In today’s fast-paced, no nonsense, immediate gratification world of business with little time for pleasure, it’s no surprise that 80% of what you file you never use, 15% of your day is wasted searching for missing information, 25% of your time is taken up in meetings, 30% of your day is focused on low value tasks such as email, 20% of your team are disengaged and unfulfilled, and your business is not producing the revenue you had hoped it would, could, or should.
The three pillars of personal management development involve being optimally organised in your space, maximising your time efficiency and creating a work/life balance through clearly defined goals with the discipline to carry them out.
Getting organised is about making things simpler, smarter, faster for yourself and your teams. It drives revenue and moves you from mediocre to marvellous.
The Power of 3
The three pillars of personal management development are:
1. Space organisation
Regardless of whether you have a simple home-based office environment or a swish A-grade office space, clutter gets in the way of your success.
Loosely defined, clutter is anything that you no longer need, use or love. It’s the paper piling on your desk, the overflowing inbox, crammed storage units, lack of a system, and duplicates that cause you to feel overwhelmed, stuck and possessed by your possessions.
But how do you get organised if your office is a complete mess?
Step one: Get going
Starting off with an end in mind, arm yourself with black bags for trash and a couple of large boxes marked ‘give away’, ‘sell’ and ‘not for this room’. Don’t worry if you don’t have the whole day, week or month to dive in and get going. If 15 minutes is all you can commit to right now, it’s better than nothing.
Step two: Sort, store and simplify
This is all about weeding through your papers and possessions while deciding on what stays and where it goes. The excuse for not getting organised is you don’t have enough time, you feel overwhelmed or you don’t know where to start.
Instead of focusing on the pain of the mammoth task that lies ahead, rather focus on the benefits that organising brings: saved time, extra money, reduced stress, increased productivity, clarity, room to breathe. Starting in front of your desk or at the entrance to your office space, work your way around the room/shelf/drawer/desk touching each item, paper and possession while making an immediate decision if the item stays or goes.
You can ask, “Do I need this, use this or love this?” If the answer is no, add it to your give away or sell pile and move on. Only once you know what you are keeping, can you decide how you are going to keep them. It is now you can go out and buy containers, files or folders if you need. Group like items together and label everything that is in a closed container.
Step three: Build a maintenance routine
After all your hard work decluttering and systemising, you want to prevent falling back on old habits. Implement a daily sort through routine and use your diary, the seasons or gift giving occasions as a trigger to help you stay on track.
2. Time optimisation
Time is the one commodity that we cannot find or buy more of, yet it always seems like a good option to put things off until tomorrow. While this mantra might work well for your low value tasks, it’s often the high priority things that are getting left on your list.
Tackle the most important tasks first while focus and energy levels are high before diving into low productive tasks like email and meetings. This goes a long way to getting the top 20% marked off your list.
Here are a few ways to help maximise your time and increase efficiency:
- Time is a choice. Stop placing blame on your environment, situation, family, finances etc and take ownership of your time instead of allowing it to own you.
- Crunch the container. We’ve all heard the saying, ‘If you want something done, give it to a busy person.’ If you see time as an always empty bucket, there is always opportunity to put off what you could be doing now for later. Telephone calls and emails that could be completed in seconds are now consuming minutes or hours. When you make the bucket smaller (ie condense time through awareness) you tend to get more done in less time.
- Make time for the dashes. We spend a lot of our time focused on the quick, fast and reactive tasks that present themselves to us during the day, I call these the ‘dots’. Reserve the first hour of your day to focusing on strategic, long-term, high focus or big picture tasks (the ‘dashes’) to facilitate growth and development instead of stagnation.
- Multitasking is a myth. Studies have proven that multitasking is an unproductive productivity tool. Rather block off portions of time during your day and week for specific tasks and focus on those tasks during that time. That means if you are in the middle of a one hour appointment with your email, allow the phone to switch to voicemail and respond to that call later in the day when you are focused on telephone tasks. It can take as much as 20 minutes to get back to your same peak concentration level that you had before you dropped what you were doing and hopped to something else.
3. Life activation
Goal setting is like setting a holiday destination for your life. If you don’t know what you want to achieve, how are you going to know how to get there? Besides the clarity that having clearly defined goals brings, knowing what you want to achieve mentally (work, finance, education), emotionally (self, friends, family, material), spiritually (religion, spirituality, charity) and physically (health, fitness, well-being) allows you to take better ownership of your time, prioritise effectively and say no.
To get started gift yourself one hour of quiet time and jot down 100 things you desire. Write without restriction. Once done, group your list into loose categories and assess if what you desire is in line with what you are currently doing. If not, perhaps now is a good time to get yourself focused on the bigger picture that is your life.
Personal leadership development comes from being the best you. Take ownership of what is not working and have the courage to change things for the better. Getting organised is not rocket science, step back from your current situation and assess what can improve. Doing something, anything, every day towards reaching your goals will keep you and your team moving forward. There is power in progress… enjoy the ride.