Organization. If you operate a business, it’s one of the easiest words to say, but one of the hardest things to accomplish and maintain.
Whether you’re a business owner or a very busy professional, think of your career like an increasingly elaborate juggling act. At first it all seems very easy. There is a natural rhythm to keeping all of the balls in the air at the same time. Imagine now though, that just one chainsaw gets tossed into the rotation; it’s very natural for any practical person to shift the majority of their attention to the whereabouts of that chainsaw. That having been said, this new obstacle and center of focus can break your rhythm and cause some of the balls to drop, and before you know it you’re no longer juggling, you’re just tossing a chainsaw up in the air.
Similarly, every job has major priorities and minor details. It’s pretty common that busy professionals let the major priorities rule their day, and often this takes their time away from the minor tasks. The problem is, minor details that go ignored can evolve into major issues over time, and these items tend also to be the most time consuming once they catch up with you.
Falling behind on minor day-to-day tasks is one of the most common causes of professional disorganization. Even though every major issue or opportunity that comes up might seem like it takes precedent, the most successful people are able to find a healthy balance between taking care of the daily items, and dealing with bigger issues or opportunities at a steady pace. The best way to find this balance is planning ahead. If you approach your day with an agenda, checklist, or some other type of task management planner you’re less likely to become overwhelmed by something big that comes up.
On the other hand, even professionals and business owners who are great at planning may eventually reach a precipice where they can simply no longer keep up with all their tasks. If you can’t slow down the flow of work, and you can’t possibly keep up any longer, then rather than panicking it’s time to look for help. Depending on your situation, that might mean delegating work to an associate, hiring a new employee, or outsourcing some of your tasks to a third party assistant. The important thing is self-awareness. Know when to admit you can’t do it alone anymore, and don’t let yourself fall behind because you are afraid to ask for support. It’s much easier to build a bridge across a canyon than to climb back out once you’ve fallen in.
No professional sets out to become disorganized. The reality of owning or running a business is that situations beyond your control will creep up, and it’s important to know that and have a strategy to manage them. Planning your work and knowing how to delegate or how to find help when you need it are essential skills for those who want to succeed.