FlyLady: Messy desk; cluttered mind

Messy desk; cluttered mind

Three times this past week I was asked by people who have their own businesses how to grow their business. In each instance I asked them how their desk looked! Each one did not want to tell me what their desk looked like! This is when I started to describe it for them. They were in shock that I could do this. Then I told them that their desk was a representation of what was going on in their head.
Each one of these business owners had borrowed money to make a go of their business. They had to come up with a business plan to give to the bank. It all looked so good on paper. Then came putting the plan into action; isn't that what happens to us? Did you know that we all have businesses and our home represents that capital investment!
We have such grand ideas and go hog wild to begin to implement them all at once; then we get tried and crash and burn! Beating ourselves up all along the way! How can we find balance and consistency? I think the key is starting small!
Breaking the grand plan down into its parts and then establishing simple habits for your morning, afternoon and evening to keep you on track with your grand plan. This all sounds well and good but when it comes right down to it there is something that is standing in your way! It is the clutter that is on your desk and every flat surface in your home and office. That clutter is what is going on in your brain. We have to quiet the clutter to get some focus to our thinking.
My homework assignment for these entrepreneurs was to clear off the top of their desks and do it right this minute. This is exactly what we do when we shine our sinks. Take all the dishes out of the sink and pile them on the floor if you have to. I instructed them to take the piles of papers on their desk and set them on the floor. I didn't care if they put them in a box or not; they just had to get that clutter off their desk. All I wanted to see on their desk was the wood top. That clutter keeps their minds pulling them in several directions at one time. You are never going to plow a field if the horses are pulling in two different directions. It is time to put on the blinders and use all your brainpower on one thing at one time. By spending just 15 minutes each day plowing through those piles you will eventually get rid of your clutter.
Their next assignment was to get a timer and put it on their desk. Then to get a spiral notebook to take notes on when they had an idea; put this notebook on the side of their desk closest to their writing hand. This one thing will keep us from getting sidetracked with our outstanding ideas. All we have to do is jot them down and go back to what we were working on. We are very creative people and we don't want to squelch that creativity, we want to focus it so we can finally see an idea come to fruition.
I told them to set their timer for 15 minutes. Then I asked them to get one sheet of paper and write down a three-step list of the things they needed to do each morning to start their workday. Then a three-step list for early afternoon and a three-step list for stopping work. I told them this list could not be more than three steps to start with for each part of the day. This was their daily routine. Each item on their three-step list was a habit they were going to practice each day to keep their business maintained.
In order to grow their business they had to develop and use a basic weekly plan! We all have things we need to do every week to keep our homes running; the same is true for businesses. You have to work on projects a little at a time, keep inventories stocked, pay bills, talk with your employees, run errands, make appointments; I think you get the picture. Oh and let's not forget about the fun parts of being creative and planning for the future. I had them list each day of the week and beside that day give a focus for the day. This doesn't mean you spend all day on that focus but just to set aside some time that day for it. For me it is my mornings. I take care of what I need to in the morning and this frees me to play in the afternoon.
Now here is the tough part! We have to do this! Not just think about doing it! Establish the habit of clearing off our desk each night and starting the new day with a clear space in which to think. I have put together an Office Control Journal that you can download for free to help you get started, but first things first! Clear off the top of your desk!
We have a Google search box on our website; search for Office Control Journal.

For more information check out Copyright 2006 Marla Cilley. Used by permission in this publication.