Being patronisingly informed via a waving finger that ‘a tidy desk leads to a tidy mind’ might quite rightly send you into a tirade in which you detail the inhuman extent of your workload. Organisation can often seem like something that’ll just take up more valuable time, but the truth is, organised people do get more done. Why? Generally speaking, they are more efficient, have better time management, and work more proactively than reactively. Sorry, but it’s true and adopting a few simple tricks to become more organised can be one of the most effective things a person in business can do.
In the words of possibly the greatest exponent of the inspired one-liner, Winston Churchill, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”, so rather than committing your business to a wholly unnecessary downfall, here are a few tips to help clear the mental and physical debris.
Let’s be clear …
It’s easy to underestimate the time wasted and stress caused by an inefficient working environment. Anyone who spends an hour rifling through piles of paperwork on a desktop in the endless quest to find an important file needs to take a long hard look at themselves. Desk space is prime real estate and therefore should be filled with only those items which you actually need. If you don’t use it daily, or at the outside weekly, it’s time to cull or file it.
Further to this, create set locations for specific materials. This doesn’t have to mean drawing black outlines of a stapler and hole punch in your desk drawer but storing items logically, simply makes retrieval that bit more straightforward. Once you’ve used it, return it.
Studies have shown 80% of what we file is never accessed again. If there isn’t a legal requirement to keep something, rather than just mindlessly hoarding paperwork, give yourself a good hard talking to and be prepared to let it go.
Let’s make a plan …
Planning ahead is a key component of remaining focused, organised and systematic. Allocating even a short amount of time at the start of a week to take a look at your business, reflecting on and prioritising those items which are of most importance and which move the company most clearly in the direction it wants to go, can be incredibly useful. It’s easy to spend the majority the time fighting proverbial fires and reacting to each transient event that comes along and losing sight of what is actually important and why.
Let’s just deal with it …
Rather than letting problems or difficult tasks fester, deal with them as soon as they crop up. Difficult discussions, tricky decisions or boring tasks will only get worse the longer you leave them, and it will do nothing for the overall organisation of your business.
Making decisions and taking action efficiently has the potential to have a major impact on keeping a business’s momentum moving quickly.
Staying organised is unquestionably easier said than done. It requires determination, ongoing effort and strict regimentation. The key, however, is to remain focused and to observe how implementing small changes can have large implications for efficiency and clarity in the short and long term. Of course, no two days are the same, but try not to let hiccups derail your overall plan. Simply review, revise and move forward.
By Alison Curry-Taylor, Operations Director Daily Internet