This new job I`ve taken on has me doing a massive work-over of a truly chaotic entrepreneurial venture. It`s a small real estate office, and a perfect example of a typical startup...going concern.
As a result, I`ve had a chance to be objective about "organization," in
ways I`ve never had before. In a short while, I`ve come to see a
fundamental cause to disorganization, and I think it could be useful
for folks to think about. We`ve had a lot of topics about how to get
organized, but this is a bit different.
Why are you disorganized?
Plenty of consultants, assistants, and other people can come in and
organize someone`s life. Inevitably, when they leave, the life goes
back to being disorganized. The rule seems to be "you cannot impose
order on chaos from an outside source."
So how come people are disorganized? Is it psychological? Maybe so, and
there are a bunch of articles written all the time about it. On the
other hand, maybe it`s a process failure.
Complete each step you take
You pick up your keys, ready to go to the store. The phone rings,
someone asks you if you have a piece of information. Without thinking,
you say, "Sure...hang on, I`ve got it right here."
Then you put your keys down, "for only a moment," so you can reach for
the piece of paper. You don`t LOOK where you put your keys, because you
know they`re there, you`ll only be a second.
As you discuss the information on the phone, you walk around, then you
realize you need another piece of paper in the other room. You get
involved, answer questions, then say, "Hey...I`ve gotta go. I`m late
for the store."
You hang up.....and where the hell are the car keys? You had them 10 seconds ago....they must be around somewhere!
Focus is a wonderful thing, and we need it all the time. But if you get
nicely focused on an *interruption,* then you`ll likely fail to
complete each individual task. The more tasks you begin but don`t
finish, the more mess and the more chaos. Eventually, you`ll have
thousands of unfinished steps, and a complete breakdown.
Tell them to Wait!
There are so few interruptions that are of such fundamental and
critical nature as to threaten your life. So stop and think! When you
get an interruption, be it by phone, email, doorbell, or small hand
tugging on your shirt, WAIT!
Finish the single thing you`re doing at that moment. Use our eyes;
watch where you put down anything. Make a note. THEN deal with the