With the hustle and bustle of running a successful business, it can be easy to forget organization – one of the most important things you can do for your business, your employees and yourself. Organization creates a clean space that can be more stimulating for creativity, less stressful and an overall happier place to be. And who doesn’t want to be happy?

If you’ve been saying for the last month (or year, or maybe more than that) that you’ll get to it one of these days, today is that day. Today starts Get Organized Week, and M3 is here to encourage you and challenge you to get organized with five simple steps in only five days.

It may take some people longer than others, or maybe you just need to wipe the dust off of your already-organized desk. Whatever it may be, set aside some time each day this week to get organized.

Day One: Create A To-Do List

Simple enough. In my opinion, this is something that should be done every week. It should be looked at, added to, and managed each day. But for Get Organized Week, write down a list of goals you want to accomplish this week.

Don’t know where to start? Here are a few ideas.

  • Make a to-do list (See how easy this is? We can already check that one off!)
  • Recycle, throw away or give away unused office supplies and electronics
  • Create a filing system; organize paper files; throw away unnecessary papers
  • Delete old emails and voice messages
  • Back up computer and hard drives
  • Organize computer files
  • Label everything
  • Make sure your checkbooks are balanced
  • Create a calendar that all employees have access to
  • Clean off the surface of your desk (and clean out your drawers)
  • Rearrange and decorate

Can you add to this list? Tell us your ideas in the comments.

Making a to-do list is a helpful practice to continue each week. You may not have the same items you have this week to organize your office, but I guarantee that if you’re running a business, you have things to do. Write them down (and look at it every day).

Day Two

So you’ve made your to-do list. That’s the easy part. Now let’s complete it this week. Starting with The Purge.

An all-too-common scenario: You’ve misplaced an important document. It’s probably in the huge stack of messily organized papers on your desk, or maybe you filed it away in that file you didn’t make a label for.

If this sounds familiar, it’s probably time for a purge. What do I mean by purge? I mean get rid of everything you know you’ll never need. You may feel like you need it (don’t keep something on the off chance that you may need it in four years), but instead, dig deep and only keep what’s truly important. Receipts, papers, old electronics, emails, voicemails, cardboard boxes – throw it out (or recycle!).

Not everyone is like me though – I understand that. There is an alternative if you feel you MUST keep all of those papers, that receipt for coffee from the gas station, or that original iPad (even though you already own the brand new iPad Pro). Find a way to organize it. Buy file cabinets, clearly label each file folder, and if you don’t have a file called receipts for coffee – make one. Even if you only put one thing in it. This may be overkill, but at least when you do end up needing that receipt, you know exactly where to find it.

The same goes for emails. It’s probably a good idea to keep these, but utilize the capability to create folders and subfolders in your inbox.

The Purge is probably the hardest task we’ll complete this week (it’s hard to throw things away, isn’t it?). But trust me, you’ll feel so much better when the top of your desk is finally decluttered.

Day Three

If you’re still with us today, congratulations. It’s Wednesday, and you’ve gotten through the hardest day, the purge. The third day of Get Organized Week is devoted to syncing your calendars. If you have two or three calendars like I do, sync them so that each item is on every calendar. If you have more than one employee, consider syncing your calendar to theirs as well.

If you don’t have a calendar, it’s basically crucial that you make one. While this sounds similar to the to-do list, it’s more than just creating a list of things to do for the week. It’s looking ahead to the future – deadlines, milestones, meetings, goals. For a small business, it could be a large calendar in the hallway or a common space. For larger businesses or employees who work remotely, it’s helpful to utilize online calendars and assignment systems such as Wrike or Asana.

Start by deciding which option is best for your business. It may help to write down important dates on paper (there I go with the lists again), and then put them into the calendar. Make sure everyone in your business is on the same page.

Day Four

I’ll keep this one short and sweet. To get more organized, use software. It’s worth the money. It will save you time, it will keep you from making errors, and it will ultimately cause you less stress. Lucky for you, M3 knows a couple of great software companies that we highly recommend.

If you’re looking for a way to effectively and efficiently keep track of inventory, sales and budgets, consider trying a new software that comes with a user-friendly interface, is easy to input data, and it even has a search tool that can find the transaction you may be searching for.

Computer software is a great way to keep your business organized. It allows you to focus on more important parts of your business. It keeps you on the sales floor interacting with your customers rather than stuck behind the computer crunching numbers.

Day Five

You made it to the end! Today is the fun part. Rearrange and decorate your office space. You may be surprised at how big of a difference this can make. Get creative – paint the walls, hang up inspirational pictures, or simply move your desk to face a window. It’s that simple.

Inviting spaces create stimulating environments for collaboration, creativity and innovation among employees. It promotes happiness and makes employees want to come to work. We’ve all heard the saying “happy employees make happy customers,” right? If you haven’t heard it, take my word for it. There’s a lot of truth to it. Southwest Airlines are the pioneers of positive employee relations (at least the first who were recognized for it), and they saw drastic changes in customer satisfaction after implementing a system to improve employee satisfaction.

All in all, change is good. Everyone needs a good change once in a while. Rearrange, decorate, and be happy (even at work).