best friend.
Generally speaking, streamline your client onboarding process.
What do you need to handle when starting to work with a new client?
What’s the flow?
In my case: discovery call – deposit is paid – agreement is signed – invoice is paid – first call is booked
So when I figure out my flow, I understood I could automate some parts of it and use more efficiently other tools, for example…
Use a call scheduling tool like Acuity or Book Like a Boss.
How much time have you lost with the back and forth of email trying to find the right time to get on the phone with a client/prospect? Too much.
It’s time to optimize and automate this step, and it doesn’t involve any big investment from your site, you can get already amazing features by using Acuity’s free plan. Click here if you want to read more about it.
Once the step above is up and running, don’t forget to set: A) Automated email reminders, so you can avoid no-shows and delays, B) let your prospect/client know how are you going to talk: if it’s via Zoom, make sure you include the link on every reminder email, so you don’t need to send the link manually!
Automate with Zapier posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
If you’re posting the same content on these platforms, you could consider the idea of automating the auto-post on the other(s) platform once one post has been published.
Example: I post three times a week on Instagram and five on my Facebook page.
I want that my Instagram posts are published on my page too, so I set up a “zap” and each time a new post is published on Instagram, it goes automatically on Facebook too, caption and all. Click here for more ideas about how to use Zapier!
Content creation. Batch, batch, batch.
Get the juices flowing and write all the content for the week or all the blog posts of the month.
Once you’re in the zone there is no point to stop (if you have the time).
It’s a real life-saver (for really, I wrote this whole blog post in February, then schedule bits and bobs on my Facebook group at once, and now I can enjoy two weeks off in Italy with my family – no content creation panic)!
Aaaand we’re at the end of it. I wanted to include other stuff but it would get overwhelming, which is opposite of what I want to post to do!
Now, I know I mentioned A LOT of stuff, and you don’t need to do everything: start small, choose one area and pick one action you can implement right now, and leave the rest for tomorrow.
And since I really want you to have a better relationship with technology, I’ve decided to make this huge list available to download as a PDF, so you can store it wherever you want and access it in one click: click on the banner below!
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