Everyone says you should be more organized, but what does that really mean? And why is it so important? Organization is a big part of running a business effectively, but not every business owner feels like they have the ability to keep their ducks in a row. Thankfully, there are some simple, easy steps you can take to prioritize your work and create lasting change. Don’t let the feeling of overwhelm keep you from creating better systems. Let’s run through the basics of organization and start determining priorities!
What does it mean to be organized?
If you’re an organized person, you’re good at arranging things in a way that provides clear structure. In other words, you’re bringing order to chaos. Let’s take a to-do list for example. It’s easy to write down all those projects you need to tackle, but have you ever considered taking it a step further? You can begin to organize those projects by determining which is the most important, or the most appealing to you.
Is the ability to organize something you’re born with?
Sometimes, yes, absolutely, but that’s not always the case. It may seem like I’ve always had a knack for organization, but the truth is, I stumbled into it about a decade ago. I was jobless, signed up with a temp agency, and eventually landed in a spot supporting a sales team. It just so happened they were organizing a massive celebration for the company’s 40th anniversary. As planning began to ramp up, I offered to take a load off of the sales coordinator; I put myself in charge of the massive 1,000-person guest list. I had no idea what I was getting into, but I learned a lot about myself and my capacity for organization. You can be born with the skill, you can discover it over time, or you can begin learning it whenever you want.
Ok, so what are the basics of organization?
I’m going to keep this simple and share the process that helps me most. In my opinion, there are three basic steps: brainstorming, action items, and prioritization. The first step is to make a list of everything that needs done. Anything from organizing your email to doing the laundry. Finish off your brainstorming session by circling the things on the list that are most important. Next, take those circled items and begin to make a plan. What action steps can you take to get that thing done? For example, if you want to organize your inbox, some action steps could be: delete all obvious spam, create folders for important emails, and set up rules for how to deal with future emails. Lastly, take those action steps and assign them to a specific day on your calendar. If you have an open schedule you could do them all on one day, or if your schedule is packed, spread the items over several days. The point is to take small steps that will lead to big results—don’t burn yourself out and give up!
Why is organization important?
- Organization saves time
Have you ever heard the expression, “a place for everything and everything in its place”? This was no doubt spoken by an organizational guru, and for good reason. When everything is in its place, you won’t waste time searching for it.
- Organization increases productivity
This goes hand in hand with saving time. If you know exactly where all of your important information is stored, you’ll be able to access and utilize it much quicker.
- Organization helps with goal setting
Goal setting naturally involves prioritizing information. When you begin mastering the basics of organization, you’ll be able to more clearly see the direction you want to go.
- Organization reduces stress
Organization can help limit the feelings of stress and anxiety and replace them with feelings of preparation and confidence. You’re actually creating chaos by scurrying around trying to find something, or never quite knowing which tasks need done.
- Organization helps focus
When all of your information is organized, it frees up your mind to concentrate on the most important things.
How do I start?
You may never be (or even aspire to be) an organizational wizard, but you can take small steps to learn the basics of organization. Consider outsourcing bigger (or repetitive) tasks to a Virtual Assistant—someone with plenty of experience organizing all sorts of things for business owners like you. No matter what, stay positive. You may not have been born with an innate ability to organize things, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn a trick or two!
As proof of that, I’ve created a weekly planning sheet to help you organize your tasks and goals. It’s a simple three-step process (the very same one I outlined above) that will get you on your way to organizing your days and your business. First, list out three tasks you need to complete. Next, determine what action steps will help you achieve those tasks. Finally, organize those action steps by assigning them to a specific day of the week. That’s all it takes to start honing those organizational skills. Sign up below!
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me at email@example.com. Happy organizing!