Entrepreneurs are constantly trying to move faster, be more efficient and, in general, be more awesome. But kicking yourself and your business into high gear isn’t easy when the things around you, in your personal and professional lives, are in disarray.
“Peace of mind, clarity, success — it all comes from an organized lifestyle and mindset,” says Justin Klosky, founder of the O.C.D. Experience, a Los Angeles-based consulting firm.
Klosky is the regular organizational expert on The Talk!, has appeared on numerous other shows and has consulted with clients from Pricewaterhouse Coopers to Saks Fifth Avenue and celebrities such as Topher Grace and Sharon and Jack Osbourne.
“The more organized you are, the more free time you have, the more ‘mind space’ you have available to focus on more creative endeavors and the growth of yourself and your business,” he says. “Getting organized is all about simplicity and will allow you to feel less stressed in all areas of your life.”
Here are Klosky’s essential tips for cutting the crap and getting your life in order — ASAP.
1. Let it all go.
The piles in your office, those long to-do lists of things you say you would do but have yet to do. Why start your year off bogged down with last year’s stuff?
Of course, there are things that you will need to accomplish that weren’t finished last year, but Klosky suggests that you give yourself the freedom to start fresh this year.
“Think of new goals, new expectations and new ways to achieve them,” he says.
If you don’t have one already, buy a paper shredder and start shredding the piles around you that are just taking up space. Scan the files that are truly needed.
“If you are realistic and hard on yourself, the ratio of what to shred to what to scan will be 10 to one,” Klosky says.
2. While you’re at it, say goodbye to paper altogether.
It’s 2017. Having stacks of paper all over your house and in your office is outdated, not to mention an unnecessary distraction. Think about starting processes that are 100 percent paperless.
“From document organization, email organization, taking notes, the paperless world will make your life so much more manageable,” Klosky says. “Look into buying a scanner, my favorite is the Fujitsu iX500 ScanSnap scanner, but any will work that doesn’t require tons of waiting time. After all, getting organized saving time and mental energy.”
3. Limit distractions.
With your phone always at the ready–either in your pocket, your bag or constantly glued to your hand–it’s too easy to become distracted by it too often. This New Year, create habits that separate you from your phone, before your life and business pass you by.
Klosky recommends creating a folder on your phone can and naming it “Twice a Day.” In it, drop apps like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc., that should require limited attention. From there, it’s about having the discipline to only check the apps in that folder twice a day–perhaps at the same times if that’s easiest.
Related: 3 Easy Ways to Go on a Digital Diet
4. Work smarter, not harder.
We’ve heard this before, but for good reason. Take a look at the overall scope of your daily process and reorganize your business and yourself so you’re operating leaner, more efficient and with less all around.
“You can start with the way you manage your emails and then take it to your documents and then follow this process into your daily lifestyle,” Klosky recommends. “Create folders on your computer that support the way you structure your business. These folders will also be similar to the structure in your email account.”
The same goes for your email. “Treat your inbox like you would the physical space on your desk,” he recommends. “If your desktop is completely cluttered, go back to Step 1. As you answer emails, finish conversations on specific projects, tasked items, move the email out of your inbox to the appropriate folder for the specific project.” This will keep you focused on the things you haven’t done yet and will give you breathing room when you look in your inbox. “The more chaos you see, anywhere, the more chaotic you will be,” he says.
5. Take a risk!
There’s something that’s been eating at you, something you’ve been wanting or needing to do to improve your processes or to grow your business. But you haven’t done it. For whatever reason, you’ve resisted. The trigger has not been pulled.
With the start of a new year, Klosky says that all of the preparation and organization is wasted if we don’t move forward and take risks.
“We all get comfortable in our current successes, in our current relationships, in our current living situations, jobs and are OK with just continuing the norm because most of it feels good and is good,” he says. “Seriously? Be greater than you already are in the new year by taking some risks.”
Perhaps it means hiring some needed help, even if it means forgoing the comfort of saving money. Maybe it means creating that new product, even without knowing if people will buy it, because you know it is the right move.
“Be smart and still operate your business with integrity and grace, but go out on a limb this year and create change,” Klosky says. “When it pays off, you will be filled like never before.”