Signs That Clearly Prove You Are Meant to Lead People

At Randstad US, researchers conducted a survey to nail down the top reasons why people quit or are considering quitting. Here are some of the findings that caught my attention, as published on the Randstad US website:

  • More than half (59 percent) of the respondents felt their companies view profits or revenue as more important than how people are treated.
  • Sixty percent of respondents had left jobs, or considered leaving, when they didn’t like the direct supervisors.
  • Fifty-eight percent have left jobs, or are considering leaving, because of negative office politics.
  • Fifty-eight percent of workers said their companies didn’t currently have enough growth opportunities for them to stay longer term.
  • Sixty-nine percent said they would be more satisfied if their employers better utilized their skills and abilities.
  • More than half (57 percent) said they needed to leave their current companies to take their careers to the next level.

Perhaps even more of an an eyebrow-raiser, Randstad US found that “58 percent of workers say that they’d stay at jobs with lower salaries if that meant working for a great boss.”

That was a wake-up for me. To drill down further, I reached out to Jim Link, Chief Human Resources Officer at Randstad North America, to talk about tips for great leadership and a great workplace that may help reverse these trends.

“Working for a great boss” defined

I asked Link to unpack exactly what “working for a great boss” means so that people in high leadership roles know what to shoot for in their hiring and development. I wanted to find out clear indicators about who great bosses are and what great bosses do. I came away with six important and key takeaways from my interview with Link.

1. Great bosses display empathy.

Link pointed out that there are many different management styles out there, and that’s okay, but the great ones are distinguished by empathy: “Great managers don’t just give feedback–they listen to feedback, with the strongest leaders being the most empathetic and emotionally intelligent,” said Link. In turn, “there’s a tremendous link between empathy and retention.”

2. Great bosses connect and collaborate.

In other Randstad research, Link explained that employees have a strong desire in working with managers with the ability to stay connected to them. He told me, “Employees want a collaborative work experience and for their managers to facilitate that.”

3. Great bosses develop their people.

Link said, “Another trademark of great managers is the ability to drive a culture of innovation, learning and continuous improvement on their teams. People want to advance in their careers and for their skills to be utilized.” This is in line with many other studies that have concluded that bosses must first understand the strengths of each team member, which can only happen through strong connections and relationships. In turn, says Link, great bosses “will challenge and further their existing skill sets and lets them exercise their strengths in new projects and opportunities.”

4. Great bosses value the emotional and lifestyle needs of employees.

This takeaway came from having asked Link a question about the employee experience. One of the findings from the study concluded: “If the full spectrum of values–emotional, financial and lifestyle–aren’t being met, workers will easily find opportunities elsewhere.” Obviously we get the “financial” piece of the equation, as we have lives to live, bills to pay, and mouths to feed. But I was intrigued by what companies should be doing to meet the “emotional” and “lifestyle” aspects of an employee’s experience? Link’s answer was so rich and compelling, I’m letting it fly here, unedited. He said:

One newer competency I’ve seen emerge as critical to great managers is the ability to lead toward decompression. This impacts the emotional and lifestyle aspects of employee experience head-on. We’re dealing with a new generation of workers who’ve grown up in an always-on, always-connected world. They are almost programed to be responsive in real-time and to take micro-actions. Great bosses will be able to help them disconnect, during the workday for creative “think time” so they continue to be emotionally fulfilled by their job and after the workday to maintain work-life balance and prevent burnout. In other words, to lead employees toward decompressing on the short-term and focusing on the longer term.

5. Great bosses provide for a flexible work environment.

To ensure a great employee experience that helps employees balance their work with their personal values and priorities, Link told me that great bosses provide for more flexible and agile work arrangements, “giving employees the leniency–as long as they’re performing–to get work done in a less traditional structure.”

6. Great bosses reward their people financially.

The research found that 82 percent of employees expect pay raises every year to stay with their current employers. Being a devil’s advocate, I asked Link if working for a great boss and having emotional and lifestyle needs met change this expectation of having a pay raise every year? Here’s Link:

While a fairly high percentage of people indicated they would stay with a great boss even at a lower salary, no one wants to feel stagnant in their career and pay is intrinsically tied to that. It’s such a tight job market that if people aren’t being rewarded for their performance financially they will look elsewhere. With companies so desperate to hire, people are very likely to get that pay raise by jumping ship.

While things like salary and paid time off are important, Link drives the point home to emphasize the greater importance of the employee experience at work. “If the full spectrum of values–emotional, financial and lifestyle–aren’t being met,” says Link, “workers will easily find opportunities elsewhere.”

Posted in Leadership | Leave a comment

6 Ways to Make Sure Your Employees Know You Care About Them

Curiosity and concern are paramount leadership traits. The best way for CEOs to learn both about and from their increasingly large and complex organizations is to ask questions. It also demonstrates respect for employees’ ideas, feelings, and opinions. In other words, great leaders care and act on what others think.

Leaders should not just ask questions but also create cultures of questioning. “If people are asking questions, that is a really good measure of their level of engagement,” says business writer Warren Berger. “It shows that they are not just on autopilot. They are paying attention.”

Berger champions the humble question as among the most effective tools in business. In The Book of Beautiful Questions: The Powerful Questions That Will Help You Decide, Create, Connect, and Lead, he curates a selection of the best, culled from a variety of leaders, academics, entrepreneurs, and others.

Good questions are curious, not confrontational, Berger says. The expression of interest should be genuine. “It’s easy to ask rote questions like ‘How’s it going?’ where you don’t care about the answer,” he says. “You show your interest by really listening and going deeper with a follow-up question.”

Here are some of Berger’s loveliest leadership questions:

1. Why?

The foundational question for any leader is one she asks of herself. It has two parts. First: Why do I want to lead? Second: Why would people want me to lead them? The answer to the first part, Berger says, should also be the answer to the second. Power, glory, and money are all reasonable motivations to covet a CEO spot but do no one any good but you. By contrast, “If you want to solve problems in people’s lives or create a great organization where people want to come into work every day, those are reasons people want you to lead,” Berger says. If your ambition doesn’t extend beyond your own interests, it’s better to let a partner take that role.

2. What is my code?

You can’t establish organizational values if you’ve never articulated your own personal values. Self-scrutiny should include a thoughtful review of who you’ve been at different points of your life: when you’ve been at your best and at your worst. Leaders should also reflect on their formative influences: bosses, teachers, relatives, and anyone else whose lessons they’ve absorbed. And they should think about occasions when they’ve taken a stand, which highlight issues and values they believe in. “It’s a pretty complicated question,” Berger says. “But it shapes the philosophy you and your business will live by.”

3. What’s the biggest challenge you are facing?

This question, which can be general or specific (by adding the words “on this project,” for example), teases out both potential problems and insights about individuals’ priorities and concerns. Often leaders ask it while roaming the workplace, gaining broad perspective while potentially acting as connective tissue among disparate pockets of expertise. A related question, “Are you making progress?” gets at one of the key things that affect how people feel about their jobs. “If people feel they are running in place,” Berger says, “that is a very important thing to surface.”

4. How can I help?

Douglas Conant, the former CEO of Campbell Soup, called this the ultimate leadership question, Berger relates. It follows the challenge and progress questions and is at once an expression of humility and support. “It should almost be the ending to all your interactions with people,” Berger says. But there’s a caveat: “People may actually need help. If they do, then you have to be willing to help them.”

5. What are we doing right?

Organizations tend to be fail-safe environments, focused on rooting out problems before they spread. “Conversations in business are often very problem-focused,” Berger says. “You have to ask those questions. But you should also talk about what is going well.” Morale rises when employees have the opportunity to talk about their successes–especially to a leader. They also think more positively about the business overall. The leader may learn about surprising successes, such as heroic feats of customer service or unexpectedly popular new HR policies. And he or she is in a position to codify and expand upon success. “You ask ‘What are our strengths?’ and then ‘How can we build on that?'” Berger says.

6. Is it clear what we’re doing and why?

Your core teammates–many of whom have been there from early days–are fluent in the company’s story and vision. But as functions develop, new employees focus more on their own narrow jobs and less on the overarching mission, which may never have been communicated well in the first place. “They don’t have to give you more than a yes or no answer,” Berger says. “If it’s no, then that becomes your starting point. ‘Here, let me explain.'”


Posted in entreprenuership, Leadership, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

How to Lead Your Business Through Its Tricky Adolescence

Startups struggle with volatility. Scaling companies struggle with volatility and complexity. Like the bodies of adolescents, these developing organizations behave in unexpected, sometimes unnerving ways.
Their leaders, consequently, require new skills and approaches to navigate this challenging stretch, says Scott Belsky, the chief product officer at Adobe and founder and former CEO of Behance, a platform where artists and designers showcase creative work. Belsky characterizes this “middle” period as a time of swiftly alternating lows that must be endured and highs that must be optimized.

Here are three of his useful tips.

1. Take a light touch to process​
Belsky calls to process the “excretion of misalignment.” Startups, he explains, comprise small teams in which everyone understands the vision and acts on it. Communication is frictionless. To the extent leaders can maintain that alignment through the middle stage they will need less process. “It is only when people start giving you different answers to questions like ‘What are we trying to do?’ or ‘What are our priorities?’ that you [need] to process,” Belsky says.
Leaders can’t avoid process but they can minimize it. For example, founders who fret they’re losing touch with their expanding organizations may set up unnecessary sign-offs or regular check-ins just to maintain the feeling of control. Don’t do that, Belsky cautions. Also, don’t create processes in a vacuum. Instead, A/B test them to see, for example, whether it’s better to brainstorm as a group or have people dream up ideas on their own and submit them for discussion.
Also: always be auditing. “Processes may outlive their usefulness,” Belsky says. “Are we meeting every Tuesday just because it’s Tuesday? Why are we having 360-degree reviews at the end of the year?” Improving or outright killing processes frees up time and releases creativity.
Belsky tempers his personal anti-process bias with this warning: If teams devise their own work processes, don’t interfere. You may know better than anyone else what the business needs to succeed. But your people know better than you what they need to get things done.

2. Market internally
Alignment trumps process. But as companies grow, alignment weakens. New folks sign on, new products and projects pile up, and the mission gets obscured. So in the middle, Belsky says, leaders must convey the company’s message to employees as loudly and clearly as they do to customers and the public. “It is wild how much money companies spend marketing themselves to the world, yet they do so little to market themselves to their own people,” he says.
A company’s external marketing can help. Employees are more likely to believe promises made to the public, whose trust it must earn, “than some kind of internal rah-rah email,” Belsky says. He advises, for example, that companies create external collateral–such as the splash page for a new product–to share with engineers before they start developing. Then everyone coalesces around that vision as they bring it to life.
Belsky also recommends liberating signs of progress from spreadsheets and project management tools and mounting them on large public dashboards that denote metrics like bugs quashed and customers landed. At Behance, his team plastered “Done Walls” with completed project plans, checklists, and sketches. When making presentations about future work, he began with slides recounting what teams had already accomplished.
The leader’s main job is constantly to remind employees where to focus, particularly when change and growth throw out so many new narrative threads. Belsky likes the approach of Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann, who treats every year as a new chapter for his business with a central theme: For example, the “Year of Going Global.” That way,” Belsky says, “even with all the volatility, everyone has the same answer to the question, ‘What is our No. 1 priority this year?'”

3. Help your hires
Hiring for cultural fit has both yea- and naysayers. Belsky is strongly agin’ it. Small startup teams are typically pretty homogenous, so scaling is an opportunity to enlist discordant viewpoints, he argues. “You want people who can spot an edge that in the future will become the center,” Belsky says. “That means you need edgy people.”
Such people can be polarizing, but that’s what produces bold outcomes. “On your due diligence calls you are probably asking, “Is this person easy to get along with? Did the team like him or her?'” Belsky says. “Those are the wrong questions.”
Post-hiring, leaders must act like surgeons, grafting on new employees–particularly senior people–to the existing team and suppressing the cultural immune system so it doesn’t reject them. Belsky advises checking in often to make sure new hires are settling in and to solicit feedback while their impressions are still fresh. Make sure they’re invited to all the relevant meetings and that everyone on the team understands their new colleague’s role.
Leaders must also foster psychological safety so new people know they can speak up without getting shut down or mock. That includes safety when challenging the CEO. “I love it when people disagree with me in an interview,” Belsky says. “Sometimes I’ll say something I think they’ll disagree with just to make sure they are going to stay in the fight.”

Posted in entreprenuership, Leadership | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Entrepreneur Sales Skills That Can Boost Your Bottom Line

Tell Them They Can Say “No”

Believe it or not, one of the most persuasive sales techniques you can use is to remind your prospect that they can reject you. They have the power to make their own decision.

Yes, I know it sounds crazy, but keep reading!

When you remind the customer that they have the freedom to make their own choice, it will make them more likely to accept what you’re offering. There have been several studies where researchers have found that this technique actually doubled the chances of making the sale.

It might sound insane at first, but it actually makes sense when you think about it. When you acknowledge that the prospect has the power to chose, it makes them feel less pressure. They now remember that they are not obligated to make the purchase. It makes it easier to make the decision to start doing business with you.

Successful Selling Means Taking Care of Yourself

This is something that many people forget. They’re so focused on getting sales and focusing on their prospects that they forget to take care of themselves.

Selling is hard, isn’t it? It can involve tons of rejection.

It was Winston Churchill who said:

“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

He couldn’t be more right. The thing is, if you’re going to be an effective salesperson, you have to make sure that you’re in the right mental and emotional state.

Dr. John Mullen, founder and head personal trainer at TrainingCor mainly helps his customers with their physical health. But, as a doctor, he also understands the importance of maintaining your mental health as well.

He said this:

“You can’t expect to hustle and grind every day without taking time to let your mind and body relax from the beating it takes every day. The level of your success in any field is dependent on how well you take care of your mind.”

That’s why you need to make sure your mindset is on point whenever you need to get someone to buy from you.

There are tons of ways to keep yourself in a positive emotional state. My two favorites are self talk and gratitude.

Watch What You Say … To Yourself

Self talk is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the way you talk to yourself throughout your day — your inner monologue. Every day, we send ourselves messages. These can be positive messages or negative messages.

Your emotional state depends greatly on the messages you send yourself. If you’re constantly telling yourself negative things, you are putting yourself in a horrible position mentally. You’re basically sabotaging yourself.

But negative self talk is easy, isn’t it? We tend to focus on the negative.

One method I use to improve my self talk is to focus on what I’ve done right. Every day, I try to take some time to point out a few things I did well. Sometimes I write them down. Other times I just think about them.

When you force yourself to hone in on the things you did well, it makes it harder to put yourself down. It gives you actual evidence that you’re good at what you do.

The Power of “Thank You”

Gratitude is powerful. Immensely powerful.

As a matter of fact, I’m convinced that gratitude is the single most powerful way to make a positive impact on others while keeping yourself in a positive mental state.

The benefits of gratitude are numerous. When you practice gratitude on a regular basis, it makes you healthier, happier and more productive. It makes it so much easier to deal with the challenges of entrepreneurship.

But I’m not talking about keeping a gratitude journal. Yes, I know they’re popular, and they really do work.

I’m talking about taking it a step further. Instead of just writing down things that you’re grateful for, try expressing gratitude at least once a day. I can guarantee that it will have a HUGE impact on your emotional state. It did wonders for me.

Being proactive about your emotional self care is so important for entrepreneurs. Don’t let this fall by the wayside. Not only will it keep you out of a mental institution, it can also help you sell

Posted in sales | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Little-Known Sales Skills that Entrepreneurs Should Master

Aren’t you tired of the same old sales tips?

I can’t blame you. There’s so many different sales techniques that entrepreneurs can use to gain more business. It can be hard to determine which ones work the best.

I’ve written tons of posts giving sales advice myself. But you want something more, don’t you? If you’re like other entrepreneurs, you’re probably working every day to get better at selling and influencing.

The issue isn’t that the “same old sales tips” aren’t effective. If they weren’t, nobody would be sharing them. However, the real issue is that there’s more to it. There’s other techniques that you can master in order to become a better seller.


That’s what this post is about. If you put these lesser-known tips into action, you will find it easier to close more deals.

You’re welcome.

Make Them Talk Themselves Into Buying

Social labeling is a great technique because it’s a way to get the other person to convince themselves to do what you want. When you use this technique the right way, you will notice that more of your prospects will talk themselves into buying what you’re telling.

Social labeling involves expressing an observation about your prospect that is favorable to your position. This can be done multiple times in the conversation. This technique isn’t used only by salespeople, of course. You may also see it used by leaders, politicians, parents and other expert influencers.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say you own a landscaping company and you’re trying to convince a prospect to become one of your customers. If you were to use social labeling, you might say something like

“I can tell that you’re the type who likes to make sure your lawn is always presentable.”

Pretty easy, right? Of course you don’t want to overdo this. If you don’t do this the right way, it’ll come off as awkward and manipulative. Also, you need to only make observations that you’re sincere about. Don’t use a label that clearly doesn’t fit the prospect. That’ll just make you look silly.

The Best Way to Lower Someone’s Guard

Want an easy way to quickly gain influence over someone? There’s a technique you can use to make your prospects feel more comfortable. If you do this right, your prospects will lower their guards. They will become far more likely to do business with you.

The mirroring technique is simple, but effective. It involves mimicking the mannerisms of the other person. It requires you to observe carefully how your prospect behaves so that you will know what behaviors to mimic.

There are three mannerisms you will want to mirror:

  • Tone of voice
  • Words and phrases they use
  • The speed with which they speak

The reason mirroring is so effective is because of humans’ tendency to be more favorably disposed towards others who are similar to themselves. When you mimic the behaviors of your prospects, they will subconsciously see you as more similar to themselves.

Of course, you want to be careful that you don’t overdo it. You don’t want to make it obvious that you’re mirroring the other person. That’ll turn them off quickly.

Know Why People Buy

You may not want to believe this, but I’m going to say it anyway: people buy for emotional reasons. Yes, it’s true. I don’t care what industry you’re in. I don’t care how analytical your customers like to think they are. Most of their buying decisions are tied to emotion.

It’s true. When you tap into your customer’s emotions, they will become far more likely to do business with you. That’s why you need to focus on your prospect’s passion.

What are your customers and prospects passionate about? Do you know?

See, here’s the thing. Most entrepreneurs are focused on their own passions. And they should be. A strong sense of purpose can drive you to success.

But your customers and prospects also have passions. When it comes to selling your products and services, you need to find out how they relate to what your prospects feel strongly about.

Makes sense, right?

Speak to what your prospect feels. It doesn’t have to be anything monumental. Even if it’s just a small feeling, it’ll work. If you can find a sense of purpose in your prospect, that will help you influence them more effectively.


Posted in Investment, sales | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

6 Google Doc Hacks to Boost Your Productivity

When you run a small business, there’s never enough time in the day. Your task list is as long as a shopping receipt, and it seems to stay the same length no matter how many items you check off. And, of course, you probably want to make time for your significant other on top of that. It’s no wonder you’re stressed.

Small-business loan provider Fundera surveyed several hundred business owners last year and found that 19 percent of small-business owners work more than 60 hours a week. It also found that 70 percent work more than 40 hours a week, and 89 percent work on weekends.

You’re most likely overseeing a litany of business operations, from hiring and sales to marketing and customer service. Improving your productivity isn’t only about working harder or faster, it’s also about working smarter. Leveraging tools can help you make the most of your time.

Google Docs is one of the tools most widely used by entrepreneurs these days. It can help you squeeze the most out of every hour and run your business more effectively. But are you using it as efficiently as possible? Here are some ideas that can help you optimize it.

1. Get organized with color coding.

Business owners use Google Docs and Sheets for everything from tracking employee hours to creating marketing collateral. Over time, your Drive can get pretty messy and crowded. And if you can’t remember the exact name of a doc or sheet, you’re forced to waste time looking for it.

Color coding your folders will stop this. You’ll locate your materials far more easily. First, create new folders and sort your docs. Next, right click or control click any folder. Select “Change Color” and choose from any of the 24 hues.

2. Make conference calls from within a doc.

Add-ons are companion apps for G Suite that allow you to perform a variety of tasks. Let’s say you’re collaborating on a Google doc with two of your employees. The UberConference add-on lets you book a conference call with your collaborators right from the sidebar.

To get the add-on, open your doc, and then click “Add-ons” and “Get Add-ons.” Type “UberConference” into the search bar and click the blue plus sign. Then allow the app to access your Google account.

To launch the add-on, click the add-ons menu and select “UberConference/Launch Sidebar.”

3. Use templates for recurring projects.

If you find yourself struggling to format project proposals, meeting agendas, or customer invoices, use a template you can quickly modify as needed. This way you don’t have to start from scratch every time.

Navigate to and choose from a variety of preformatted docs. This list includes business letters, project proposals, onboarding notes, and job-offer letters.

Other templates, like consulting agreements, sales quotes, and statements of work, are available as add-ons.

4. Add your signature to a document.

How many times have you printed a document, signed it, then scanned and emailed it to someone? Imagine how much time you’d save over the course of a year if you could add your signature to a document with the click of a button.

The PandaDoc add-on inserts your e-signature to a doc from any device. After you get the add-on, you’ll be prompted to connect to PandaDoc and create an account. Once that’s done, activate the add-on to open a sidebar and draw your signature. Click it to add it to your doc.

5. Use your voice to type.

There are plenty of situations where it might be more convenient to speak your draft than type it. Try the Voice Typing feature to speed up the creation of a Google doc.

From Tools, select “Voice Typing.” Click the black microphone icon and begin speaking after it turns red. You can add common punctuation by saying “period,” “comma,” “exclamation point,” or “question mark.”

6. Send a fax without a fax machine.

Have a love-hate relationship with your fax machine? The HelloFax add-on enables you to fax documents from within Google Docs. It may inspire you to kick that clunky machine to the curb once and for all.

To fax a Google doc, simply open the add-on, enter the fax number, and click “Send.” Add an optional cover page in less than 20 seconds.

When you use these hacks to extend your abilities, you can get more done in less time. Who knows, you might even clock a 40-hour workweek for a change.

Posted in productivity, Social Media | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

How to Organize Your Office for Maximum Productivity

People seem to self-identify into 2 categories: those that thrive working from home, and those that say they could never do it. But working from home is like any other productivity challenge – if you set yourself up for success, become aware of some best practices, and apply some creativity and flexibility, anyone can do it and do it productively.

Where you work affects how you work. Working in a cluttered, messy, or distracting environment will affect your work, and probably in a negative way.

If you’re like the average knowledge worker, you spend most of your time sitting in front of a computer screen. Even though your work revolves around a computer, your office as a whole should help you to be as productive as possible.

A well-organized office has huge benefits. In the first place, it provides a feeling of control and competence, which leads to higher levels of productivity. Second, the very fact that it’s organized defends against distractions. Your organized office can absorb the incoming work, and position you for success.

Start with a purge

You can’t create a productive workspace without The Purge.

Depending on the condition of your office, the purge could take anywhere from a few hours to a whole day.

The final goal of the purge is to have an office that is completely free of clutter.

Create a catch-it space

Every office needs a place to catch incoming junk.

There are three main types of junk that flow into an office: 1) important documents, 2) stuff you need to keep (jacket, umbrella, travel mug), and 3) trash.

A catch-it space should be set up in the most obvious area of your office. If you have a door, create your catch-it space to the right of the door. If you’re in a cubicle, create a catch it space somewhere near the entrance.

A catch-it space should have: 1) a credenza or tray for documents; 2) a shelf, hooks, or a box in which to place important items; and 3) a trashcan.

Your catch-it space helps you keep your office clean with little effort.

Keep your desktop clear of clutter

The most important physical space in an office is the desktop.

Most people find that they are most productive when working at a desktop that is free of clutter. Other people, mostly creative types, thrive in a setting that is disorderly.

If you have a penchant for the creative and a secret love for the disorder, then do what suits you. Some entrepreneurs, famously including Tony Hsieh, love a messy desk.

For the less inspired among us, a clean and pristine desktop is the best option. Our work styles are reflected by our work surroundings; a clean workspace creates a productive workflow.

Place two document trays on your desk

A two-tray system is the simplest and most effective for handling incoming paper.

The system works like this: 1) new tray, new documents; 2) old tray, documents you’ve opened or looked at, and need to deal with.

All new, unread, or unopened documents go in the new tray. This tray is for the benefit of people who wander into your office to toss stuff on your desk. Point to the tray. The new tray is for things that you still have to deal with. Unopened envelopes, folders, documents–it’s all waiting for you, neatly stacked, when you’re ready for it.

The old tray is for things that you’ve opened but still need to deal with–scan, file, forward, etc. It’s like a to-do list, but at least it’s not scattered all over your office

This is a very simple approach, but it works wonders for eliminating paper clutter from a desk, freeing you to be more productive.

Create two zones

Not all work is created equal. You should approach office organization with this two-zone perspective.

Zone 1: Computer work. This is your traditional desktop. You spend most of your time here, knocking stuff out and getting things done.

Zone 2: Non-computer work. This is where you go to do non-computer stuff. It could be the same desk, but simply another area that is cleared of monitors, cords, and chargers. This is where you go when you thumb through documents, use your iPad, sign papers, scan documents, or stamp envelopes–whatever it is that doesn’t require a hands-on-the-keyboard approach to work.

The two-zone approach to an office helps you both organize your work and your approach to getting the types of things done that you deal with on a daily basis.

Place physical objects into drawers or organizing trays

Most offices need a few supplies. Even Andrew Hyde, the extreme minimalist who stripped his possessions down to 15 things, needs a place to put his iPhone, chargers, earphones, camera, sunglasses, and wallet.

Whether you have 15 items or 500, you need a place to put it all–a place that is out of sight. A desk drawer is the logical place. Avoid the temptation to keep your cute stapler, fashionable tape dispenser, and adorable paper clip holder on top of your desk. For the most part, these supplies need to be stored in an organized and accessible place like a drawer.

Get a bigger trashcan

A bigger trashcan sounds a bit silly, but it’s actually a strategic hack. Here’s why. Most of the paper that comes into an office can be discarded or digitized rather than filed. Filing papers is one of the tasks that takes the most time, and is thus the most procrastinated.

Because a large trashcan is more visible, you tend to think of it more often. When unnecessary paper comes into your workspace, you’re more likely to place it in the trashcan than to stack it in a disheveled paper tower of “No Clue What to Do With It.”

A bigger trashcan also prevents trashcan overflow. One of the worst forms of office clutter is a trashcan that reached its capacity three days ago. Get a bigger can, and you’ll be able to absorb more waste. Make sure to recycle!


Be sure to combine your personal productivity system with your office organization method. Some productivity methods recommend a certain approach to organizing your office.

Whatever your preferred organizational method or productivity system, don’t wait to create your organized office. The longer you wait, the more time you waste.


Posted in entreprenuership, productivity | Tagged , | Leave a comment