Christine Myers Certified VA
Control the Clutter, Control Your Destiny
Running ragged and always feeling like you're behind in your work leads to clutter and chaos in the office. Think about your workday objectively. Are you thinking about filing the banking statements or are you thinking about the rest of your to-do list? ’m guessing those banking statements get thrown into a pile while you think, “I’ll handle the filing tomorrow or over the weekend.” Here’s another guess: You’ll get distracted tomorrow or over the weekend so the filing sits in a pile, which keeps growing every month.
Don’t fret. This is a common problem that permeates both business and personal lives. While you’re thinking about business, your household clutter is probably piling up and vice versa. Let’s talk about some solutions that will combat all types of clutter so you can regain control of your life.
Hire an Assistant
If you don’t have time in your day to combat clutter, then it’s time to outsource to the experts. A personal assistant can handle the business filing and shredding while also running your household errands. You may even find someone willing to do light cleaning and cooking, which frees up even MORE of your time for your money tasks.
Hire a Professional Organizer
Most professional organizers claim that clutter is the result of not having systems and processes in place th
at work for you. Whether that means you need a customized filing system for your business, or you need unique storage ideas for your household, professional organizers can create the perfect system/process for you and will help you implement it. Then it’s up to you (or your assistant) to keep the system working.
Learn to Say No
How much of your clutter and disarray is due to taking on too many clients? A filled calendar is certainly a good thing to achieve but how much prep work is required for all of them? Are they calling at all hours of the day and night? Do you have prospects begging to get onto your calendar or volunteer organizations asking for your time? Saying no doesn’t mean no forever; it simply means you’re setting the boundaries that you need to stay sane. Set business hours for current clients. Stay in touch with prospects so they’ll be the first to know when you have an opening. Ask volunteer groups if you can make a monetary donation instead.
If paper is the primary cause of your clutter, take a look where it comes from and contact each organization to ask about going paperless. Often this information is found on their websites, which saves even more time. You may still need an assistant to help create a digital filing system for these statements but at least you won’t see piles taking over your office or counters.
Use Time Blocks to Schedule Your Day
Time blocking is a visual cue that helps people stay focused on their current tasks. If you see a 30-minute block to check and respond to email, it helps you stay focused on email since you know there’s another task coming up right afterward. The Pomodoro Technique uses a timer set for 25 minutes. When the timer beeps, take a 5- or 10-minute break, then set the timer over again. Focusing on one task at a time is proven to be more productive than starting and stopping multiple projects all day long.
Once you get clutter under control, your focus will improve along with your productivity. When you feel that sense of accomplishment at the end of the workday, it’s much easier to close that office door and focus on your personal life.