Success often hinges on organization and failure on disorganization. Think about it: what are the odds you’re going to put forth excellence if you’re constantly forgetting appointments, running late on deadlines, and losing important papers? It’s time to get organized and stay organized! Which of these three organizational tips are you going to implement in your business this fall?

1. Invest in a planner

While devices can be helpful, there’s something about being able to see the big picture at a glance that makes physical planners one of the most effective organizational tools. If you have a hard time “keeping up with” a planner, you’re probably relying too much on your brain to keep track of everything. Your planner should be your “catch-all” for important reminders, lists, and dates. It doesn’t have to be massive! Just find one that suits your needs and has space for things like to do lists, reminders, and stray papers.

Think of your planner as your go-to, personal assistant! If you have an idea for your business or you make lunch plans with a client, turn to your planner to make that mental note. Check your planner regularly and, if needed, use your phone to set specific notifications to remind you of time-sensitive events or deadlines.

When you have somewhere to put stray pieces of information, your brain doesn’t have to remember them all! This, in turn, lowers your stress level, making you more productive and focused.

2. Tackle clutter

From paper clutter to digital clutter—the more things you have, the faster things get out of control. Try this organizational approach:

A. Start by sorting items by type/category. Group anything that is similar together. (i.e. papers, office supplies, decorations, etc. OR for digital clutter: projects, financial documents, proposals, presentations, etc.)

B. Next, go through each category and decide what you need to keep and what you can get rid of. If possible, scan the papers you need to keep so that you can throw away the physical copies. Make the trash can and shredder your best friends!

C. Take what you’re keeping and put items in the area they’re used most, storing them in bins, baskets, and files.

D. Keep up with the current organization system on a daily basis. Whenever an item enters your office, decide if it should be kept or tossed and where it belongs if it’s staying. Then immediately get rid/put items away.

3.  Work smarter, not harder

The best way to stay organized is to catch organizational problems as they come up and address them immediately. For example, if you get overwhelmed whenever you open your computer and it de-motivates you, that’s a problem! Ask yourself why you feel that way:

  • Is it because your computer is slow starting up? Perhaps it’s time to use some “clean-up” software to get rid of temporary files, cookies, and bugs. Or maybe you need a new laptop.
  • Is it because your files are disorganized? Invest some time into deleting un-needed files and organizing them into folders. Create a system that works for you that you can stick with long-term.

When it takes you more energy and time to do something than it should, you need to ask yourself “why.” Figure out a solution. Don’t get stuck in a cycle of disorganization, telling yourself you just have to work harder. Being organized means always being on the lookout for opportunities to simplify and be more efficient. Work smarter! Name your mess and attack it. After all, it’s not the boss, you are.

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