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Regardless of how good we are at what we do, if we’re not organised, it can mean the downfall of our business.
Imagine wasting precious time looking for items in a messy office or missing an appointment because you forgot to record it in your diary.
I witnessed an incident recently that brought this home to me in a big way. I was on leave and received a frantic email from a colleague regarding a missing document. She had searched for it without luck and asked if I knew where it could be.
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Let me paint a picture for you here – This colleague and I have the greatest respect for each other and get along well together, but we have very different working styles. You might say we’re like the odd couple. Our offices adjoin each other but they couldn't look more different. I prefer a clear and organised work-space; on my desk I have an ‘In’ tray, a phone and my computer, whereas my colleague has large piles of paperwork that cover every surface. That’s the way she likes to work.
It could be argued that her clutter makes her look busier than me but that is certainly not the case. We both achieve our end result, but in different ways.
So, getting back to the missing document; it was now needed urgently but despite searching everywhere – including my colleague’s desk, they had failed to find it.
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In a last-ditch effort, our manager came in over the weekend to check every piece of paper. He finally found it – guess where?
For the most part, my colleague’s working style has never impacted on her efficiency but in this instance it had caused stress, wasted valuable working time and put our manager out on a weekend. With all due respect to her, it has highlighted the need to bring some organisation to her chaos.
I have read conflicting information on which is the better working style. Some people find a cluttered environment more conducive to productivity. For myself, I need clear space and organisation in order to concentrate.
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So, what is your working style? Do you prefer clutter or clear space? Is your paperwork filed alphabetically or by which pile it happens to be in?
Think hard about how best to organise your work-space. Even if you prefer clutter, don’t let it jeopardise your productivity or proficiency at the job. Maybe you can find a happy medium.