They say the most creative people have messy desks and “a neat desk is a sign of a disorderly mind.” I like to think this is true.
Back when I was working in the corporate world, my boss once stated at my yearly performance review that “Linda has a wonderfully organized mind. Her office may appear cluttered on first glance, but on request, she can invariably lay her hands on exactly what is needed on a moment’s notice.”
I made copies of this to show my mother, because she would never have believed it otherwise.
Controlled clutter and chaos has been my style since childhood, never being able to achieve the neat and junk-free desktop, office, and home that others strive for.
I recently read the bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. I had hoped to be inspired by it, but the Japanese style of minimalist spaces simply doesn’t resonate with me.
I wholeheartedly agree with the immortal Freddie Mercury, who once said:
“I want to lead the Victorian life, surrounded by exquisite clutter.”
The Victorian ideal, as I learned on a local house tour, is to surround yourself with objects that are meaningful or beautiful to you. I admit that I’m happiest when I’m in the midst of my “exquisite clutter.”
However, for a number of years, I’ve been using a household management system that actually works for me and helps me keep a lid on the chaos.
Back in 2001, North Carolina housewife Marla Cilley built a loyal fan following for her helpful posts on a home management bulletin board for frazzled homemakers called “Sidetracked Home Executives” (S.H.E.). Over time, Marla mastered the system and began to put her own spin on it.
Eventually with the blessing of S.H.E., Marla launched her own website, Flylady.net, in 2001. (The name came from her handle in the S.H.E. forum – Marla was a fly-fishing enthusiast and instructor.)
Since then, FlyLady and Company has become a powerhouse self-help empire, generating 7-figure revenues through selling books, speaking appearances and radio shows, and a branded product line – an excellent example of a successful entrepreneur who built a multi-million dollar business from scratch by creating a compelling online presence and building a huge list of raving fans.
It doesn’t take a genius to see how some of FlyLady’s simple organizational principles for the home also make sense for the small business owner.
- Babysteps: Small incremental actions add up!
- Set up daily and weekly routines: It’s a good way to establish productive habits.
- Make a Control Journal: Maintaining a journal of projects, tasks, and notes is really helpful for keeping track of it all in your home or your business.
- Use a timer: If there’s a task you’re dreading, just set a timer for 15 minutes and get started. You have a defined endpoint – when the timer goes off, you’re done, even if you’re not finished. As FlyLady says,“You can do just about anything for 15 minutes.”
- Perfectionism leads to procrastination: The perfect is the enemy of the good if you want to get things finished!
Although FlyLady was created to help overwhelmed housewives, I’ve found that I also rely on her principles to help me move forward in my business life. As far as I’m concerned, everyone should learn how to FLY!