Once, I was asked to submit a proposal for writing a brochure for a manufacturing company. I was on friendly terms with the president of the company, and he had asked me to take on the project. I put together a proposal and decided to deliver it in person.
When I arrived, the president’s secretary told me that he had left for a few minutes, and suggested that I set my proposal on his desk. So, I walked into his office and was shocked to see towering stacks of papers and product samples two feet deep on top of his desk. Every square inch was covered. Piles had tipped over on top of others.
I set my proposal on top of this sea of paper, and visualized it drowning before it ever got noticed. After leaving, I called his office and left a voice mail, alerting him that I had dropped off the proposal. Later, he returned my call and promised that once he got caught up with a few things, he would take a look and get back to me. He never did. And I didn’t mind. I knew we wouldn’t ever get anything done!
I am not a neat nick. I am not particularly tidy or organized. But, I have disciplined myself to be orderly and systematic because I don’t like the consequences of being a slob. I don’t like people to think that I am disorganized and out of control. On the contrary, I want people to feel that, by working with me, they have found a sane harbor in a sea of chaos.
I also got tired of searching for everything I thought was “right here.” The key is to UN-Complicate. When we strip down, streamline, and simplify…we get more of what we want, with less time and effort. And your desk is a great place to start! A clean, well-organized desk is a reflection of your business, and your integrity. You just can’t talk to your team about order and accountability over a giant stack of un-done paperwork.
For small businesses, this is even more important! Less staff means more responsibility for everyone. If you are buried under excess paperwork and clutter, it’s hard to run a streamlined organization. Start with the desire to organize – and get the tools to make it happen.
I teamed up with Staples on this blog. I only brag about companies I love, and I love them. I get a charge out of shopping for office supplies, you know, new stuff. Here’s a cool tip: You don’t need to spend more on name-brand office supplies. Opt for Staples Brand Products. The quality is equal to or better than other perhaps-better-known brands. So you can spend less for a lot more. From pens and markers to storage systems to furniture, Staples Brand Products can help make your office streamlined, organized, UN-Complicated! …with high quality products at great value.
Can your office use a Spring refresh? Here’s a step-by-step guide:
- Collect the tools you’ll need – a garbage can, a stapler, post-it notes, paper clips and a marking pen and furniture polish or all-purpose cleaner, storage bins and boxes, and of course a large cup of coffee!
- Lock your door and turn off your phone.
- Take everything – I mean everything– off your desk. Empty all drawers and shelves. Set everything on the floor.
- Actually clean your desk, inside and out. Polish it – make it shine!
- Go through every pile and get rid of the trash – THROW IT OUT! Be ruthless…out-of-date information? Toss it! A magazine that is more than two months old? Pitch it! (Remember, it is unlikely that you would ever look through your huge piles of stuff to actually find something. If any of this information is available online or with a telephone call that is where you should get it.)
- Put everything you need to keep into “like kind” piles on the floor.
- Use your tools to make small notes, staple corresponding items together, label and sort.
- Put back on your desk ONLY the things you will need to access regularly.
- Put back on your shelves ONLY the current projects that require your immediate attention.