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The basics of organization

Organized white desk with pink world map and pink chair.

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 the projects you need to tackle, but have you ever taken it a step further? You can begin organizing those projects by determining which is the most important, or the most appealing to you. Once you’ve done that, determine what action steps you need to take to get that project done. If you want to go a step further, assign your tasks to a specific day!

Sometimes, yes, absolutely. From the outside it may look like I’ve always had a knack for organization, but the truth is, I stumbled into administrative work about a decade ago. I was jobless, signed up with a temp agency, and eventually landed in a spot where I was supporting a sales team. It just so happened they were organizing a massive celebration for the company’s fortieth anniversary. As the planning began to ramp up, I offered to take charge of the massive thousand-person guest list. I had no idea what I was getting into, but I discovered an organizational talent in the process. You can be born with the skill, you can discover it over time, or you can begin learning it whenever you want.

  1. It saves time
    Even doing something as simple as organizing your priorities for the day can be a massive step in the right direction. If you organize your time by using it to complete those things that are most important, you’ll find yourself using your time much more efficiently.
  2. It increases productivity
    This goes hand in hand with saving time. If you can save time digging around for important information, you’re naturally going to be more productive! Everything you need will be right where it’s supposed to be.
  3. It helps with goal setting
    If you can sit down and rank your tasks by importance, you can start to roll out a set of goals for each of those tasks. In turn, this will give you a much clearer picture of where you’re headed.
  4. It reduces stress
    You can breathe a sigh of relief when everything is exactly where it’s supposed to be, and your goals are in check. Organization can help limit those feelings of stress and anxiety and replace them with feelings of preparation and confidence.
  5. It aides in focus
    You’re draining mental energy by scurrying around trying to find something, or never quite knowing which tasks need done. When these things are organized efficiently, you can get focused, and stay focused, on the task at hand.

Don’t try to organize your entire business in a day, you’ll end up frustrated and probably give up. Instead, tackle one aspect of something that’s driving you crazy (your email inbox, scattered ideas, appointments not on your calendar). Pick a specific day and time and set an appointment with yourself. To tackle your inbox you might spend half an hour flagging important messages. If you need to organize your ideas, open any kind of note taking app or word processing doc and start listing those things out—and then order them by importance. Enter those appointments on your Google calendar or write them down on your physical calendar (I like doing both). Any small step taken repeatedly over time can lead to great progress!

You may never be (or even aspire to be) an organizational wizard, but you can take small steps to improve the quality of your business. Consider outsourcing bigger (or repetitive) tasks to a Virtual Assistant. A VA has 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 thing or two!