Elements of Success: Step 6: Be Organized
You may have the world’s best vision for a business, but without proper organization, your ideas will go nowhere. Organization is the vehicle that helps you transform your dreams into reality.
Why Prioritize Organization
You probably instinctively know that there is value to being organized, but can you articulate why? You’ll be more motivated to get organized if you understand how it can help your professional success.
- It increases productivity. Studies show that your ability to accomplish tasks is reduced when there are too many things–including visual stimuli in your work environment–competing for your attention.
- It improves mood. Research has linked disorganization with depression. Learn more in the video “Decluttering Can Help If You Feel Stuck and Depressed.”
- It saves time. When you’re organized, you can be in the right place at the right time, and you’ll know exactly where to find what you need.
- It can help you delegate. When your business takes off and you can’t do everything yourself anymore, it will make your life a lot easier if things are organized and you can easily hand off tasks to an employee.
How to Be Organized
To maximize your organization, you must develop and maintain systems that work for you. You will spend less time looking for what you need and will be able to move through your tasks with greater efficiency.
Although you’ll have to find the systems that work best for you, many productive entrepreneurs find organizational success by putting the following suggestions into practice:
- Keep your desk clear. In one survey, 77 percent of people admitted that clutter hinders their productivity, and 53 percent said that it reduces their motivation to get things done. Instead of letting clutter get you down, limit the number of items on your desk. Store everything non-essential out of sight.
- Use a calendar. You might think that you can remember everything, but you probably can’t. Maintain one calendar on which you record all upcoming events, meetings, deadlines, and plans. You may want to be quite detailed with your calendar and assign various tasks to specific blocks of time. When an event comes up, immediately add it to your calendar.
- Make lists. David Wallechinsky said, “Lists help us in organizing what is otherwise overwhelming.” Whether you record your tasks on a paper list or an electronic one, writing them down and checking them off provides a visual record of what needs to be done and what has already been accomplished.
- Categorize tasks according to urgency and importance and time needed. Do the tasks that are urgent, important and don’t take too long first thing. Next, do the tasks that are urgent and important but will take longer to complete. Finally, finish the urgent tasks and move on to the important tasks. If your urgent list is so long that you’ll never get to the important list, set aside an hour a day to work on things that are important but not urgent.
Stay tuned for the next installment in our 10 Elements of Success series when we will talk about Delegating.
For the previous installment in the series please see Who Are Your Customers or Clients?