Business Success Requires Less Organization Than You ThinkMonday, June 29th, 2009
Organization. It’s essential to running a successful business. And it’s often overwhelming to begin. Instead of stressing, we asked Sean Johnson, professional organizer and owner of Organized Bliss, to share with us tips on how to keep organized.
As a Professional Organizer, I’m often called in to help business owners get organized in their offices. What I usually find are stacks of paperwork, file cabinets that aren’t properly set up, and random sticky notes all over the desk with important information that could easily get lost or forgotten.
What I learned long ago is that, even though we value our clients and their business, we need to value our business and our office environments as well. It reminds me of the flight attendant doing the standard emergency speech, which states that parents must put their air masks on first before attending to their children.
The question we all need to ask ourselves is, how are we taking care of our business so that we can take care of others? How many times does a client call, and you have to call him or her back because you can’t locate a file needed for that conversation? Not only does this cost you time, but it could also cost you money. It never looks good if you appear disorganized in your business. Personally, I want to do business with someone who is on top of his or her game. And, usually, that person has incorporated a few organizing skills into daily and weekly business routines.
Here are five tips that I recommend to get the order going:
1. Do set up your files in alphabetical order using hanging files (categories) and file folders within (sub-categories). This system should be for current files. Files that are no longer needed should either be recycled or placed in a storage box (if needed for tax / legal purposes) and stored away. If at all possible, print out your labels as opposed to using handwritten labels. Printed labels are uniform and make it easier to locate a file within seconds.
2. Get an Inbox. Place all incoming mail and projects that need to be addressed in an inbox. Make it a daily routine in the morning to go through your box to see what needs to be addressed that day. An inbox should not be the big, black hole. Whatever goes in must come out, and physically going through it daily insures that flow.
3. Get a notebook. Get in the habit of keeping a notebook by your phone. Each morning, start a new page with the date at the top to record any notes from conversations, calls, reminders, etc. This stops the confusion of random notes and pieces of paper all around the office. Keeping a business notebook is helpful in retrieving information and also serves as a backup in case you need to remember a conversation or detail from weeks or months ago.
4. Use a Daytimer. Whether electronic or handwritten, Daytimers are a necessity for keeping us in the know on where we need to be and when. I personally couldn’t live without one. I refer to my Daytimer several times a day, and it travels with me to and from my office. All appointments and plans are logged daily.
5. Set up a weekly cleanup routine. This is the time to address your filing and clear the deck in your office. Pick one morning or one evening a week to go through your paperwork. Turn off the phones and email. Uninterrupted time will help you focus on getting the job done quickly and efficiently. Avoiding this task will ultimately create disorder and stress. On the other hand, making the time for this routine creates a sense of calm and control in your business environment. Easy choice!
For more information, visit the Organized Bliss website at https://www.organizedbliss.org/ or contact Sean via email at or by phone at (843) 856-1847.