Not many people give being organized a second though. It simply doesn’t fit into their already hectic routines. Usually, papers are tossed anywhere, equipment placed wherever an empty space can be found, huge messes accumulating to be dealt with at a later time. The problem, however, is that when this “later time” arrives, it seems like an insurmountable task to get everything orderly. What’s worse is that bills tend to be late and invoices left unsent, clients can’t be seen due to lack of space (or sheer embarrassment). Unfortunately, such results of disorganization can adversely affect a business severely. You need to keep your office organized to give yourself the best possible chance for success.
Some people think that an orderly and clean desk is a sign that no work is being done. That isn’t further from the truth. The great Albert Einstein once posed the question “If a cluttered desk signs a cluttered mind, Of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” If you ask me, an empty desk is a sign that the person is organized, and able to the tasks they set out to do.
It doesn’t really matter if you work from home in a small studio apartment overlooking a large metropolis, in the corner of a barn in the countryside, whether you are a small one person operation or a large multi-person firm, if you are not organized a number of negative things can come of it.
Recently, I had seen 2 clients who had serious issues with organization. They are both bright, and quite successful, yet have deficiencies when it comes to planning and staging.
The first client is a CPA, and her office is in constant disarray. She has a long U-shaped desk as well as a small conference table and a 5-shelf, 72″x24″ bookcase yet there is never enough space because papers a thrown haphazardly throughout the office. She had explained to me that some tax planning had gone missing, and that it was a 4 day project which, if they work had to be redone, could not be billed twice and they would have to eat the cost. We went and borrowed a label maker, and began sectioning off the bookcase so that people would know just where to put things without adding to the confusion. We also sent an e-mail to the office staff to please not place things on the conference table or chairs and to kindly hold onto items if they were not sure which section of the bookcase to leave them. We proceeded to get all of the accessories off of the top of the desk and into drawer sorters and placed stacking trays on the desk for items such as incoming faxes/mailings, urgent items, and inter-office communications. Although she was still unable to locate her documents, going forward it will be much easier to keep orgainzed and find everything since everything now has a place.
The second client is a realtor and property manager. Her office is relatively well organized, and nothing seems to have been sitting around long enough to have been from the last century. However, she needed my services because her accounting bill has skyrocketed recently and she needed help bringing it back down to a manageable range. So why did she call me; did she think my firm was going to be able to offer a better rate? No, but because the reason for her increasing bills was due to her sending in incomplete source documents, and the accountant was spending excess amounts of time having to track down the information from both her and her bank. It is simply a case of not having the proper plan in place for submitting the month-end information. We sat down, and created a checklist of all the things that she needs to get over to the accountant’s office at month’s end. This way, each month she will see what is required and her accountant won’t have to run all over the place trying to track down statements and records.
What it all boils down to is that being organized doesn’t only mean being neat. It means having a plan, keeping order in your spaces, and properly maintaining these things. Not only will you be able to become more productive, and efficient (as well as less stressed), but by simplifying your work life, you wind up being able to accomplish more, thereby earning more while spending less in the long run. Does that mean you should immediately start going paperless like so many business are beginning to explore? Of course not, but you should at least consider it as part of your plan to get your office’s act together.
How do you deal with clutter in your work space? Are you the type that likes to work in organized chaos? Do you need to be completely detailed and have everything in its place at all times? Or are you a hybrid of various techniques of attitudes?