The importance of organization is often overlooked as a leadership skill. It tends to be connected with the assistants to the leaders instead of the leaders themselves. While I completely support the idea of finding people to surround yourself with who have the skills you lack, there are many reasons why leaders shouldn’t overlook the importance of being organized.
Organization is not just something you can delegate to someone else. It begins at the top of a business and works its way down. So, we’re going to dive into:
- Why is organization important
- Actionable steps you can take to become a more organized person
- How the Spearity app and business coaching can help you improve as a leader
So, why is being organized important as a leader? Let’s jump in.
The Importance of Organization & How it Helps Leaders
Are you still asking yourself, “Why is organization important in leadership if you have people on your team who can handle it?” Let’s look at the importance of organization on your ability to lead effectively.
Organized people manage time better.
When you lack organization, it’s inevitable that you’re also going to lack proper time management skills. There are many examples of what this looks like in real life.
- When you’re leaving the house in the morning, you can’t find your keys. You have to tear the house apart from top to bottom trying to find them. This puts you in a bad mood and causes you to be late for your morning meeting. If you simply had an organized system of where you kept your keys every day, this would be eliminated.
- You have a huge stack of papers on your desk that haven’t been filed. You’re about to call a potential client, but you need to track down their folder first. You sift through the pile but can’t seem to find it. You have to spend extra time hunting it down, and it quickly cuts into the time you have available to make the call.
- You’re working on a project, and you have information for it stored in multiple places. You have notes scribbled on a legal pad in your briefcase and others that are in Google Drive. It’s a struggle to remember what’s where, so every time you try to work on it, you waste precious time trying to track down the information.
Do you see how a lack of organization robs you of time on a daily basis?
Or, if you’re not sure if this is a problem for you or not, try tracking your time for the next several days. Jot down how much time you spend on each activity and see if there are any areas where you’re wasting time due to a lack of organizational skills.
Organized people prioritize better.
When you have your work organized, it allows you to prioritize where your time is best spent.
Leaders who aren’t organized tend to spend more time having to react to problems or “put out fires” within the company. It’s hard to see where your time is best spent when you can’t really see the overall big picture.
When you take time to get organized in your office, in your department, or in your business, it allows you to see where your attention is best spent. It also lets you pinpoint areas that could be a problem before it becomes an emergency.
If you’re not organized, this isn’t possible.
Organized people can manage people better.
If you’re not organized, it becomes very hard to manage what your team is working on. This is not an efficient way to work.
Getting your work organized allows you and your team to see what everyone is working on. This allows you to make sure you’re not doubling up effort in some areas while neglecting other areas. It also makes it easier than ever for you to really see what everyone on your team is working on so you can do a more efficient job of managing.
Proper organization in your team can also transform the customer experience for your business. It can help you to provide a seamless customer journey for them from start to finish.
Organized leadership helps reduce burnout.
Everything is more difficult when you’re not organized.
When you don’t know what the real big picture of your business, department, or team looks like, it’s exhausting. You may spend a lot of time worrying about things that you might not need to worry about. Or, you may end up having to solve problems that could have easily been avoided.
If this goes on for long enough, you’re going to start to experience burnout. Your job may feel more overwhelming and daunting than it needs to, and this will eventually steal the joy that you used to have in your work.
When you and your company are organized, you can easily have a clear picture of what things look like. You don’t waste as much time or money. You’re able to be proactive instead of reactive. This does a lot for helping to reduce and avoid burnout.
Tips to develop organizational skills as a leader
There are some people who are naturally great at being organized, and there are others who struggle with it. The importance of organization may feel like bad news if it doesn’t come naturally to you, but the good news is that you can learn to be organized.
Get everything on the calendar
When it comes to the importance of organization, the best place to start is with your time.
A quick and easy way to get yourself more organized is to utilize your calendar.
Taking control of your calendar is essential for staying organized and maximizing your productivity levels. Here are some tips that can help you:
- Start with your priorities: Place everything on your calendar that is non-negotiable. This should include your work-related and personal tasks. For example, block off time to exercise when it’s best for you and your kid’s basketball game. Make sure must-do events and activities are on the calendar.
- Restrict your meeting time: If others have access to your calendar, make sure they know when you’re open for meetings. For example, you might set aside a certain day of the week for all meetings, or you may have certain times of the day when you are open for meetings. It’s also important to lead productive meetings to reduce time waste.
- Color code: Create a calendar system that lets you easily identify what tasks you have planned for the day. You can have one color for personal tasks, one for meetings, and another for planning time, just as an example. Find what works for you.
- Batch similar tasks together: You increase productivity by batching similar tasks together at the same time. A simple example of this is checking email; instead of checking email all day long, designate a couple of times to check it during the day and avoid looking at or responding to emails at other times. This can also help you keep your thoughts organized since you won’t have to shift between tasks quickly.
Track your time
Once you start putting your work on your calendar, you may realize that you don’t have an accurate estimation of how long each task takes you. This is a common struggle for entrepreneurs, business owners, and managers.
If you dedicate 45 minutes on your calendar for a task that you end up needing to spend 60 minutes on, you can quickly fall behind in your schedule. While 15 minutes may not seem like a big deal, these small increments of time quickly add up.
Before you know it, you’re behind in all your tasks and feeling overwhelmed.
Spend a week tracking how you spend your time each day. Tally up how much time you spend per task. There are many free tools like Clockify that allow you to easily track the time you’re dedicating to clients, projects, and tasks.
Once you have an accurate idea of how long a task will take you, it will become easier to accurately plan your calendar so you don’t fall behind in your day.
Create an organized workspace
No, the piles of papers all over your desk do not count as a “system,” even if you think you know where everything is.
You’ve probably heard of the saying “a place for everything, and everything in its place.” Putting this to work in your life will help you organize your physical space and mental space.
Clear the clutter from your desk and workspace. Then, spend the last few minutes of each day straightening up your space so it will be ready for you to come in and start working the next morning.
This also applies to your digital workspace. Create a system for how you will organize your files so you—and your team—can easily find and access what you need when you need it. This reduces wasted time, increases productivity, and helps keep everyone on the same page.
Create procedures and systems for repetitive tasks
Any task that you or your team will do more than once needs documented procedures and a system in place. There is no reason you should need to recreate the wheel for any task.
If you don’t have any procedures in place, begin by writing down the steps you do to complete a task as you do them. The next time you do that task, follow your written instructions to see what you left out the first time and what tweaks need to be made.
Once you have the procedures accurate, keep them in a place where you and whoever else may do that task has access to it. This is extremely helpful for tasks that need to be done but aren’t done on a regular basis, for example, pulling quarterly reports.
Document procedures and systems are also beneficial when you delegate the task to someone else. This makes your job easier as you train them to take on the task and reduces their frustration because they’re able to see exactly what to do.
If you can automate something, do it!
Automating parts (or all) of a workflow takes the task out of your hands, freeing you up for more important work and reducing the chance of you forgetting something, misplacing something, or making an error.
Automation software allows you and your team to organize your workflow, set it, and forget it. Well, you don’t want to entirely forget it because it’s critical that you stay on top of making sure the automation continues to work and serve your business in a way that makes sense, but once you have it set up, it does the heavy lifting for you.
The process of automating tasks forces you to think through and organize the steps and information it takes to complete the task. If you document what you do throughout the process of setting it up, it will help you be more organized going forward as well.
Workflow automation helps:
- Streamline communication
- Increase accountability
- Save money
- Empower employees
- Boost efficiency
- Increase productivity
- Improve the quality of work
- Reduce stress
Automation takes repetitive tasks off your to-do list, freeing up your valuable time.
Stop multitasking and make time for deep work
“Deep Work” is an idea shared by Cal Newport in his book Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. The idea of “deep work” is giving yourself time to work on a task when you will have no distractions.
Think of how many times you’re interrupted on a daily basis as you try to work. You start working on an estimate for a client, and your laptop dings with a new email, or your phone dings with a text from your spouse. Or maybe you work from home, and just as you’re in the middle of working on updated messaging for your website, your kids come through the door arguing about whose turn it is to feed the dog.
The phone rings. A coworker pops their head in your office to chat. You feel the urge to get up and grab a fresh cup of coffee.
There’s an unlimited number of distractions that can get in the way of you getting work done if you allow them. And this is where the idea of “deep work” comes into play.
The importance of organization leads requires you to be intentional.
You must prioritize creating space in your calendar where you can work undistracted on the projects and tasks that need your attention. This means you need to be intentional about eliminating distractions.
Let your coworkers know that you’re unavailable, and lock your door. Tell your spouse that you’re not answering your phone for a certain period of time. Turn off all the notifications. Make yourself off limits to everyone else—in person, on the phone, and in the digital space—and get to work.
You can also use extensions and apps that actually remove your ability to access other apps and websites during the time frame when you’re supposed to be doing your deep work. This helps remove that temptation to hop on Instagram or LinkedIn to see if anyone has responded to your last post when you’re supposed to be working on that big project.
Take goal setting and planning seriously
Setting goals for yourself, your department, and your business helps you know where you need to focus your time, attention, and resources. This makes it easier for you to become more organized as you see the priorities.
You may find that you’re spending too much time on tasks that aren’t connected to your goals. If you find yourself doing tasks for the sake of doing the task and not because it’s getting results, you can reevaluate your priorities. As you begin to remove some of these tasks from your to-do list, you may find that you become more organized simply from having less to do.
Goals help you organize your time by showing you what tasks need your attention.
Setting goals helps you organize your business budget by showing what areas of the business need funds allocated to them.
Having goals for your business and each department helps employees know what they should be working on and how their specific work contributes to the success of the company.
However, in order for goals to make an impact, you need to set goals and track them. Many business owners and leaders set goals each year only to forget what they were working on as the months progressed. Once the end of the year arrives, they aren’t really sure if they hit their goals or not because they didn’t set the right goals and keep track of them.
Does this sound familiar?
If so, the next tip is for you.
Track your tasks, goals, and progress and realign as needed
The Spear process helps you accomplish your goals while building your confidence. Throughout the years, we’ve found these are two struggles extremely common to business owners, entrepreneurs, and managers.
Spear stands for:
- Smart Goal – Establish clear objectives
- Plan – Develop steps and resources to achieve goals
- Execute – Spearity works with you to meet objectives
- Analyze – Evaluate successes and failures
- Realign – Adjust the plan to improve performance and increase success
Not only does this help you establish goals and create a plan to reach them, but it helps you stay organized along the way. The Spear app makes it easy to align your daily tasks with your goals.
You’re also able to track your successes and realign your failures as you focus on continuous improvement throughout the year. This continued focus on your goals helps you to stay organized and intentional in your work.
Cultivate a growth mindset with training and coaching
If you’ve tried in the past to be more organized and grow your leadership skills but have struggled, you’re not alone. The most successful business leaders work with coaches and mentors, and research has found it’s well worth the effort. In fact, one study found that “business coaching has a return on investment (ROI) of 5.7 times the initial investment.”
The same study found that 87% noticed that coaching made a lasting impact on employee performance.
Working with a business coach will help you identify the obstacles in your path and help you effectively learn how to navigate past them as you continue to grow and improve. In addition, Spearity business coaches use a holistic approach to continuous improvement to help you grow personally and professionally.
The importance of organization for your success
If a lack of being organized as a leader is getting in your way of taking the next step as a strong leader in your organization, a SPEARity coach can help you develop the skills you need to make positive changes. Learn more about becoming a Spearity member today!