Have you spent the bulk of the winter asking yourself “Does this spark joy” as you sort through old socks and high school book reports?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
There’s no question that Marie Kondo’s KonMari method of organizing has become something of pop culture phenomenon, thanks to her best-selling book and popular Netflix show.
If you’ve never heard of the KonMari method and have no idea what I am talking about, let me break it down for you. Essentially, it’s an set of organizing principles that focus on simplifying possessions by only keeping things that “spark joy” or have a purpose. The idea is that organizing your home in this way will have a positive impact on your life. You can find out more about the method here.
But your home isn’t the only thing that could benefit from a bit of organization.
After you’ve sorted through clothes that you didn’t even know you still owned, turn your organizing sights on your small business.
When it comes to your business, organizing can easily fall into the category of “I’ll get to it later.” Except later never happens because there’s always something more pressing that requires your attention.
But organizing your workspace can be extremely beneficial for improving productivity and creativity, not to mention alleviating stress and anxiety.
Ready to get started? Here are a few tips to help get your organizing underway.
Start with the Easiest
If it’s been a while since you’ve organized or just the thought of tidying up your workspace has you feeling overwhelmed, find an easy task to start with.
It doesn’t matter what you start with, just so long as you start.
Marie Kondo has said that she finds it easier to start going through old clothes because there isn’t as much emotion attached to them as, say, old photos. Take that idea and apply it to your small business.
Do you have excess office supplies lying around gathering dust? Or stacks of old reports that are no longer relevant?
Focus on something that would be easy to purge your way through to jumpstart your organizing groove.
According to research, more than 90% of the global workforce is unsatisfied with their workspace. So that leaves a likely chance of there being some improvements for your business’ environment that would boost everyone’s productivity, engagement, and creativity.
Start by eliminating unnecessary clutter. That includes those paper documents that are taking up every surface, as well as excess furniture and office supplies.
Don’t forget about any storage areas. Storage spaces often take on an “out of sight, out of mind” premise; it can be great to have a place to store archives, but finding them when needed can be a headache if your storage area is becoming a dumping ground.
There’s no need for organizing to feel like a chore, so have some fun with it. Set aside an afternoon and encourage your employees to tidy their own workspaces by bringing in recycling bins and shredders for a “paper purge party” with music and treats.
Organizing your office is also an ideal opportunity to create a clean slate for your workspace and then add a few elements that reflect the personality and vision of your business. A tip: think about adding some flora. One study found that plants can increase employee productivity by 15%.
Your Digital Files
For most small businesses, going through digital files is going to be the bulk of the work when it comes to organizing.
While the KonMari approach has people consider whether something “sparks joy,” use a slightly different take as you go through files and determine which ones align with your current business goals. For the ones that don’t, delete it and move on.
There’s no need to delete everything except for what you’re currently working on, but don’t be afraid to be a little ruthless with purging your digital files. Keep an eye out for duplicate files because you don’t need that same sales report from last year saved in 12 different locations, and don’t forget to purge through your downloads folder.
As you’re going through files, consider if your current method of organizing digital assets is working. If your approach could use a little tweaking, start by coming up with a naming format for files that you and your employees can adopt and use consistently.
Once you’ve renamed all the files you’re keeping, organize them into straightforward categories. But avoid having millions of subfolders that will inevitably take you and your staff down a rabbit hole of searching later on. Keep in mind that the average worker spends 20% of their workweek looking for internal information, so keeping a simple digital filing system can go a long way to boosting productivity.
Most importantly, once you’ve got everything organized, don’t forget to backup your files.
No, this isn’t to suggest that you should go through and purge any clients you haven’t heard from in a couple of months.
But this is an ideal time to update any outdated contact information. And it also provides an easy conversation icebreaker and reason to connect with clients.
Reaching out to your clients will not only ensure that of of their information is up to date, but it will also you can make sure that all of their info is up to date, but it will also make them feel valued by your business. That’s a definite win-win.
Use the conversation as an opportunity to find out what they’ve been up to, what they have planned for the coming months, and what they need from you. Any chance to be personable with your clients and reaffirming that they are not just a number to your small business will pay off in the long run.
There are several reports that detail the psychological benefits of tidying up. But to reap the benefits you don’t have to set out to be the next declutter guru like Marie Kondo.
Organizing is different for everyone so find what works best for you and your business. Remember that you invest a lot of time and energy into your small business, so don’t overlook the importance of having an organized workspace that inspires you and helps fuel productivity.