Small business owner? Entrepreneur? Stay-at-home parent? On sabbatical?
There should be a designated area inside your home that can ensure your administrative tasks and business management procedures are streamlined, efficient and orderly.
Take a tip from Feng Shui practice – have your work environment reflect respect for you and your work.
If you implement a few ideas with the way you like to work, you’ll be much more likely to use them.
Take time this month to set it up properly once and for all, and then the future will simply require simple maintenance.
Managing Your Paper
Design a filing hierarchy or have one created for you by a professional organizer that makes sense to your work and company.
Use the language you would normally use, with familiar names. Keep it simple and use categories that summarize the nature of the file.
The simpler the system, the quicker and less taxing it is to use. Give your brain a break – don’t store information with one system for paper, another for electronic and yet another for emails. Constantly using the search function wastes your day, 30 seconds at a time.
Understand your document retention obligations:
Ask your lawyer and accountant for a list of the documents you are legally obligated to keep.
Many people are afraid to throw away items. Set a clear policy for what needs to be kept, and what can be safely discarded. A clear retention policy lets you edit with confidence and avoid a build-up of obsolete documents.
Aim to handle everything only once. When you are holding or looking at a document, determine if it is necessary to be kept. Otherwise, toss it immediately.
Managing your Space
Your work space is the command center for your work: Is there a logical flow (think of an assembly line) of work through the office? Do you have a place to work comfortably and efficiently on your projects?
A comfortable chair, an uncluttered workstation, drawers or file cabinets, adequate shelving and lighting are essential elements.
If you are short of space, think vertically. Is the area above your desk unused? Install shelving or a cabinet to maximize your storage space.
Choose the products, efficiency tips and time management tools that appeal to you. If you have a favourite brand or colour – use it and be consistent.
If you like things visible, use products to make them accessible while keeping them neat, such as a vertical sorter for files or a magazine holder for the items you use frequently.
Eliminate anything in your workspace that doesn’t relate to your work. Don’t let your desk area become a dumping zone. Provide an in-box for others to use if something needs your attention.
Experiment, if something doesn’t work, try something else.