This is the final article in a series outlining the secrets to getting and staying organised. The earlier articles help you understand why you want to get organised, decide what to organise, and give you a push to start taking action to get organised.
When done right, being organised involves using your physical environment optimally and employing systems that you’ve thought through and set up well. It’s all about using your space and time in the way that best suits your business. You are the master of your system, not the other way around.
As with many worthwhile pursuits, being organised requires maintenance. It’s about regular, consistent behaviour and habits.
In a way it’s similar to getting and staying fit. In the same way that you can’t go for a jog one day and then be fit for the rest of your life, you can’t have a binge on organisation and expect to stay organised forever.
Commit to the process
Do you want to be organised or not? The choice is yours. And yes, it is a choice. Once you identify the benefits being organised brings you, you’ll have a big picture motivation to stick with the system.
So what’s the most compelling reason for you to get and stay organised? Is it to create more time, space, energy, or money? Perhaps to reduce stress, lateness, or that horrible feeling that your time is out of your own control?
Whatever the reason, stay connected to it. Put a visual reminder on your wall if you need to. Keeping your eye on the bigger picture can prevent you from sliding back into bad habits.
Maintain as you go
Don’t make staying organised a big deal. In fact, don’t even think of it as a separate task.
Once you’ve dealt with backlog, you should be able to maintain your new systems as you go. For example, get rid of the tray marked ‘To file’, and instead of double-handling every piece of paper that crosses your desk get in the habit of filing it as soon as it arrives.
Get the right tools for the job
I once heard of a small business that dealt with large volumes of confidential information. A lot of it was in hard copy, but only needed in that form for short periods. The owner was adamant that a domestic paper shredder was sufficient to cope with the destruction of those records, and didn’t feel he could justify spending a few hundred dollars on a commercial shredder.
Instead, one of his staff spent five hours per week shredding, emptying the shredder, and finalising the disposal of documents. Surely that cost the business thousands of dollars rather than hundreds? My advice would have been to buy a bigger shredder or pay to have the records destroyed off site.
Are any similar false economies occurring in your business?
Get the right people too
The concept of using the right tools for the job also applies to human resources. And for soloists, that often translates into outsourcing. Why spend a day per week on your accounts, when a qualified bookkeeper could do the job in a third of the time?
How do you stay organised? If you’ve got any tips to share, we’d love to hear them.
“ In the same way that you can’t go for a jog one day and then be fit for the rest of your life, you can’t have a binge on organisation and expect to stay organised forever. ”