This is a great guest post by my friend, and fellow health coach, Francesca Verri. Besides being a health coach, Francesca is also a professional organizer who shows clients how their environment affects many aspects of their lives.  I love how she ties the topic of organization into her holistic health coaching practice.

I thought January would be perfect timing for this, so get ready to clear out some clutter, get refocused and see what a great impact it can have on you and your business.  I think you are going to love her tips!

4 Simple Steps to becoming a Successful, Balanced and Organized Entrepreneur

I have realized over the years that I just don’t work well for someone else.  I am a perfectionist with high expectations and a preferred way of doing things.  I have learned what my preferred way is and have learned that when it doesn’t mesh with the boss, work life can be frustrating. So opening up my professional organizing business 12 years ago was a breath of fresh air for me.  I love having only myself to blame, and love that it’s my choice to pat myself on the back, or to challenge me to do more.

Entrepreneurship can be a blessing and a curse, as other entrepreneurs will not doubt tell you.  You get your freedom — you say who, what, when, where and how.  But it’s also up to you to create structure, organization, discipline and balance. All of which can be difficult to achieve. 

As a professional organizer and a health coach, I teach people how to create balance and order, and about how they are integral to a successful, thriving and satisfying career – and life as well. I suggest mental and physical tools to help the busiest entrepreneur love their work without compromising a love of life.

I mean, isn’t that the point?

With balance and order not only can you find what you need when you need it – which always feels better than the frustrating alternative, but you can:

– bounce back more easily from setbacks or curve balls being thrown at you
– plan more, project better, “do” more – more efficiently
– rest more, play more, “be” more present.

Being balanced and organized is in fact about having a rhythm to your every day that is in tune to what you truly want to accomplish. As an entrepreneur, I have found nothing that helps me play that tune more melodically than organization – of time, mind and space.

Often, that feeling of being out of balance comes from some disorganization of the mind. And that mind chaos stems from some disorder in the physical space. When clutter is present, whether in the form of papers being strewn about or children’s toys, your mind will work [too] hard to conceive of all it sees in its path.  It will be jumbled and confused, agitated – out of balance. And your work and your life will be affected.

To be a successful, balanced and organized entrepreneur, try these steps:

  1. Clear the clutter.  This sounds so cliché and every time I write about it I fear people automatically tune it out.  It’s an important step and a scary one, too. Intellectually, we know clutter is the barrier to our balance but there are fears attached to “stuff” and those fears have the power to deter us from lightening the load.

Clutter is simply all the stuff you have that doesn’t have a home and is in the wrong spot!  That home could be the filing cabinet, a drawer, another room completely, or the trash!  We get stuck on one piece and it stops all forward progress.  I always suggest that to clear the clutter in your space you should pick one spot, and make it small.  Remove anything from that one spot that you know you don’t need, don’t like and won’t use.  What is left is more manageable.  Finish that one spot and move on to the next.

Clearing the clutter takes time and patience, but clearing it gives you clarity in your space and mind, and as such allows you to work more efficiently.

  1. Set your boundaries. Whether you have been an entrepreneur forever or if this is your first go, this is an integral step to your success.  Separating work from the rest of your life is important for mental and physical health and will affect how you approach not only your work but your “home” life as well.

Where possible, you should have a space, preferably with a door you can close, that is solely dedicated for you to do your work.  I suggest to clients that they let the whole family know that this is your office and it is off limits. This means there are no toys being played or art projects being created in that space, and no children or spouses at your computer or desk. When I say this to clients I am often met with some resistance. But setting up this boundary does two things: It helps you more easily determine when you are working and helps you keep the line between work and life clear. When you are in your space you are at work; when you are not, you can more easily leave it behind.

And second, it helps everyone in the family see more clearly when you are working. Because we are called upon to juggle and shift back-and-forth often from the entrepreneur to parent, having a dedicated space that is yours fosters a sense of the importance of your work and gives the family an easy way – perhaps subconsciously – to respect it. You deserve that.

If you can’t have a dedicated space with a door, be sure to set the boundaries around what is off limits to others (perhaps the computer, files, etc) and what is shared (some supplies like pens and markers, scissors, tape, etc). Be clear when you are working and when you can give more your attention more fully to your family.

  1. Ask yourself some questions: How you organize things and what systems you set up should be truly based in your own preferred way of doing and seeing things.  When I work with clients on setting up a home office I start by asking questions to determine how they prefer to work – and often they haven’t given it much thought.  A list on the desk vs a list on their phone.  Do they prefer colored-coded files or things in alphabetical order?  Do they like binders, boxes, file cabinets?  Understanding how you work is an important part of being organized.  If a system or supply just doesn’t “fit”, do the work to figure out what will.  It will help your business tremendously.  And it will help your mind stay sane.
  1. Use your schedule to your advantage.  Staying balanced and organized is all about how you keep up with life’s requirements.  Have one schedule where you put everything that needs to be done.  More than one is a recipe for confusion and chaos.

Schedule in everything, especially those things that you don’t think you will remember or you want to hold yourself accountable to do – like self care, and exercise.  If you schedule it, you are more likely to do it.  Schedule in time to work, time for the kids, time to grocery shop!  When you “see” your tasks more clearly on your calendar you take the guesswork out of so much of the day. The alternative is spinning your wheels trying to fit things in or figure out when something can get done at the last minute.

When you use your calendar to plan ahead and allow it to guide to completing tasks, your mind rests easier.  It is similar to keeping a list – where you dump whatever it is you think you need to do or remember in one place.  You give your mind the ability to pause and give it peace because you send the message that it alone doesn’t have to remember what to do and when.  It helps you be more organized and efficient, and promotes peace and sanity.  Bonus.

One of the best parts of being an entrepreneur is the choice afforded to adjust and rework how you do things so you are more productive, effective and successful in your work and in your life. Add organization and balance to the mix and there is almost no limit to the happiness you can achieve.

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Francesca Verri Grove
 

About the author: Francesca Verri is an holistic health coach, professional organizer and Paleo lifestyle advocate.  She helps people see where their life is cluttered and unwell. She meets people where they are in their journey to wellness and designs effective, workable lifestyle and organizational systems to help them be more organized, feel more healthy, and live life more fulfilled. Francesca is based in Massachusetts and consults nationwide.

For more information about Francesca, visit francescaverri.com

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