I sound like a broken record, but, how you use your time is the greatest determining factor of your results in business and life. When I work with business owners one-on-one, this concept is arguably the most important one we cover during the process. Most business owners and sales professionals already strive to use their time wisely. They prioritize, plan, schedule and pay close attention to how they’re spending their minutes and hours. Even so, it’s not uncommon to look back and wonder where our time went or why we didn’t get more done. I’ve found there is one main factor that’s the culprit: disorganization.
Yes, even if you prioritize and plan, you’re not going to be as efficient if you are disorganized. What types of disorganization am I talking about?
- Physically disorganized. Do you have papers and junk piled high on your desk or in your office? This wastes time two different ways:
- A cluttered workspace causes people to not be able to focus on the task at hand.
- Finding the tools and items needed for a particular task is difficult.
- Electronically disorganized. I’ve seen people’s desktops so full of icons they can’t fit anymore. Likewise, I’ve seen “documents” folders packed with thousands of files and not a single sub-folder. Even with the search capabilities of modern computers, it can be difficult to find files you are looking for. Remembering to save documents, backing up digital information and keeping all of your devices in sync are other sources of disorganization.
- Systematically disorganized. Efficient businesses are ones who have systems and processes for all areas of their businesses: sales & marketing, accounting & financials, management and human resources. Businesses that lack well-defined systems and processes waste more time and don’t execute consistently.
When a business is able to become more organized and develop systems and processes, it makes for a dramatic shift in their efficiency. Suddenly, they understand the best and fastest way to approach problems and goals, and have clear plans for making progress. What does it take to become organized like this? I have a couple tips for you to try.
Where are you at right now?
This first task for becoming organized is to figure out which areas you need to focus on first. What seems to slow you down: having a cluttered workspace? Not having processes for a certain area of your business? Make a list of four or five areas that you’d like to improve upon.
Take one step at a time.
If you try to tackle everything at one time, you’re only going to end up frustrated. With your list of four or five areas you’d like to improve upon, which one would have the greatest impact in your business? Start with that particular area and stick with it until it’s complete. Then, move on to the next. If you want to accomplish it quickly, spend at least 10 minutes per day making progress.
Form a habit.
It takes a long time to climb a mountain and just a few seconds to fall all the way back down. If you want your new-found organizational skills to stick, form a habit out of them. One habit I have is the “touch-it-once rule.” If I pick up a piece of paper (or any physical item), I handle it immediately and file it away or throw it away when I’m done. This helps keep my workspace clean and organized at all times.
Stop wasting time in your business by being disorganized. Work on taking small steps to get organized in all areas of your business and I promise you’ll start seeing results.