Sorting it Out part one
Updated: Aug 19, 2020
What sort is it?
In the post titled The Power of Categories, the focus was on how the development of categories is the basis for organizing your commercial construction contracting business. Now, we’re going to dive a little deeper and look at how the process of sorting is foundational to creating categories. Before we dive in, let’s look at the word sort.
At the Dictionary dot com site, these are the definitions given:
Noun: a particular kind, species, variety, class, or group, distinguished by a common character or nature:
Verb: (used with object) to arrange according to sort, kind, or class; separate into sorts; classify
So, it follows that once you know what sort something is, then you can sort it. (You can take that last sentence as fluffy or deep depending on where you are in the sorting process.) 😊
Sorting the “stuff”
What Kondo and other organizers suggest is that you don’t know what you have until you throw it all into a big pile. That method works well if you’re sorting closets or kitchen-related items but becomes more complicated when what you must sort is information or scheduling.
Therefore, we’ll begin by sorting the “stuff” and categorize it as spaces and items. After that, we’ll get to the sorting of information and knowledge as well as time and schedules. But before we get to these categories, it is important to deal with the nemesis of all organizing efforts – clutter.
Once you begin sorting, you’re going to walk right into the organizing-buster wall of clutter.
Sometimes it is challenging to recognize clutter because it becomes part of the landscape. You look at it every day, and you get used to it. One way to begin dealing with clutter is to take a picture, either literally or figuratively.
I’ll show you what I mean. The other day, I wanted to photograph some beautiful birds that were hanging out in our yard. So, I did. It was only then that I noticed the birds were almost lost in the clutter of pool toys lying about on the pool deck.
There are three other ways clutter comes to light.
1. You can’t find what you’re looking for
2. You realize you bought something you already had
3. You come across something you forgot you had and haven’t needed
In each case, you’re wasting time or money or both.
Now that you’ve begun sorting and you come face to face with the decisions regarding the clutter associated with each category here are some questions to guide your choices:
· Would I spend money to own this today? (Think of ink for a copier you no longer own.)
· How many of these do we need? (This may extend even to something as costly as company-owned vehicles.)
· Does it even work? (From busted power tools to nubby pencils, some things just don’t do their job any longer.)
· What are the chances I or anyone in my employ will use this? (Gadgets picked up at trade shows, chipped mugs, and carbon paper all come to mind.)
· Am I saving this for someday or just in case? (Don’t do it! Just don’t!)
And this last question is a biggy. What type of atmosphere do I want to create in my construction business? (Note: an organized, efficient, productive, and profitable construction business doesn’t have room for clutter.)
Often, clutter builds up because of delayed decisions. You stack because you haven’t decided yet where that item goes. You stuff in a drawer because you don’t know if the item needs to be saved or not. Or you leave email unopened because you may come back to it later.
Do you want to be organized? Then start with the clutter. As Kondo teaches, “Finish discarding first.”
In the second of this two-part series, we’ll look at sorting Spaces and Items, Information and Knowledge, as well as Time and Schedule.
We desire to familiarize you with business concepts, which will make it easier for you to be a better commercial construction subcontractor through our blog posts. Some are new ways of looking at things, and others are refreshers.
The Profit Constructors Provide Contract Document Management and Advisory Board Level counsel for small to medium commercial construction subcontractors.
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