Disorganization causes stress that can hinder your ability to be productive. It is said that one of the secrets to being happier and healthier while you labor is to clear your desk and work area of all paper, objects and clutter, allowing you to focus on your priorities. Health care experts warn that the mere sight of clutter is a constant reminder of “a million things to do and no time to do them,” which can cause tension and fatigue.
A moderately disorganized businesswoman loses about one hour per day due to disorder. By getting organized and learning how to optimize your busy schedule, you will be able to manage your time better and encounter less stress. By removing the clutter on your desk, in your desk, and within your office surroundings, you’re increasing your ability to focus because you’re not worried about what’s in the piles or what you haven’t finished yet.
When I first meet with a new business client, one of the things I typically ask is whether or not they keep a schedule. I am surprised at how many “NO” responses I get. With all the pressures we have in our professional lives, it’s impossible to keep track of everything if we don’t have something to track them with. Tracking your schedule on an electronic device is good as it’s easy to have handy, but don’t feel pressured to use one if you are more comfortable with a traditional paper calendar.
One thing I like to suggest is to look at your day in a different way. Instead of thinking about your day as one big chunk of time, you should be breaking your day down into smaller, more management units. Say looking at your day by the hour. This allows you to be more aware of your actions during the day and presents less wasted time. You should look at your schedule every day and at the beginning of each week. This will remind you of what is coming up and help you plan ahead in the event a “surprise” project pops up.
Are you someone that often forgets to reply to telephone calls or emails in a timely manner? On a daily basis, most of us need to remember an average of 50-75 individual things. What most people don’t realize is if we get these issues down on paper, or in our electronic devices, it frees up our brain to thing about other things that are more important. Or, it just helps us to concentrate better during the day. Having a “To Do” list can help track things and take the burden off yourself to remember everything. Your list can be as simple or as complex as you want and can be electronic or on paper.
When we start work each day, you should know what your top three priorities are for that day and plan the rest of your day accordingly.
I find many entrepreneurs complaining about lost time due to interruptions from family, the telephone, or email. The best way to get around this is to set up specific timeframes where you can address these issues. Check and answer email and telephone calls during certain times of the day. Turn off the bells and whistles on your computer and electronic devices so you are not tempted to check them.
My last piece of advice is to learn to say “No”. You do not have to take on every project or volunteer for everything that you are asked to do. There is such a thing as being over committed. So, I’m giving you permission to not take on as many things as you have in the past, you will be healthier for it!
Carleen Eve Fischer Hoffman is the Owner and Founder of The Clutter Doctor, Inc., an organizing business located in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts. Ms. Hoffman provides personalized and innovative solutions for her clients. She helps them gain control and balance through her three-step approach: Examine, Diagnose, Prescribe. Ms. Hoffman is a local authority on the subject and has been featured in several radio shows, newspaper and magazine articles, and television interviews.