As a small business owner, keeping your office organized can be a struggle. With so much going on it’s hard to stay on top of everything. In the spirit of my April challenge to conquer the clutter I asked other small business owners to share their best tips and techniques for keeping their office organized.
Lot’s of great stuff here! I hope you find something that inspires you to conquer your own clutter.
Purchase a card scanner to get all of those collected business cards off of your desk and read into your database online. This reduces much clutter and lost opportunity while providing the information at your fingertips
Elinor Stutz is the CEO of Smooth Sale, LLC, inspirational speaker, best-selling author teaching how to dynamically grow your business.
#2 Go Paperless
Make a decision about what needs to be stored in paper format and what can go paperless. My office is so much more organized now that I scan all my contracts, invoices, articles, and other business collateral into my computer database. It’s now all instantly available and backed up … and I don’t have piles of paper sitting around anymore.
Jeannette de Beauvoir offers content consultation, business writing, and marketing collateral through her company, Customline Wordware.
#3 Create a Paperflow System
I keep my desk and my schedule organized by having a simple paperflow system. It includes an “in” box, a “to do” box, a “to file” box and an “out” box. The mail goes into the “in” box, moves to the “to do” box as I am accomplishing tasks, then either moves into the “to file” box or to the “out” box. This system keeps all active paperwork together, and I can easily look at it to see if I need to read the mail, file, etc.
Sara Long is a self-employed Professional Organizer, speaker and writer serving the greater Philadelphia region. She founded Sara Long Organizing in 2007. Please see www.saralong.com for more information.
#4 Organize vertically
Use a thin-width bookshelf or put shelves on the wall above your walking and working space in order to get clutter off of your desk and out of your way. Having appropriately labeled notebooks and containers on the shelves makes all the difference in efficiency.
Angela Martin is a certified career and life coach and owner of Defining Success Coaching where she uses proven techniques to help creative people make a great living doing work they love.
#5 Create a Office Flow List
I created an “Office Flow List” that I open on my desktop first thing each morning before I begin my day. It allows me start the day with an organized way of approaching my daily tasks. It helps me to feel awake, aware, centered and aligned with my company’s mission.
Marcie Lovett is a Professional Organizer and Productivity Consultant who teaches people how to let go of what they don’t need and find room for what they value. www.organizedbymarcie.com
#7 Keep documents in arms reach
It is important and necessary to keep documents in arms reach. Tip 1: Have contract agreements ready to be sent out using accordion folders, labeled in alphabetical order or topic importance. Tip 2: Keep business cards in a business card case so they will not get stains on them. Tip 3: Letters should be in a folder labeled “Prospect Letters” to be sent out to companies and Sole Proprietors you know who is seeking your products or services.
Sharron Dark, Business Consultant, CEO of Serving Your Unmet Needs specializing in small to mid-sized projects for prestigious companies and individuals.
Use the experts in specific fields to get you started on the right foot. Use an accountant to set up your books, use an IT specialist for your computer needs, etc
Carol Peden is a designer at Kitchens of Woodbury, a kitchen & bath design and remodeling firm.
It’s time to admit this to yourself: You can NOT create a filing system or keep papers/files from different projects organized by stacking them on top of each other. They need to be placed separately either in a file or another system or you will waste TOO much time sifting and shuffling through the stacks.
Tiffany Victoria Bradshaw, MBA is an internationally recognized speaker, marketing brand strategist, publicist and business coach. www.BradshawandCo.com
Constantly adjust the small details and procedures allowing room for relevant change. Think out of the box always.
Andy Sanders, founder and owner of www.5foldmedia.com. This company started with absolutely nothing.
#11 Empty In-Boxes Daily
Empty in-boxes daily, especially e-mail inboxes. When you read an e-mail, reply immediately, file it, delete it, pend it or pass it on.
Trainer, writer and editor Patricia Haddock helps small businesses, entrepreneurs and consultants work and write smarter. www.patriciahaddock.com
Have folders on your desk that are color-coded – Green may be for financial information, Red may be for urgent, Yellow may be for can wait, etc. Put any opened mail, notes, etc. in these folders for quick access as well as to avoid clutter on your desk until time for filing. Set aside a time (after hours) to file info away.
Stephanie C. William’s rich background includes presenting numerous leadership and self-esteem building workshops as well as serving as an instructor and mentor for the Joseph School of Business. www.stephaniecwilliams.com
Now it is your turn. How do you stay organized?