In today’s highly competitive environment, organizational skills are crucial to business success. Missed appointments, goals and deadlines that get repeatedly pushed back, and inefficient use of your working hours can clearly hinder your growth. Not every entrepreneur is naturally orderly – but the good news is that organization can largely be learned. Here are 7 proven ways to improve your organizational skills and streamline your business performance.
1. Adopt a Proactive Perspective
Key organizational resources can give your business the edge it needs to outshine the competition and grow. So why not leverage the entrepreneur’s innate drive to be proactive to take better control of your time? Rather than reacting to situations as they arise, prepare for your day in advance with planning and scheduling apps like Asana, Trello, and Evernote. Tools like these are specifically designed to promote better business and personal organization.
2. Make Lists and Use Them
To-do lists are essential for organization and go hand-in-hand with scheduling your time. The most organized among us tend to have multiple lists on the go, geared toward both short-term and long-term objectives. Yes, there’s an app for that. But many list-makers prefer the pen and paper approach – especially since crossing items off a to-do list has been shown to free up our brains to focus more readily on other initiatives.
3. Step Away from the Shoebox
Foregoing paper files in favour of a digital system makes it extremely convenient to share contracts, invoices, and other pertinent documents with clients, partners, and staff. It also lets you find exactly what you need, when you need it. An efficient approach to electronic storage is paramount however, and yours should include the use of a dedicated document root folder, file nesting, and a clear and logical file naming system.
4. Make Your Space Work for You
According to research by Harvard University and others, a cleaner, more organized workspace not only reduces stress and increases focus, it bumps up productivity, morale, and profitability! With benefits like those, it’s easy to see why the drive to maintain a tidier work environment should be priority-one for business owners. Make it a plan to engage in regular desktop decluttering sessions and keep office equipment clean and in good working order.
5. Stop Ditching Your Deadlines
Meeting deadlines means prioritizing and setting incremental goals that will help move a project forward. To manage those goals successfully, you’ll need to create – and stick to – an organized timeline. Build some extra time into your plan to account for delays, illness, or unexpected changes if you must, but in the end it’s essential that you hold yourself and others accountable for results that are, and are not, achieved.
6. Divide and Delegate
Multi-tasking has long been proven as a self-defeating method for trying to get more accomplished. To become an effective organizer, you’ll need to accept the difference between tasks and projects that require your personal involvement, and those you can assign to somebody else. Successful business owners divide workloads and conquer by making delegation an active part of their leadership strategy.
7. Outsource for Optimal Order
You know your business well. But understanding your company’s limitations is an important part of improving your organizational skills. Many smaller businesses lack the skill set, funding, or personnel necessary to manage one-off assignments and specialized departments. Order processing, accounting, and digital marketing are just a few examples of operations that can be outsourced to like-minded experts to help streamline your business activities.