Staying organized in all areas of business may not be a strong skill for many founders. Try as they might, plenty of entrepreneurs are unable to bring order to their chaos. Some even claim that they thrive on not knowing what comes next. But for the vast majority of executives, disorganization leaves them at a serious operational and financial disadvantage.
Without systems in place to keep everything moving along systematically and predictably, the wheels start to fall off the train — fast. That’s not good for productivity, morale, or future success. Therefore, owners owe it to themselves and their companies to practice organizational skills.
Of course, being organized isn’t just about applying a few hacks, as a Harvard Business Review piece notes.
Ways Businesses Can Get Their Calendar and Finances Organized
Getting and staying organized for the long haul requires developing protocols and processes that close (or bridge) time management and financial management gaps.
If your struggle with self-organization is an everyday occurrence, try these steps. First, they’ll help reinforce weak spots with strong, proven practices. Then, within a few weeks of making consistent changes, you should see a difference in your performance and efficiency levels.
1. Stay on top of your personal and business credit scores.
Nothing interrupts organization for your company like finding out that you can’t get a loan to buy equipment or scale-up. Suddenly, you’re sent into “scramble mode,” forced to find alternative financing options.
Credit bureau Experian has been working to provide more inclusive ways for consumers to bump their credit scores to help them get the loans they need. One way they do this is by helping people link positive payment history to vendors — like utilities — to their credit history through a service called Experian Boost.
Experian also offers free regular access to updated FICO scores. Tracking a FICO score takes just minutes and can alert you quickly to any problems, like the possibility of identity theft, if your score suddenly plummets.
Many business owners lean on loans to get them over hurdles and through rough patches. However, being credit-savvy removes barriers to powering ahead efficiently to meet your objectives.
2. Explore ways to get paid faster.
Think about a time when your organization has faltered. Could it be that you’re always trying to play “catch up” because of lagging finances? When you’re scrambling to pay bills on time or make payroll, a snag can occur in your system. You’ll want to get on top of the core issues you face. Often, the issue lies in how you’re getting paid.
For example, if you typically give your clients 30 days to pay their invoices, you have to wait at least a month for the money. That lag time between making a sale and getting compensated can ruin your organizational opportunities. After all, you can’t focus and stay on top of all your obligations if you’re distracted by a dwindling bank account.
Many entrepreneurs are trying to overcome this problem by exploring real-time payment options like those being driven by RealNet. Created by FIS, RealNet uses existing payment rails to move money rapidly from place to place. Currently, RealNet’s use cases have shown that some transactions can occur momentarily rather than taking days.
Getting that money in the bank faster will reduce last-minute scrambling due to dipping balances.
3. Put everything onto one calendar.
Do you manage multiple calendars? All those calendars may make you feel organized, but they’re just complicating matters. Rather than trying to juggle your commitments and force yourself to stay on top of multiple calendars, consolidate them.
Consolidating your calendar serves countless purposes when you’re attempting to add more organization into your life. First of all, you’ll only have one place to look for everything. That’s bound to cut out wasted minutes because you won’t have to jump around between calendars. Secondly, you’re much less apt to double-book or have a drop when you have one calendar.
Which type of calendar program should you use? Experiment with a few platforms to find what works. You may even want to add your daily, weekly, and monthly checklist to your cloud-based calendar. Being able to glance at an organized, color-coded schedule keeps you on track. In addition, if you notice problem areas, you can ward off trouble by rearranging responsibilities and commitments.
4. Keep a running log of your organizational missteps.
You missed a major business meeting last week because you were overbooked with work. You’re embarrassed and feeling out of sorts. The last thing you want to do is relive the experience. However, reliving (or at least reviewing) the past is exactly what you need to do to become a smarter time manager. Specifically, you need to consider the event objectively.
Don’t worry: You don’t have to share your organizational faux pas with anyone else during this exercise. Just write down every recent organizational mishap on a document or piece of paper. Then, analyze why the snag happened and how it could have been prevented. Resist the temptation to feel shame or blame. Instead, use the moment for self-reflection.
After you’ve examined your latest organizational problem, put measures in place to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Maybe you could delegate more of your duties. Perhaps you could declutter your desktop, so you’re not visually or digitally distracted. Try different strategies to chip away at all the habits that are sabotaging your organizational success.
Final Thoughts: Technology, Time Management, and Your Business
At the end of the day, your ability to better manage your time will positively affect both you and your company. Your new behaviors may even spark a desire among colleagues to improve their own organizational processes. In fact, you may want to check out all the latest technologies that can help you. That way, you can pass along ideas to your team members so everyone can be a little more organized.
Even if you’re not fully tech-savvy, you owe it to yourself and your business to look into organization-focused platforms and solutions. After all, every improvement will get you closer to avoiding the financial and operational pitfalls that come with a lack of organization. And best of all, you may discover that you have more time on your hands for all the rewarding activities you love.