Yes, apparently, “elephants” don’t discriminate! No matter what shape, form or fashion in the corporate or business world, you can become a casualty of the “clutter giant”. Even YOU, student entrepreneurs! Getting organized is the only “elephant repellent”… that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. So these are just a few simple organizing tips to help you balance life as a ‘trep and as a college student.
- Purge books that you no longer need. There are a number of ways that your books can contribute to a lot of good. Whether it’s helping other students to save money by selling your books to a buyback program or local sites like Craigslist, or donating to local libraries or thrift stores, or holding a book swap party at your place. Who doesn’t like a party?!. throw some much-needed textbooks in the mix and you’re the campus rock star.)
- Plan ahead… create a schedule and stick to it. Take care of things while you have the time. As a matter of fact, take care of things ahead of time instead of putting them off. It can absolutely create a stress-filled domino effect to the rest of your day and possibly the week. Think about it… would you rather be the one who’s, literally, handling your business more focused, confident, and excited about the day ahead? Or would you rather be the one who’s always on edge, playing catch-up all week between servicing customers and chasing the clock between classes? Also, if you have a business that you operate on a seasonal basis, like during winter or summer breaks, use the time when you’re not operating your business to prepare for business for the next season. Save money, focus on marketing to acquire new customers/clients, make any modifications to your schedule to reflect changes for that upcoming season, etc. Having a schedule helps you to develop discipline and the motivation to obtain your goals, both in business and while in school.
- Maintain control of the “elephant” sitting on your desk… paper clutter. This is bigger than a paper trail, people… it’s a peanut trail! Let’s just be honest… you will always have some sort of paperwork waiting for you on your desk whether it’s for business or school. So I want to be as realistic as possible when it comes to this issue. The problem is not having a lot of paper, it’s how you are managing it. The key is control. Create a paper system. Start by determining what documents you TRULY DO NEED, seriously…because those three-year-old business lunch receipts and even older class registration forms are not getting it. As you go through your paperwork, break out your label maker and sort them by general category, like ‘Business’ or ‘School’. Then create sub-categories within each of your general categories. Like for ‘Business’, you may want to create sub-categories such as ‘Receipts’, or ‘Business Forms’, etc. For ‘School’, you might consider a ‘Financial’ sub-category or create sub-categories by classes – hey, it’s a great temporary option for that never-ending syllabus collection every semester. It doesn’t matter how you do it as long as it’s relevant and convenient for you… unless, of course, you are a part of a team of people (like employees or business partners) then, yes, you have to be a little more considerate. Check out a previous post I did on this very scenario on sharing a space. Include your team in the decisions regarding your newly organized paper system. Once, you’ve given every sheet or document a category home, guess what? You’re done! Then all there’s left to do is to file them away and be disciplined in taking ten little minutes, each day, to putting things back where they belong after you’re done with them. In other words, don’t wake up the next morning to an “elephant massacre” all over your work area. It is NOT pretty, as I’m sure you already know.
- Got off-site storage? Treat it as if you live there. If you are a student entrepreneur who acquires a business inventory and you’re short on storage because you live in on-campus housing or you share an apartment, then this tip is for you. However, be sure to keep your storage unit very organized, especially in cases where you store business inventory and personal items together. Create sections based on what you have and purchase sturdy, damage-free products to store your items in. You want to protect your business investment and your personal items. Label everything! Organize this space as if you were living in it. You need to be able to find what you need when you need it; so make it as simple as “go in, grab it, and get out.” No more shuffling through a bunch of “stuff”. Who needs that?!
Owning a business entails having control and that includes having control over your living, work, and storage spaces. Otherwise, you just end up with a big, fat problem on your hands.
That “elephant”… I tell you…