When the typical small business owner is multi-tasking so much, it is challenging to be orderly, efficient, and systematic. Just yesterday I was talking with one of my clients, a licensed marriage and family therapist. She was feeling scattered and feared
Some of us are born naturally organized, while others need to work on developing this skill. As with any new skill we are mastering, it takes practice and discipline. Through repetition, any of this organization tips will soon become habit and turn you into a super organized entrepreneur.
1. Stop believing you can’t get and stay organized!
Do any of these thoughts run through your head? I am not good at organization. I don’t have time to be organized. I organize things and then it just falls apart again. I have never been, and never will be organized. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy at its best! Your beliefs and mindset are powerful. Your brain believes whatever you tell it. I am so disorganized. Yes, you are! I am super organized. Yes, you are! Which thought do you want to feed your brain?
2. Let go of your fear of failure.
It’s not easy taking on a new way of being, especially if it’s not familiar to you. The negative self-talk pops up and tries to convince you to remain status quo. This is just fear talking. What if you try to get organized and you stumble, or completely fall apart? Then you just get back up and try again. A fear of failure should never stop you from taking on challenges, and growing into your best self. Organization is a skill anyone can learn.
3. Define your own personal definition of organization.
Organization means something different for everyone. For some, it means keeping an orderly desk and files. For others, it might mean getting tasks completed when they are due or staying on top of a busy schedule. Set some goals that are aligned with your own personal definition of organization. An example might be to make sure you straighten your desk at the end of your
4. Get clear about your goals and priorities.
Speaking of goals, always keep your goals written down and in clear sight so you know what you are focusing on. Prioritize your goals so you are working on what’s most important to you in any moment or time frame. When we are growing a business, there are so many different goals, it can sometimes be overwhelming and unproductive if we are trying to split our energies in different directions.
5. Slow down your life.
It’s challenging to stay organized if you have too much on your plate. Ask yourself what can be removed from your life to slow things down. Are there unnecessary meetings, or wasted phone calls? Can you cut out some social activities or consolidate errands? Try 15 minutes of meditation every morning to reduce anxiety and settle your mind. Anything you can do to slow down will help clear the mental space you need to stay organized.
6. Assess your current workload and learn to delegate.
It’s not unusual for entrepreneurs to wear many hats and juggle multiple balls. One of my clients, a general contractor, in any given day is acting as
7. Empower a team to help you get organized.
Not only can you delegate various aspects of your business, you can hire a professional organizer or an administrative assistant to help you get organized. A professional organizer can work with you to set up an office space that is clutter free and functional for your operations. An assistant will organize your various office projects so you can focus on the higher-level needs of your business.
8. Create systems that work for you.
All business owners have a process for every aspect of their business. Some of the processes are efficient and work well, and others are just the opposite – inefficient and disorganized. Evaluate every system in your business and ask yourself if it’s working for you. Look for ways to organize your processes and streamline your systems. If you try to carry out a process or system that doesn’t feel natural to you, it rarely works. Even if the experts recommend it, remember everyone works differently.
9. Deal with your attachments to clutter.
Most people say they don’t want clutter in their lives, but when it comes to letting it go, excuses are plentiful. I might need that in the future. That was very expensive. My mother gave that to me. Too much clutter gets in the way of getting and staying organized. The more stuff you have, the more stuff you need to keep track of. Recently, I’ve been packing for a move. I’m asking myself what I need so I don’t hang on to items that are no longer useful.
10. Seek comfort in people and not material possessions.
If you can remember that you came into this world with nothing, and you will leave this world with nothing, it puts “money and material possessions” into perspective. Your business will not grow because of all your material possessions. It will thrive because of the relationships you establish and nurture over the years. You can drive a fancy car and go to an expensive office every day, but none of that creates longevity. One company I worked for had offices all over the world, equipped with all the fancy Silicon Valley amenities. So much effort was focused on being a fancy tech company, to the detriment of building a healthy company morale. There was so much disorganization and poor leadership that eventually led to massive layoffs.
11. Get rid of excess and keep only what you need.
How many pens do you truly need? What are you going to do with old business cards or files that are no longer relevant? Just today, as I was going through all my office supplies, I found a dozen journals/notebooks of all sizes and shapes. What on Earth am I going to do with these? Donate them. You will feel a hundred times lighter when you shed all the excess in your life and business. And it will be a lot easier to find what you do need.
12. Make sure all items have a home.
I love organizational bins. It’s the perfect way to make sure all like items are organized together. Put all your office supplies in one location. Keep your books on a bookcase. File your papers in a filing cabinet. Or better yet, go digital. Create a bin for all your electronic gadgets. When you clean up your office, you should know exactly where everything goes because all items should have a home.
13. Make your storage convenient.
Your storage locations should make sense. Items you access often should be close by. Trust me, if you must walk far to put something away, chances are it will get thrown on the floor next to you or on top of your desk to put away later. Pay attention to how you operate and organize your stored items in the most efficient way possible.
14. Deal with emotional issues in your life.
What is the correlation between emotional issues and organization? Emotional issues clutter the mind, and mind clutter creates physical clutter. At the same time, when you are dealing with emotional issues, it takes a tremendous amount of energy that you could spend being productive. Take a hard look at what is draining your energy right now. Address these issues so you can clear your head and start tackling what’s important to you. The more productive you are, the more organized you will feel.
15. Understand transitions can be chaotic and feed disorganization.
As I mentioned earlier, I am in the middle of a move – a major transition. Sitting at my computer, amongst loads of boxes, makes it more difficult to feel organized. Transitions of any kind are chaotic. Whether it’s a divorce, loss of a loved one, a move, a major shift in your business, or becoming an empty nester, change feeds disorganization. Remember transitions are temporary and eventually you will come out on the other side. Do your best to practice a lot of extra self-care during these times and give yourself a little break if you are feeling disorganized. Better organization will be coming around the corner soon enough.
As you can tell from all these tips, organization is a function of so many factors – your mind, your emotions, your physical space, your operations, and your life. Fixing any one of these areas can make a tremendous impact on your level of organization. As you grow into a super-organized entrepreneur, your business growth will follow. But always remember, with growth comes change. Organizing is a lifelong process that needs to shift as you and your business grow.
15 Ways to Become a Super Organized Small Business Owner
March 23, 2017