Ok, let’s face it. The topic of office organization isn’t sexy. Or, maybe it is, if you’re a nerd like me who loves nothing more than perusing a glossy, printed catalog of office supplies. Yes, I said printed. I’m old school, and I’m not sorry.
I digress. Back to the topic at hand – office organization. Though a recent study by the University of Minnesota found that keeping a less-than-tidy desk can encourage creative thinking and stimulate new ideas, there are plenty of reasons that having an organized office space is good for business.
It Just Feels Better
First, it just feels better. Messy-deskers, let go of that University of Minnesota study for just a second and give me a thumbs up, because you know I’m right.
Walking into a tidy, organized work space at the beginning of your day feels like a fresh start. It gives you a sense of control even when you have deadlines crashing all around you.
And, while it offers you the feeling of control, if you are in a customer-facing environment, it also gives them a sense that you have your act together. That’s important, because impressions count and, like it or not, a tidy desk just looks more professional than a messy one. Even if you’re sure you know where everything is, a disorderly work space may make a client question how organized you are and whether you’ll be able to take care of whatever it is that they need you to take care of.
While your desk may be the most obvious place to start an office organization endeavor, to really make a difference, your effort should go way beyond keeping your desktop clear. You need to take a close look at the way you manage your business overall. I’d recommend carving out some time after hours or on a weekend to review what’s working and what’s not. Then, start implementing solutions to bring everything in line.
Keep A Calendar
This may seem elementary to some, but trust me it’s not. You need ONE place where you keep it all. And, sorry, your brain is not the place. It needs to be doing other amazing things.
A single calendar is the way to go. Doing double entries across multiple calendars is not only inefficient and time-consuming, it also sets you up for an error or omission.
If you must keep separate work and personal calendars, use an app that allows you to merge them onto one screen view, so you can keep track of everything in one place. Microsoft Office and Mac Calendar both offer this feature.
Develop Easy, Repeatable Systems
It’s important to develop systems for every single business activity, from keeping the physical space in order, to keeping track of all of the details that keep your business running.
Are items in your office stored in a way that makes them easy to find? Do you have a clearly defined work-flow? If you have employees, do their systems fall in line with yours?
Developing easy, repeatable systems will increase your organization’s efficiency and productivity.
Think about where things get stalled in your business. Ask yourself some questions to help identify the problem areas. You want to avoid re-inventing the wheel as much as possible. Develop templates for documents that you find yourself (or your staff) creating on a regular basis. Set up processes for routine tasks.
Accounting and billing can be an arduous activity. Look for ways you can automate some of that. Most accounting and invoicing software programs offer time-saving features like allowing you to post invoice reminders and schedule routine billing.
Find the Right Tech Tools
While we are on the subject of software, there are a ton of tech tools designed to help business owners stay organized. Because there are so many, what may be the next best thing for someone in your networking group, may not be the right fit for you.
Take project management software for example. You could spend countless hours trying different ones on for size. But bouncing from one app to another kind of defeats the purpose of having an efficiency tool to begin with, doesn’t it?
Instead, think about what you really need. What problem are you trying to solve? What features do you think would be helpful? That will help you narrow down your wish list and make shopping for that new tool a little easier.
Office Organization Is Good For Business
Office organization may not be on the top of your list of things to do, but it is good for business. A lot of time can be saved by being organized. Imagine how you could spend that bank of saved time on other areas of your business – particularly the ones that make you money!
So, take a little time to put some systems in place, or organize the ones you already have. It will make living your life and running your business so much easier.
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