There is no need for a polished marble reception desk and vases of fresh cut flowers since you have no guests… or so you thought.
Actually having a messy, cramped or cluttered workspace really hurts your ability to perform.
Stop and quickly scan your workspace. What does it say about you?
Your outward treatment of your personal space says a lot about the way you treat your business. Do you respect your client files or your stored merchandise?
If yes, you probably respect your client’s privacy and value your product.
Pretend for a moment you actually opened your warehouse or home office to the public. What would they think of you? What sort of information could they easily and unintentionally pick up from glancing at the items on your desk?
Would they take your business seriously? Would they be impressed? Would they trust you?
A clean and tidy workspace is also a great way to practice client and business confidentiality.
If you don’t respect your workspace, now is the time to start sending a clear and positive message about what kind of business you operate.
Before you convince anybody else of anything, you need to convince yourself. Sounds a little far fetched, but trust me on this one, your self-confidence will jump ten levels when you clean up your act and start taking your business seriously.
You are the CEO of your business, so you need to start acting and looking like a CEO. Writing it on a business card or email footer is not enough. It’s a title you need to work at, and earn.
When you treat your business with a professional and competent manner inside and out, you will start to act more positively and think on a higher business level. We are creatures of our environment and we will respond to our physical situation, even if we are not entirely aware of it.
As someone with firsthand experience of operating small businesses from startup right through to seven figure per annum turnover, I know these simple tasks make a really big difference to your mindset.
Do a clean up and you’ll see what I mean. If at the end of the month you don’t like it or don’t see a result (highly unlikely) then you can let things slide back to the way they were, nothing lost. Although if your time management is this poor, or your laziness is this high, you might want to rethink your ability to go the distance as a small business owner.
One thing I would like to warn you of here, if you are unwilling to get organised there might be a deeper underlying reason. It’s really important to pay attention to negative thoughts and feelings that might be early indications of self-sabotage. Uncovering these as early as possible can mean you can make small and effective changes in your life to actively get to your goal.
Pay attention to both your home and your work area (whether you work from home or have an office). Most of the time we let ourselves get away with our mess because we don’t pay any attention to it.
If you work from a warehouse are your products labelled and organised in a way that you can access them quickly and easily?
What about your kitchen? Are your lunch utensils ready to be used at a moment’s notice? Seems irrelevant, actually… no.
It’s not just your immediate workspace that affects your work ethic. If you work from home your whole house will affect your mood, focus and ability to function efficiently.
De-cluttering your house means de-cluttering your mind. It’s worth scheduling some breaks or assigning a weekend to getting your entire place of work cleared out so you can refocus and strengthen your resilience to your business goal.
Anything that is overflowing, including the pantry, your wardrobe, your bookshelf, your computer desktop, the filing cabinet, needs to be thoroughly reworked.
De-cluttering provides space, space in your home means space in your head. Get rid of everything you don’t use frequently.
When it comes to your wardrobe, narrowing down your clothes to only those that fit well and you feel confident in means easy choices when you are getting ready. You will be impressed with how much time and energy you save when you don’t have to think too hard about what to wear.
The only thing on your desk should be what you are doing right now. Everything else needs to be stored.
If you are doing ten things at once, consider how many of those are actually progressing.
Write out a to-do list based on order of priority. A bullet journal is perfect for this as it can act as a to-do list, note book, sketch pad, diary, or all of the above.
Start at the top of the list and complete each thing individually until it is done (that includes not giving into the destructive influence of checking emails and social media).
When you complete your task, pack up, store it and take a quick break. Come back and unpack your next project and do that.
At the end of your day you pack up your last task and put that away leaving a clean desk. You will notice the difference when you come into the room to start work the next day.
The space you have will make a difference to how you clean. A small office or house gets untidy very quickly so you will need to clean more frequently but you’ll also reach your goal quickly. A large office or house means you can get away with having a mess without really noticing for a while, but this can be a difficult trap. When you do go to clean it’s a much bigger job than you first anticipated. How you clean will depend on your business, home and lifestyle. Set a time on a regular basis, it could be after every meal, once a day, twice a week, once a week. Dedicate this time to getting clean and tidy.
Give yourself rewards (whatever works for you) when you clean and keep your home clean.
If you have a family ask them to pitch in. Communicate your expectations and explain why it’s important for them to do their part. Have rewards in place for when they do well.
If you can afford it, think about hiring some help. If cleaning is a really low value of yours you might be best to outsource it. Anything low on your priority list is best outsourced so you can do the work you need to do to move your business ahead. That could mean that certain admin tasks, like filing and cleaning, get handled cheaply and quickly by a third party. In some cases paying someone is enough motivation to do the work yourself (or most of it).
Your aim is to make your life as simple and streamlined as possible. If everything is where you want it to be you can move more rapidly with greater efficiency. With more time and energy to devote to each task at hand you will be less distracted, less emotional and more in control than ever before.
If you feel like you have no control in your business decisions and your everyday actions then it’s time to talk to a dedicated life coach, business coach or small business consultant who can help show you the common traps and habits that are holding you back from success and how to defeat them to get ahead.
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