This month’s cover story focuses on creating a To-Do List that provides you with constructive direction for those downtimes this coming snow season. Our group of contributors really knocked this one out the park with their tips and suggestions, everything from sales to finance to culture building to decreasing your exposure to risk and liability, just to name a few. It’s a definite must-read.

However, I would offer one more item for our list, and that’s to get organized. I’ve tried nearly everything to organize my professional and personal life. And whether it’s a new approach or some sort of time-saving digital gadget, after the honeymoon period is over, I find myself back to where I started – in an utter state of chaos. So, I’m the last person to dole out advice on this topic.

Instead, I reached out to business coach and author Sam Carpenter who offers these tips to accomplish more while working less by getting organized.

Stop doing the work. Sam says successful business owners and managers create systems, implement written procedures, and delegate. Successful people don’t work harder; they work smarter.

Use your “prime” time wisely. Understand this: Research shows people function at maximum effectiveness for only about six hours out of a 24-hour day. So, Sam suggest knowing precisely when your personal prime time occurs, and then use that time wisely. And be sure to insulate yourself from distraction so that you can protect those critical hours of maximum performance from pointless interruptions.

Create documentation. Sam says the major difference between a small, floundering company and a large, successful company is this: The large, successful business documents and does it well. If you don’t have documentation, then develop a Strategic Objective for your business. It’s a mission statement, but punchier and more specific. Next, move on to your General Operating Principles, a two- to four-page collection of guidelines for decision making. Third, develop Working Procedures – instructions describing how your individual systems or jobs are to operate.

Eliminate Mole-whacking. No matter what your situation is, if you are going to work, then work. Sam advises to get in, do the work, and get out. Suggest polite ways for keeping a conversation moving along, especially if a long-winded coworker comes into your office for a “quick question.” And staff meetings? Are they a waste of time? Yes, if you don’t have an agenda.

Together, these tips are designed to increase organization by enhancing your focus and concentration. And when you can do that, then the work gets done faster and you find that your productivity soars.