5 ways being disorganized is making you feel busier than you are

Almost everyone with whom I have worked has overestimated how busy they were.

It’s not that they weren’t busy, it’s just that they felt much busier than the work demanded because they were disorganized.

How many surgeons enter the operating room hoping that the right tools will be sterilized and ready to go? Zero. That kind of organization and preparation is essential. The same goes for the chef at Benihana, the mechanic at your auto shop, and you. 

Here are five ways that being disorganized just might be making you feel a whole lot busier than you really are…

Everything takes longer than it should because your tools aren’t readily available or are used up. A number of years ago I volunteered with a group from my church at a local service organization. 12 of us showed up to work for two hours, but the folks running the organization didn’t seem ready for us and at least a third of our time was ineffective because we were looking for the tools necessary to do the work. 40 minutes x 12 volunteers – 8 hours – was lost because things were disorganized. Keeping your tools ready to go is an investment in your future progress.

You find yourself distracted by things in your workspace. I’m experimenting with putting my phone on a shelf across the room (or in another room) because when it’s on the desk next to me I will grab it without thinking and 10 minutes mysteriously evaporates before I know what is happening. Anything in your workspace that causes you to become distracted is your enemy. Clean up the clutter and remove the things that compromise your focus.

You miss calls and meetings because your calendar is a mess. This is a foreign concept to me, because Calendar is my favorite app, but the struggle is real for so many folks. Missing calls and meetings because you don’t use your calendar effectively wrecks your credibility and creates so much more work to rescheduled appointments and do damage control. My assistant manages my calendar at this point, so don’t be afraid to get third-party help to keep you on track.

You can’t delegate work that doesn’t have a clearly defined process, so you are stuck doing it all yourself. If you are like many of the clients with whom I have worked, you are convinced that the things on your to-do list can only be done by you. Okay. Maybe. But it’s more likely that they can only be done by you because you’ve never invested the time to figure out how to proceduralize (I just made that word up) and document their execution. Everything feels impossible to explain until you realize it’s actually just a series of steps that could be written down.  If someone can write a set of instructions to turn 7,541 Legos into the Millennium Falcon, you can figure out the steps required to delegate that project. Sure, it takes some time on the front end, but documenting these steps once will serve you over and over again.

You are doing your work in the wrong order and making it much less efficient. My daughter spent hours doing homework on a recent evening. Around 8:30 PM she decided to put some laundry in the washing machine. If you’ve followed along for any length of time you know that I can’t shut up about laundry, but I was exasperated that she hadn’t leveraged the fact that 5 minutes of labor 3 hours ago would have allowed the washing machine to work in parallel with her WHILE she was doing homework. The order of operations matters when it comes to using your time and tools efficiently to accomplish more in less time. 

Getting your ducks in a row can feel like a waste of time when there is so much to DO, but it’s likely the key to getting more done in less time. 
If you are feeling overwhelmed as a small business owner, download my free Anti-Overwhelm Playbook today. It will help you find the clarity and direction you need to overcome overwhelm and cancel the chaos so you can build your business with complete clarity.