How to be Organized and Rich, not Rigid – Part I

Organized TimeMany people automatically assume that organized people are rigid, uptight, and possibly boring.  But studies show organized people make more money, accomplish more, have more energy and free time, and experience less stress.  They also have more spontaneity because they have a clearer mind to make decisions since their life is in order.

In this four part series, I’ll share how to be more organized in your business in several key areas – time, space, tasks, and information.  I’ll take what may seem complex and make it simple and actionable so you can immediately implement changes in your life and business.  My goal is to help you love being organized – and enjoy all of the benefits that come with it.

When I tell people that I’m productivity expert, they immediately think I train on time management.  Over the years, I found it was just easier to agree than to get into a long discussion about how organization and productivity involves more than just time tracking.  But for this blog, I’ll cover time management as one part of productivity.

A main cause of disorganization is over scheduling time.  People over commit to what they can reasonably accomplish and this leads to overwhelm and frustration.  In my younger years, I would agree to do additional work and then end up staying late and working weekends to get it all done.  I was afraid to say no to anyone who held a position above me even though juggling all of the work was making me highly inefficient and stressed.

In the corporate world, I saw over scheduling frequently when I consulted to Fortune companies. Employees were expected to perform their usual job plus be a dedicated part of a project team implementing a new IT project.  Both roles were full time jobs which meant something fell through the cracks due to being stretched too thin. I see small business owners doing the same thing when they wear too many hats. Bottom line – too much on anyone’s plate leads to disorganization.

Fortunately, managing time is simply about focusing on the right things at the right time.  It’s about having the right systems in place because systems actually create time for you. Some people think systems are just for large companies or they involve expensive technology that’s difficult to implement.  It’s just the opposite.  Everyone needs systems and many systems are free or low-cost.

Some examples of systems are setting deadlines, time blocking, grouping tasks, using planning apps, and purging excess.  These are useful tools that must be part of an overall time management strategy.  The system for organizing time is straight-forward:

  1. Decide what to do
  2. Decide when to do it
  3. Decide how to deal with distractions

Where many people get stuck is on deciding what to do.  Most business owners can create a to-do list, but how do you know you have the right items listed and there aren’t any critical gaps?  I often see CEOs omit important tasks because they are too close to the problem to see the big picture.  That’s where having an outside perspective on your plan can save you lots of time and money.

Next, people get stuck on when to do each task – the sequencing.  It’s so much easier to work a to-do list from the top down or to pick the tasks that we like to do first.  I used to do that myself until I realized the importance of choosing only tasks that move me and my business forward. Working on anything else is just a distraction that slows the speed to results.  You must have a plan to squash the distractions when they arise so you can stay focused and on course.

My favorite tool is the simple and effective 2×2 Priority Matrix by Steven’s Covey.  He categorizes each task into one of four quadrants.  The ideal quadrant for optimal time management is the ‘important and non-urgent corner’. It’s the quadrant of ease.  I found that business owners who spend the majority of time in that quadrant have the greatest organization benefits and results.

The tool is super easy to follow, but often I still see people who can’t (or choose not to) prioritize themselves. If you need help with prioritization, let’s chat on a complimentary ’15 Minute Sequence Call’ to help you focus on the right actions.  I would be happy to help you put a few things in order so that you have more ease and organization in your day.   Just CLICK HERE to schedule your complimentary call.

I challenge you to put these three time organization steps in place in your business and then track the impact.  Are you finding more time in your day to focus on marketing and/or finding new clients?  Do you have less stress in your day and more ease in your business?  Do you have more time to spend with family, friends, or health?

Be sure to catch the next post on organizing your space for more productivity and profits.

Nancy Gaines

Nancy Gaines is CEO/Founder of Gain Advantages Inc. and has been advising small businesses and Fortune 100 companies how to increase revenues through proven systems for almost two decades. She is a best-selling author and international keynote speaker. Nancy has been named in the Top 100 Productivity Experts to follow on Twitter and has a global podcast downloaded in over 95 countries. Her main focus is creating business processes with actionable steps so her clients achieve more consistency, ease, and ultimate success.