The multitude of tasks involved in running a small business is overwhelming to say the least. Between sales, admin, networking, and keeping up with websites and social media, it’s surprising that more entrepreneurs don’t walk around looking like Pig-Pen. I know how important it is to stay organized, but when I get overwhelmed, office tidiness is one of the first things to suffer.
I recently sat down with professional organizer Nadine McCoy to try to get a handle on this problem. Nadine has lived in New Orleans for 2 years, and loves all things Nola, but she’s originally from Germany and says that growing up in small spaces helped her realize the importance of organization early on. Her company, Organized Impressions, specializes in paper management and office organization. They hold regular “No Mess, No Stress Organizing Bootcamps,” a fun and judgement free zone to help people get on top of their paperwork.
Nadine shared her top 10 tips for getting (and staying) organized.
- Throw out the junk.
People are scared to throw things away, but all those unnecessary papers quickly add up to a big mess. Decide what you absolutely need, and throw away (or recycle) the rest immediately.
- Take it little by little.
You don’t have to organize your whole life at once. Just start with a few minutes a day. If you spend 5 minutes tidying your desk at the end of the day, you’ll feel fresh and ready to go the next morning.
- Don’t buy into the idea that people are “Naturally Organized.”
For the most part, people aren’t born organized. You have to work at just like anything else. Remember that it takes 3-4 weeks to form a habit.
- Know what works for you, and use it.
Don’t download the newest app or buy the most expensive containers just because they work for someone else. If you’re the kind of person who is always on your phone, maybe an app is best, but some people prefer old fashion notes, or paper calendars. Figure out what works for you and keep it up.
- Invest time in planning.
Most people spend a lot of time reacting instead of acting. We often think we don’t have the time to plan, but you would be amazed at how much time it saves in the long run.
- Compartmentalize your ‘To Do’ list.
It’s ok to have a running list of To Dos, but don’t start every day staring at that daunting list. Make a reasonable list of the things you MUST do today, and check them off one by one.
- Start with the hardest task on your list.
The sense of accomplishment that comes with scratching big things of your list will set you up for success. Once you achieve a difficult task, you can get it out of your head which equals less stress.
- Don’t try to purchase your way into organization.
You have to actually deal with your organizational problems to make them go away.
- Everything in its place.
Have a dedicated place for the things that cause the most mess such as receipts and incoming mail, instead of letting it collect in little piles all over your home or office.
- Get the help you need.
You may be too close to your clutter to see where the real problem areas are. Often, a professional organizer can see the things that you can’t, and help you find a system that works for you.
The Next “No Mess No Stress Bootcamp” is November 6th at Blue Bag Co. Click here for more information. You can learn more about Nadine and Organized Impressions at their website, www.organizedimpressions.com.