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“Cluttered spaces (and cluttered minds) are the real barriers to productivity.”

Angie Mattson is Chief Efficiency Officer with Your Organized Guide, Inc. and is a highly sought after small business process, organization, and time management expert.

Angie and her team work with small business owners showing them how to streamline their time and businesses so they can work more efficiently and effectively while making more money using the Five Essential Business Systems (TM). Angie’s superpower is her ability to organize anything (thus turning chaos into order).

Angie organizes physical space, people, and systems to make them more efficient and effective. Most of her client work begins without any preconceived notions – she creates as she goes by observing, listening, and by asking pointed questions. Angie allows her intuition to guide her questions and inspire her solutions.

MO: When did you realize that you had a gift for turning “chaos into order” and what inspired you to launch a business around it?

Angie: My first career was as a vet tech (just like a nurse – but for animals). I was always reorganizing things, making areas less cluttered, and helping the flow of our work get better. The crazier things got, the more calm and focused I became. And when I changed careers and became an Executive Assistant, I re-arranged every supply closet I could find, I wrote procedure manuals where none existed and I helped organize a workflow with each boss I had.

MO: Can you talk about the concept and development process behind your Five Essential Business Systems™ and what kind of results they can produce?

Angie: It took me a little over two years to develop the idea for the Five Essential Business Systems™. It came together the more I worked with clients and they asked, “Where do I even start?” I needed some structure to show what we could work on, a structure to begin, and a way to simplify what every small business needs systems-wise.

It’s worked marvelously because everyone I show it to “gets it.” Business owners start self-identifying right away. They say, “Oh, I so need Essential Business System #5 – I can’t get anything done, my To Do list is stupid long. I want new tools.” Or they say, “I need more structure around Essential Business System #1 – I do a terrible job with prospecting and follow up.”

The Five Essential Business Systems ™ are a marvelous conversation starter with business owners.

MO: How often is physical space a barrier to productivity? What are some ways that our readers can analyze their own workspace and see if there are any obstacles inhibiting their efficiency or creative flow?

Angie: Well, the size of space doesn’t matter in most cases. The lighting, temperature, furniture, color, and even the energy of the room definitely matter. If you walk into your space, what is your gut reaction? Does it feel warm and inviting or dark, closed and cave-like? Would you prefer to look out a window or windowless better for fewer distractions? Color matters a lot – it can bring a lot of energy or pull energy out of you the room completely. The furniture can also be too big, too modern, to sharp, or just simply not a good fit for you the user.

Some people work well in coffee shops, surrounded by the humming of people talking and moving. Others do fine in a home office where it’s quiet, familiar, and the environment is more controllable.

Cluttered spaces (and cluttered minds) are the real barriers to productivity. Clutter is noise – it’s background noise. It causes tension in the subconscious and takes up mental space. It’s also visually distracting and can make someone feel frustrated. That frustration can cause someone to lose their productivity. I call it being “stuck.” Once I identify where someone is stuck, I can help them get unstuck and moving forward into action. I like to think of de-cluttering your space and your mind as “mental floss.” Once it’s cleaned out, you feel better and things look better and you can get a ton more done without all that distraction. And yet, you have to be diligent aboutkeeping up with it or the physical and mental clutter build back up.

MO: What advice would you give to a client who should be delegating more but is worried about losing control?

Angie: Well, one of the big things I work on with business owners is helping them write down the processes within. Once something is written down, you can train from it.

Delegation can be described as train, trust, and verify. This specific four-part process can help a business owner worry less about delegation:

1. Outline the task

2. Create milestones, expectations, timelines, due dates

3. Provide feedback and correction along the way

4. Recognize and reward

MO: What are some easy tips to help overwhelmed entrepreneurs manage their time better?

Angie: Stop the madness. Here’s how:

1. Turn off all social media alerts – Facebook, Pinterest, Google +, LinkedIn, Twitter. Turn. Them. Off. Schedule time in your calendar to go “do” social media. Otherwise, turn it off.

2. Turn off the “ghost alert” on your email. It’s that little pop up in the upper or lower right side that briefly alerts you there’s a new message.

3. Turn off everything that makes a noise – a ding, a bing, a buzz, or whatever other cute and horribly distracting sound you programmed in. Turn. Them. Off.

4. Once you’ve turned everything off, schedule time to process (check) your email. Once a day is awesome. Three times a day is a huge improvement. One of my recent clients put up an autoresponder that says, “This email is checked on Wednesdays and Thursdays only. If this is urgent or time sensitive, please call me.”

5. If it isn’t your scheduled time to process your email, shut your email down. I’m completely serious. Unless you have a customer service role where it’s literally your job to answer emails, then Turn. It. Off.

MO: What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?

Angie: I celebrated 10 years in business in March. I also turned 40. So, to celebrate, I’m spending 17 days rafting the Grand Canyon with friends during the month of June. And with absolutely no access to cell service or even electricity, I’ll be able to unplug and recharge myself. I can’t wait!

After that, it’s another book due out in the fall, several speaking engagements already lined up, a couple of joint ventures, all to show more business owners how to get out of overwhelm.


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