Yes, it’s critical to be as organized as possible if you intend to succeed long-term, regardless of what you’re aiming for. I know, I know… I’ve got more than a few acquaintances who insist that their ‘mess’ is perfectly normal, and that they know where everything is and can get to it at any moment. To that, I say “Sure you can… sure you can.” So when I saw this short blog over at LandingTheDeal, I had to smile. Now, there are lots of ’systems’ out there to help you de-clutter your life… that can help you to simplify. I don’t claim to own a system, but here’s a 4‑point list of what I do, every day. 1. Centralize your email and calendar. Blackberry’s, multiple computers, wireless cards… it’s harder and harder today to maintain one single place to receive and track information. I realize that for many people, with enterprise servers and all that, it becomes more cumbersome to maintain one of anything. But for me as a small business owner, my entire life is now on Google. From mail to my calendar, it’s all there. I’m not saying that Google is the only way, but it’s a great solution that works well for me. 2. Minimize paper clutter. Open your mail when it comes, sort it, and trash the rest. It drives me nuts when I go to somebody’s office and I see piles — literally *piles* of catalogs, envelopes, and inserts laying in a heap on the desk. Make filing a habit, and stick to it like nobody’s business. 3. Take advantage of available technologies. The simple concept of a scanner and/or a fax machine can eliminate 75–80% of your paper clutter. I’m in the habit of faxing all of my business-related receipts to an Efax number, which simply puts them in an electronic format for filing. No paper required. When I started doing that a few years back, it seemed silly. But now, with every receipt I’ve ever needed conveniently filed on my portable hard drive… I just don’t worry about it anymore. (Yes, I also file them all in a folder system, but it’s not nearly as tedious as it once was, knowing that I have my backups.) 4. Organize your workspace. Small business owners… the kitchen table is not your friend. Neither is that awesome recliner in front of your plasma TV. Get your office space organized, and stay on top of it. Four simple things. It’s not as hard as it may sound, but it’s also not as easy as you might think. BOTTOM LINE: when it comes to the importance of organization — you’ve got to have a plan, or you’re just planning to fail.