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Photo of a pile of suitcasesI just returned from 3 weeks in Australia.

It was a truly amazing vacation, full of good food, great scenery and incredibly friendly people.

I learned a lot while I was there: the proper way to cut up a mango, how to drive on the left side of the road without causing injury to yourself or others, and the mysterious ingredients in Vegemite.

But what I want to share with you right now has nothing to do with any of these things. What I want to tell you about is the one thing that could grind your business to a halt faster than you can say “tie me kangaroo down, sport.”

How to zap your business efficiency

It’s really easy to put a drain on your business efficiency. Through my travels I discovered the number one reason so many businesses (and entrepreneurs) get depleted. It’s because of excess.

Here’s what I mean.

As I unpacked my suitcase at home, I realized just how many clothes I brought that I never wore, games we never played and snacks we never ate. In a nutshell, how much extra stuff I packed. My kids were even worse. They could have lived in the same t-shirt, shorts and flip flops for the entire holiday.

Of course I had to lug all this stuff around in my suitcase through airports, into cars, along streets. It was tiring, but worse, it was frustrating. Why? Because I didn’t have to carry all this weight around. I could have easily cut it in half and saved my energy and money (I had to pay for my heavier bag at the airport).

The same goes for your business. Consider all the extra stuff you’re keeping and things you’re doing. Is it truly necessary to your success or is it just a burden?

What I learned from my underwear

Who knew you could learn anything from your undies, but I did. What I learned was this: on this trip, the only thing I needed to bring enough of was my underwear. It’s the same for your business (not the underwear, that’s just a metaphor). What are the things you really need? I mean REALLY need. Take a few minutes. Look around your office and list the top three things. For me it’s my computer and smartphone. (I couldn’t even think of a third item.) Without these two incredibly important business tools my business couldn’t function. Everything else is expendable.

Pack you business wisely

Think of your business as a suitcase. Pack it carefully. If you have to sit on it to get it zipped up, you’ve got too much stuff and it will slow you down and consume your energy.

Three ways to get rid of your business excess

  1. Reserve the surface of your desk only for those items that you use every day. All the other items scattered on your desk serve only as clutter and distraction. Find them a new home.
  2. Fill your day with tasks that must get done. Imagine your flight leaves at 5 pm. What are the top tasks you have to accomplish before you board your plane? These are your priorities for the day.
  3. Look at your business systems. Are they full of extra steps or duplication? Can you automate or delegate parts? Are your processes running as efficiently as you know they can? While this exercise takes effort, the payoff is huge.

Now it’s your turn

I would love to hear from you. Do you have excess in your business? What have you done to lighten your load? Leave your comments below and continue our conversation.