When you take time to organize your office, you are investing in the efficiency of your entire business.
In fact, failure to maintain a clean workspace may directly lead to a loss in revenue. That’s a bold statement—but not really, if you follow the logic…
- In a disorganized office, everything takes more time (moving around, finding what you need, replacing missing files, etc.).
- Time spent navigating a disorganized office is time that could have been spent on revenue-generating tasks.
- As we all know, time is money.
- Therefore, time wasted is revenue lost.
Organize Your Office to Gain the Advantage
We get it. As a busy owner of a company, you’ve already got more on your plate than you can handle. Is it really worth it to add “organize your office” to that list?
It might actually be one of your best investments.
It’s possible that taking time to organize your office could be one of the things that gives you a unique advantage over your competition. If all things are more or less equal between you and the other guys (price, service, ability, etc.), being able to conduct business more efficiently could very well be the thing that sets you apart and puts you in the lead.
Author and speaker Andy Andrews frequently says that, in order to win, businesses need to find ways to compete on a level where the other team doesn’t even know there’s a game being played. In his book, “The Little Things: Why You Should Sweat the Small Stuff”, he talks about the value of paying attention to seemingly insignificant details in order to get big results.
“…the difference really is in the little things because the actual gap between first and second place is most often ridiculously small. In fact, as with multiple Olympic sports, the difference between first place and tenth place is less than a second.
During one of his many appearances in the Olympic Games, American swimmer Michael Phelps once won a gold medal by a hundredth of a second… Here is the truth that average achievers never bother to consider: the advantage in any area of life is earned far in advance of the moment required to perform.”Andy Andrews, The Little Things: Why You Should Sweat the Small Stuff
He goes on to point out that in Phelps’ case, it could have been an extra swallow of coffee, one more practice lap, a few minutes of rest, or a positive thought at just the right moment that made the difference. Whatever it was, it was a tiny advantage that delivered a big win.
Now, imagine how taking time to organize your office could be your 1/100th of a second advantage.
Organize Your Office to Deal With Bigger Issues
Consider this as well: What if a cluttered office isn’t the problem? What if it’s only the symptom?
Your messy work space might just be telling you that you’re stretched a little too thin, and the chaos around you may be a sign that other elements of your life are out of whack. Straightening up your office won’t automatically fix those things, but it will definitely create the space for those things to be properly dealt with…before they hurt your business (and/or personal life).
In an article for Harvard Business Review titled “The Case for Finally Cleaning Your Desk,” Libby Sander writes, “When our space is a mess, so are we. …Our physical environments significantly influence our cognition, emotions, and behavior, affecting our decision-making and relationships with others. Cluttered spaces can have negative effects on our stress and anxiety levels, as well as our ability to focus, our eating choices, and even our sleep.”
Marie Kondo (organization guru, host of the Netflix show “Tidying Up”, and creator of the KonMari Method™ of decluttering) says, “Visible mess helps distract us from the true source of the disorder.”
While Ms. Kondo focuses her work on helping people declutter their homes, her overall philosophy can easily be applied to where you work as well. Since work is where we spend nearly a third of our lives, it’s worth taking a look at how beneficial it could be to organize your office for greater efficiency.
Tips for Organizing Your Office
The basic idea behind the KonMari method is: “only surround yourself with things that spark joy.” Everything gets put into a pile, and anything that doesn’t “spark joy” has to go. She’s not a fan of organizing the way most people think of it (simply putting junk in neater boxes); her goal is to ultimately help people get rid of things that rob their time, space, and energy.
We realize that some of her methods may not be practical in an office setting. (Sorry, the copy machine or your coworker may not “spark joy”, but you can’t just get rid of them.) However, there are a few ideas you can apply to where you work:
1. Start small.
Instead of piling everything in your entire office into the middle of the floor and spending the entire day going through it (no possible disruption there, right?), start by focusing on one small area at a time…your desk, for instance.
2. Decide what you really need.
A favorite pen or a report may not “spark joy”, but what they accomplish for you certainly can. Likewise, there may be useless things stuffed away in your desk drawers that take up space that serve no purpose. Go through your desk and choose to keep only the things that make your job easier. If you need to manage receipts, consider scanning them and storing them in the cloud. Everything else can go in a box, in the trash, or to your house. (Deal with it there later. Today’s goal is simply getting this one space clean.)
3. Don’t forget the digital.
Organizing isn’t just for the things you can hold in your hands. Our digital lives are way too cluttered too! When it comes to your computer files and emails, you don’t necessarily need to trash everything (you can archive files or move them to somewhere out of site in the cloud), but you should only keep things in front of you that fall into one of 3 categories:
- You need it now—e.g. current project.
- You’re waiting on something—e.g. an answer from a coworker.
- You need to keep it forever—e.g. legal documents.
4. Use storage that is easy to use.
One reason our physical workspaces are so messy is often that it’s too time-consuming to store things properly. The lid to the box doesn’t close well. Too many steps to the storage closet. It’s easier to just throw the cord in the top drawer.
If your storage system doesn’t work well, it simply doesn’t work. Find a way to keep important items easily accessible (and easily returnable). One suggestion is to store similar items with each other: pens, makers, and pencils together, books with other books, file papers all in the same area, etc.
Even little steps in the right direction will make a big difference. If you’re interested in exploring more of Marie Kondo’s methods in the workplace, check out the book she wrote recently with organizational psychologist, Scott Sonenshein, “Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life.”
Organize Your Finances
After your office is straightened up, you’ll be ready to get to work growing your business! If you’re ready to make sure your finances are well-organized too, getting in touch with our business and finance experts here at CRS may be just the thing you need. Our services go well beyond simply doing taxes, and we believe you should expect more from your CPA. (Pssst, we can even clean up your monthly bookkeeping records and reports!)
To get started for free, download a PDF we put together just for you on “9 Simple Accounting Mistakes That Are Costing Your Business Money.”
Then schedule a call today to find out how we can “spark joy” in your business and help you win.