No system for managing projects and documents

 When I started my first business, my organisation was a draw in my desk. When that got full I had a tray on the desk. Before that got full I realised that I was wasting vast amounts of time either because I was searching for information, or I thought I had completed a project only to find that I had missed some crucial information and had to go back over it again to get it right.

Having no system for storing information, organising projects and managing correspondence leads to a confused computer filing system, a messy desk, with bits of paper getting lost and a confused and ineffective environment.

Without a carefully designed, monitored and organised system, not only is it impossible to be efficient in your working environment, but it is also impossible to keep track of where you are in any project in an efficient way.

I once had a meeting with a business manager in his office. As I entered the room I saw a desk stacked more than 12 inches deep with files, correspondence, brochures, books and other bits of paper. As I was welcomed the manager picked up a pile of folders in front of him and moved them to a space on another table, just so he could see me.

He claimed to know where everything was on his desk and that he was highly organised and this was the most effective way he could work and he certainly could find most things in a very short amount of time. However, this was not always true, there were a lot of occasions when really important information was hard to find and on one occasion he spent over 3 hours searching for a very important letter that had become mixed up with another file.

There are three major problems with this type of ‘document management’:

  1. It severely limits the amount of information you can handle. You can only get a desk that is big enough to carry a limited amount of information.
  2. No matter how good you think your memory is, papers and files will get lost or mixed up with other information from time to time. It does happen – there is nothing you can do about it if you keep them all mixed together. There will be times when you pick up two pieces of information together, or a stack of files or letters will get knocked over.
  3. There is no way anyone else can step into your position when you are away from the office. If you are serious about taking your life forward, then anything that limits your ability to delegate tasks to others is going to restrict your ability to be successful.

For this particular manager it was a way in which he could ‘empire build’. By creating an environment whereby he was the only person that could ever do his job he felt that he could not be fired, he believed this made him indispensible. In reality, for the company, removing him from any critical areas of the business became important in order to ensure continued expansion and this manager saw his areas of responsibility steadily reduced over time.

Being disorganised is a key factor in the failure of many otherwise capable individuals to succeed in their chosen career or business.

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.