I don’t have a system to keep organized. Over the years I have tried lots of different ways to stay organized but none of them stick. I feel as if I’m wasting time and losing out on opportunities when I become disorganized. How can I stay on point, increase my efficiency and do a better job of tracking things?
THOUGHTS OF THE DAY: Do an assessment of the tools you rely on to keep yourself organized. Do one thing, do it well, then move on. Allow your brain time away. Prioritize based on goals. Recognize the role stress plays in disorganization.
Staying organized can be a challenge for business owners who deal with a variety of urgent and not-so-urgent issues every day. They have limited resources and are constantly triaging what needs immediate attention and what can wait. Then there’s the challenge of finding and keeping the right affordable talent, without which more demands stay on the owner’s desk.
Get a smooth start to the day by organizing things at home. Clothes, briefcase, lunch, keys, planning after-work activities — it all adds up. When you begin by being organized, on time and prepared to tackle the day ahead, you’re creating momentum for the rest of the day.
Devote a few minutes each evening to setting up for a successful tomorrow. Check your calendar for any unusual business or personal appointments. Put together all the things you’ll need in the morning. Write a note to remind yourself of things to take out of the refrigerator and things to pick up on the way to work.
Plan your time. Add 30 percent more time than you think you need. Keep an eye on the clock while you’re getting up and out the door to help make sure you start the day on schedule and stay there.
Once you arrive at work, take a look at your workspace. Clean off the desk. Build a filing system for paper documents and another one for computer documents and emails. Schedule tasks into blocks of time on a calendar that’s readily visible. Keep a list of to-do’s and projects that you check at least three times a day.
Delegate what you can to employees and advisors. If needed and if funds are available, hire temporary help and project workers to get through some of the workload. If that’s not enough, decide what to take off the list based on the company’s goals.
Develop the discipline to stay on point and do one thing well before moving on. Avoid multi tasking. If you’re in the middle of something, let someone else answer the phone. Train staff to come to you at scheduled times, with a list of questions, instead of interrupting you throughout the day as questions come up.
Allow your brain time away — through breaks, exercise and other activities outside work. Get enough sleep every night. If you’re not tired late at night, find ways to increase the physical exercise you get during the day and try eating lighter meals in the evenings to help turn things around.
Beware of stressful situations and how they may play into disorganization. Research shows that stress impacts how the brain works in negative ways, and that includes your ability to organize. Know what you can’t control and don’t waste your energy on it. Focus your organizing energy on the things you can control.
LOOKING FOR A GOOD BOOK? Try “Organize Your Business; Organize Your Life” by Rachael Doyle.
Andi Gray is president of Strategy Leaders Inc. in Stamford, a business consulting firm that teaches companies how to double revenue and triple profits in repetitive growth cycles. Call or email for a free consultation and diagnostics: 877-238-3535, AskAndi@StrategyLeaders.com.