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The Ruby Group | Akron and Columbus, OH

Creating success in sales requires energy, skill, commitment, and organization. Clients, vendors, sales representatives, and products fill up most of your time, leaving few minutes each day to organize yourself and clear the clutter from your desk or mind. January is “get organized month,” but busy sales representatives and managers can’t devote an entire day to administrative tasks without losing potential profits. Here are seven ways you can create organization to drive success in ten-minute increments any day of the year.

Assess Your Desk Décor
Keep the most important tools easy to see and reach by removing unnecessary clutter from your workspace. Yes, personality does matter when meeting with direct reports and clients; a picture of your family or one or two fun personal mementos start conversations and create ties that can even help you close deals. But you don’t need a dozen knick-knacks or photos directly in front of you. If you’re tied to your personal items, consider placing them on a shelf behind you instead.

Allocate Appropriate Space for Work Tools
Ensure critical work tools have a space within or on your desk. Tools you use multiple times a day, such as phones, pens, or a planner, should be in arm’s reach. Ideally, items you use at least once a day, such as a stapler, should also be easy to reach but can be kept in a drawer to avoid excessive clutter. Tools you use only occasionally can be filed away or placed on shelves away from your immediate workspace; make sure to put items away after working with them.

Create a 2-Minute Sweep Habit
In the bustle of a busy sales day, it’s easy for work, trash, and supplies to pile up on your desk. If you’re in the field for a while, you might return to find coworkers have stacked paperwork across your desk. A labeled in-box helps reduce coworker-sponsored clutter, and a 2-minute sweep lets you quickly clear what you’ve piled up yourself. Sweep your desk several times a day – preferably just before leaving for breaks or lunch or before meetings with clients or workers. Take two minutes to throw away trash, put tools back in proper locations, and organize any paper. You’ll be able to return to tasks with increased production when you aren’t overwhelmed by the mess.

Convert Paper to Digital Once a Day
Sweeping your desk consistently means you arrive at the end of your day with only the paper that matters. Instead of carrying over hard-copy paper to the next day, consider scanning paper for digital filing whenever possible. Digital files keep clutter off your desk, but they also make it easier to find paperwork in the future. You can download numerous smartphone apps with scanning capabilities or use a desktop printer with a built-in scanner.

Don’t Forget Digital Clutter
Speaking of digital files, don’t forget that your computer, tablet, and smartphone are all extensions of your physical desk. Take some time each day to manage digital clutter by sorting files appropriately, deleting unused apps and documents, and managing icon structures so you can quickly find necessary software or apps.

Write Down the Good, Let Go of the Bad
Your mental space is more valuable than any physical or digital space you manage. A cluttered mind makes it difficult to concentrate on the task at hand, engage fully with prospects, or work closely with sales staff to create new solutions. Take a few minutes at the end of each day to let go of negative things while documenting at least one success you experienced that day. From small successes such as holding your tongue with an irate client to extraordinary wins such as closing a million-dollar deal, write something down every day. Celebrating success helps you negate pessimistic thinking and helps you look back positively on your year so far.

Take Real Breaks During the Day
Finally, make time in your schedule for real breaks. Step away from the desk, the email, and the phone. Ten minutes with no contact isn’t going to harm your work, and several quiet moments with a cup of coffee, a breath of fresh air, or a brisk walk returns your mind to smoother functioning and can spur increased productivity and better ability to concentrate on a task or problem. The obvious exception to this rule comes if you really are waiting on the call for the million-dollar deal. Take your phone on break with you in that case, as any good sales person won’t be able to relax if missing that call is a possibility.

Decluttering your desk and mind helps clear physical and mental space to be used for meeting goals. When you couple the discipline it takes to put these quick tips into action with challenging goals and well-thought out plans, you’ll avoid the procrastination triangle and boost your chance of success in 2016.

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