One of the worst enemies we can face as small business owners is clutter – the disorganized mess than can cause us to miss deadlines, lose important client or customer information and generally be less productive than we could be. Even with the best intentions, the demanding life of a solopreneur can sometimes leave little time for cleaning.
The counter to that, however, is understanding that when your workspace is clean and organized, it’s nearly impossible for you not to be more productive and on the ball. If you’re struggling to get rid of the clutter and mess in your workspace, try these tips:
Decide What You Want
Before you start organizing, it’s important to think about your end goal. Do you want your workspace to look empty? Are you more concerned that all your important documents are within easy reach? There’s no point in executing a play if you’re not going to enjoy the end result. Sit down and write out what you want to accomplish. This is also a good time to figure out if you’re going to need to acquire any new furniture or accessories to help achieve your organizing goal.
Put It On Your Schedule
Organizing and cleaning can often become a “when I get to it” event that gets pushed back in favor of more important matters. To solve that problem, put it on the schedule and eliminate the excuses that let you put it off indefinitely. Figure out how much time you need to devote to getting everything organized properly, and make sure that no other business is going to overlap with the time you have scheduled for organizing. Not only will this force you to get it done, but it will also alleviate any guilt you may have felt over “wasted” productivity time.
Take Your Time
Once you’ve made up your mind to get things organized, make sure that you give yourself a few hours a day over a couple days or even an entire week to finish everything. It may seem like a great plan to just block out an entire day to take care of it all in one fell swoop, but often the reality will be that you get burned out or frustrated somewhere in the middle of organizing.
Even worse, if you’ve pulled everything out and then have to suddenly take care of some emergency work, you’ll be tackling it at this height of disorganization. Breaking up your organizing plans into smaller, self-contained projects over the course of a few days will help eliminate the chance of running into those problems.
Think Before You Buy
Now that you’re organized, one of the biggest issues that can arise is this – now that everything has a place, what happens when new things without places get added? When you’re planning on purchasing something new for your workspace, first consider how it’s going to fit into your current setup. Make sure that you have enough free space to accommodate it, or at least that you can move a few things around and fit it in without disrupting your space too much.
It happens all the time – your organizing plan is complete, and then the very next day you leave important papers on your desk instead of filing them. The next day you might leave some office supplies laying around, and the next day your coffee cup doesn’t get put away. Within a month, you’re back to where you started and looking at another week of getting reorganized just to get back to where you were.
Instead of falling victim to this scenario, try to give yourself ten to fifteen minutes right after you stop working for the day to do a quick cleanup. That way, you’ll always leave your workspace looking great, and you’ll arrive every morning to find a well-organized desk waiting for you.
Do you have a trick to keep yourself organized? Let us know about it in the comments section below!