Running a Tidy Ship

Albert Einstein once pointed out that everything should be made as simple as possible — but no simpler. This certainly can be applied to any business that wants to keep its equilibrium.

For most entrepreneurs, that requires constant vigilance since a business can become complicated and cumbersome in the blink of an eye. Here are some guidelines to incorporate into your business:

Make simplicity a goal. It’s not enough to say you want to simplify your business. Identify specific, measurable results that will indicate that you have made your systems, marketing, accounting, etc. as simple as possible.

Work on one profit center at a time. Give a single project your full attention by keeping papers or items related to other projects out of sight. When it’s time to move on to the next project, stash things related to the last project in a file or closet or drawer.

Avoid confusion. “Clutter and messy work areas cause confusion and irritability,” observes Alexandra Stoddard. “Give your mind a spa and take some time out to rearrange your office. Block off a few hours on your calendar and use the time to putter. Edit out the unnecessary.”

Identify spendthrift behavior and eliminate it. New gadgets and technologies can be seductive, but refuse to purchase anything for your business unless it makes a positive contribution.

Keep projects separate. If you manage several profit centers, color code the work in each of them for ease in locating and filing.

Keep a single calendar. A portable system such as Filofax is ideal. If you write appointments, deadlines, etc. in several locations, you’ll waste time transferring them from place to place.

Hire a professional organizer to help you develop the best system for you. Make certain you understand how to maintain it as easily as possible.

Clean out your computer and cabinet files at regular intervals. Make a note on your calendar every 60 or 90 days to tidy up so things don’t accumulate.

Designate space. My grandmother’s favorite saying was, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” As I’ve discovered, uncluttering is as much about creating places as it is about throwing away.

Identify your nemesis and make a special effort to deal with that. Going after the biggest problem — and solving it — often makes solving lesser problems a snap.

There’s more where this came from.
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