There was something going on in the Universe last week. I can always tell because it shows up in my clients’ businesses. There was a tumultuous energy that was running through the air. Frustrations were high. Communications were flying. People were scrambling in different directions, attempting to manage the chaos.
It is certainly not fun to be in the middle of this disorganized energy. I found myself wishing I could wave a magic wand and instantly bring order and organization to not only my world but my clients’ as well. The most immediate problem with disorganization is frustration. The frustration stems from wasted time and money lost as the clock continues to tick.
Small business owners are moving fast. We have little extra time in our day, and the last thing we need is a lack of organization slowing us down. The conundrum, however, is that getting organized takes time. So many of us opt to deal with the day-to-day business that brings in money and put the organizational projects on the back burner.
Until there is more time…
That extra time never comes…
And the disorganization continues…
Time and money are lost…
And the frustrations rear their ugly head again…
Until you make the time to get organized.
If there was a fast and easy fix, believe me, I would tell you. Not only would I tell you, I would use it for my own business. However, there is a fix. A very definitive, step-by-step fix. And the biggest hurdle is just getting started. You must start somewhere and tackle disorganization a little bit at a time. I’m going to give you the areas that will have the biggest impact on your organization and then I will share some quick tips to get you going.
Time-sucking email. Ugh. But it’s not going away so you might as well get it organized. A few weeks ago, I got so tired of looking at all the email in my inbox that I decided to get busy. I spent a half day setting up filters to file away all my email in the appropriate folders. My inbox is now completely empty, and all incoming email goes directly into its assigned folder. This makes it easy for me to prioritize checking and responding to email. My mind is not cluttered with email I’ve already read. Searching for an email I need is much faster as well.
How much time do you spend searching for a password you need? I don’t know about you, but I deal with hundreds of different passwords. There is nothing more frustrating than entering your username and password, only to be told “Invalid username or password.” You secretly curse the computer because you know it is wrong. But is it? Can you be 100% sure? Get all your software, usernames, and passwords in a single location. Some people like software like LastPass. You can also store your passwords in a Google spreadsheet or something like Microsoft OneNote.
Whether you are still using paper files or have converted to digital files, this is one of the most critical areas to start with. Currently, I am helping one of my clients get all her employee files set up on Google Drive. We are in the middle of this project and the end can’t come soon enough. This past week we spent an inordinate amount of time trying to find documents we needed for a project. If we were unsuccessful, we had to ask the staff member to do double work to provide us with what we needed. Not only does it create frustration for everyone, we found ourselves embarrassed and apologizing for the disorganization.
PROCESSES AND PROCEDURES
When you bring on a new team member, you will quickly realize how organized or disorganized you are with processes and procedures. Well-documented and neatly organized processes save so much time and energy. Imagine the time spent answering questions when a procedure is not clearly defined or documented. One of my clients had to fire a staff member this week. Thankfully, we had a clearly defined and documented termination procedure filed in Google Drive. The speed at which we were able to offboard this individual was amazing.
We have all been a victim of disorganized communications. This disorganization can come from a complete lack of communication, hurried and incomplete communications, frazzled and rude communications, and everything in between. If you work on this one area, you will see dramatic improvements. Slow down. Be thoughtful before you speak or type. Err on the side of over-communication. Double check your communications. And know when to pick up the phone when email communications are taking too long.
GOALS, PROJECTS, AND TASKS
I’ve lumped all these together because they are all intertwined. If you don’t know what your goals are, you don’t know where you’re going. Your projects help you complete your goals, and the tasks are the day-to-day activities that move you forward on your projects and goals. If any of these are not organized, planned, and prioritized, then you wander aimlessly and waste time. Organize your week, prioritize your days, and make sure you are always moving towards what’s most important to you. Keep all your goals, projects, and tasks organized with deadline dates in whatever planning system works for you.
A cluttered space will breed a cluttered mind. I’m not sure how you operate, but I can’t think clearly with a cluttered desk or office. Every night before I shut down, I make sure my workspace is cleaned up. Starting the morning with a clear space helps you get off on the right foot. If you travel a lot in your car for work, clean out your car as well. You will be amazed at how much easier it is to work when your surroundings are organized.
10 QUICK TIPS TO GET YOU STARTED:
- Commit to getting organized. Find an accountability partner to hold you to your commitment.
- Change your mindset. Stop telling yourself you don’t have time to get organized. You don’t have time to be disorganized.
- Take baby steps. Start with one small project that will move you towards increased organization.
- Be consistent. Carve out 30 minutes a day to work on getting organized. Set the timer. At the end of 30 minutes, move on to your normal workday.
- Hire someone to help you get organized. Anyone. Even a teenager that needs to make extra money.
- Confine yourself to your office for a weekend. Work on nothing else other than organizing.
- Practice meditation and mindfulness. Slowing down your mind can help you get more organized.
- Celebrate your successes. Set a reward for each organizational project you complete. Incentives do work.
- Pick the easiest organization project first. Completion creates momentum. Momentum gives you the energy to keep going.
- Start with the hardest project first. The rest will all be downhill. Much easier than going uphill.
BONUS TIP: Be patient with yourself. Don’t beat yourself or anyone else up for not moving fast enough. Organization takes time. Just breathe and keep moving forward. You will get there.
What’s it going to be? Where will you start? What quick tip will you use to get you moving?
Need someone to organize and manage your projects, or set up your business processes for efficient workflow? Amazing OBM is a full-service business management company for coaches and therapists. To download our free guide to help you organize and set your business up to scale, visit www.amazingobm.com/guide.
The Biggest Problem with Disorganization and How You Can Fix It
November 15, 2018