Why not do both?

Although studies citing that a messy desk is a sign of intelligence and creativity have only gained attention in recent years, it’s apparently something Einstein, Twain and Jobs knew – at least subconsciously – all along.

All three had notoriously messy desks, and all three were clearly geniuses. Ipso facto? I’ll leave that debate to science. Being of the messy desk clan myself, I’d like to think it’s true.

When I started freelancing I set up a system wherein I used one notebook or pad of paper for each client, so I’d always know where to find what I needed from my notes. Old school, I know, but I’m old – so I’m entitled.

That system actually worked well for me when I had one or two clients at a time, but once my business started to grow I found myself juggling multiple projects and clients simultaneously. I can’t pinpoint precisely when that system flew out the window, but fly it did.

Now, there were always at least two of those pads or notebooks on my desk, and the one I would  jot notes on during a phone call was the one that was closest at the time, or the one no cat is napping on. More often, however, neither was in my immediate reach and I would end up jotting those notes on loose pieces of paper, backs of business cards, and envelopes from the pile of last weeks’ mail.

Suddenly harmless clutter became stress inducing chaos. I started having to search through the mess to find my notes on that price change for client A, or the dates of the event I was promoting for client B. The result was that my days grew much longer, and the quality of my work suffered.

When you’re a small business owner, especially a fledgling venture, even the small mistakes can ruin you. When you lose a client’s confidence you lose not only income, but your reputation as well. As a small business, fledgling or growing, your good reputation is the life blood of your business – you can’t survive without it.

How did I regain control of my business? It was actually quite simple.

I made finding the perfect system to organize my clients and projects a priority. After a lot of herd thinning, I found it. I chose the system that would help me to rein in the chaos, which was simple enough to begin using on day one, and that fit my budget. A total communications management system that made it easy to organize my clients’ information, record notes and calls in their file, and stay on track with their diverse projects and needs.

It’s been a game changer for me – I’m no longer having to burn the midnight oil or stress about putting a dent in my reputation. If you can relate to my struggle, I highly recommend you at least try finding the right one for yourself.

Now – In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you that my desk remains as messy as ever – but my business does not. I’ve kept the clutter, but defeated the chaos.

So my advice is to keep your messy desk, but get rid of the chaos negatively effecting your business. You’ll be glad you did.