Get up, get to it – organise yourself and realise why the boring stuff’s so important (an not that boring).
Many years ago I embarked on a career. It wasn’t the one I intended to stick with and it wasn’t the one I had thought long and hard about and strived for. It was for money, for rent, for general living, to have fun and to convince myself I had given up my degree for a good cause.
My career in full time office management and admin didn’t last too long, suffice to say — or at least no ‘one’ job lasted that long. After a bundle of crapy experiences that included being told I should wear more make up, being sacked because I told my employee that my contract did not include washing the windows and wrapping children’s Christmas presents because their father couldn’t be bothered, I cut my ties with the 9–5.
However — I am glad for the learning curve, although tasked with some rather odd jobs in between the main thing I did was organise and cover admin. If it wasn’t for these pretty dull, admin based, general boring stuff, roles I would never have had as much discipline and understanding for the ‘boring stuff’ as I do today.
When it comes to running a business, and I run two for anyone new here (hello!) you need the small stuff, the boring stuff, the admin — it keeps the cogs whirring and the income ticking, it makes it easier to work and it comes hand in hand with any creative aspect of a business. It’s just as important as say, inspiration, for a business to thrive.
I remember when I first realised how grateful I was for my former roles, it was my first and only internship. When it was time for me to leave I was told how sorry they were to see me go as I was the only reliable, organised one they had. When it was my turn to have the interns there was a huge golf in between those that ‘got it’ when it came to the boring stuff and those that didn’t. The ones that didn’t made life hard. They complained, dragged their feet and generally tucked any spreadsheets or reporting under the carpet in the hope it would not be brought up again. Any fun aspects of work however they would attack with gusto — but that’s just not real life. I am sure I don’t need to add who went on to do well and who didn’t.
I find keeping your admin in check — ie keeping up with emails, keeping progress reports, accounts, keeping on top of contacts and generally keeping things organised and neat and tidy (including your desktop both screen and table) keeps your mind clean to think about all the other things going on.
It sounds so dull doesn’t it? But I assure you — the most talented, creative, crazy, kooky people in the world either had a behind the scenes organisation routine or employ someone to be organised for them.
So if you’re new to all this where to start? Well luckily someone out there that I discovered recently has made what could be classed as boring, fun. If you need to start at the beginning when it comes to getting organised then lists, calendars, folders and progress reports are the perfect way to do it.
Take a look at Sofia Cope’s Pretty Procrastinator Planner. It won’t answer all the problems but it will certainly answer many — and in the most attractive way! I love this brilliant idea to brighten up any organising duties.
And for the rest of it -the folder systems, the databases, the desk tops just assign yourself to it — if you hate that sort of thing (I get rather a lot of satisfaction from it myself) then just tell yourself — (what I do when I’m really not in the mood) “I will just do this without thinking. I will start with the easiest, most mindless task first — it won’t do me any harm, it won’t hurt me or use much energy but I will benefit from it”.
How about starting with sorting that pile of paper to your right (or left) and then see where that gets you. Set aside a day a week to keep the new habit up. Think about how much time you will save finding that email when all your contacts are in your address book. How quickly you’ll find that file when you have a system. How far you’ll get when you are noting your progress and goals.
And get a gold stapler — using a gold stapler with make printing things out and filing them so much more enjoyable, I can’t even tell you.
Yeah OK, I’m starting to sound like a bit of a freak now but seriously — the benefits are numerous!
I hope all that’s helpful! I would love to hear what you guys do to keep organised and the systems you use.