A “typical” day? For a small business owner, there’s no such thing. At any given time, you may be dashing off to a pitch meeting, dealing with customers both online and in person, having a late lunch with your accountant or burying yourself in your office, inventing new products and services.
The point is, you’re busy — and when you’re busy, organization can fall by the wayside. If your office closely resembles a federally declared disaster area, these tips can help.
Initiate “The Purge”
No, not the “all crime is legal for 12 hours” purge. We’re talking about an office purge. It’s time to get rid of all the non-essentials.
Throw away the candy wrappers and recycle the Red Bull cans. Tackle the junk in that bottom drawer that hasn’t been opened since 2007. (No one needs 26 pen caps and a charger for an old Nokia flip phone.) If it doesn’t serve a purpose, it doesn’t need to be in your office.
Clutter affects your brain in a negative way. Just looking at the pile of papers on your desk can decrease performance and increase stress.
Can’t bring yourself to part with a certain item? Get a plastic bin, write today’s date on it, and put all those “I might need this later” items inside. Now take the bin and put it somewhere out of sight. Six months from now, if the stuff inside remains, you’ll be able to toss it with a clear conscience.
Go on a Shopping Spree
Yes, really. Once the clutter has been eliminated, get yourself down to your local “Everything is $1 Except When It’s Not” store and stock up on fun office supplies like hanging file folders, desk caddies, storage bins and other assorted organizational tools. (Remember to save your receipts for tax purposes.)
The goal is “A place for everything and everything in its place.” Sort out your files and find a home for them. Put the pens with the other pens and the staples with the stapler.
It feels and looks better already, doesn’t it?
Scan and Shred
There’s no longer any need to be buried up to your neck in paper clutter. Scanning your documents, receipts and business cards is safer and easier than ever, and you’ll still have access to them without having to physically store them. Even the IRS accepts scanned receipts, and if they’re on board, who are we to argue? PCmag can guide you to some of the best mobile scanner apps.
Make sure you shred everything when you’re finished to keep nefarious individuals from getting their dirty hands on your trade secrets!
Organize Your Inbox
You may have dealt with the office, but the biggest mess — your inbox — is yet to come. If you’re like most people, you’re sitting on hundreds or thousands of emails with varying degrees of importance. (An email from your most lucrative client: important. An email from an unnamed Nigerian prince: not so much!)
Now that you’ve cleaned everything out, it’s important that it stays clean. Remember — your inbox is a processing facility, not a warehouse. Everything that comes in must be dealt with ASAP, whether that means moving it to the correct folder, deleting it or acting on it. You can also save yourself plenty of time by unsubscribing to all those old newsletters, social media alerts, and other assorted time-wasters.
Whew! That was quite a workout, wasn’t it?
Do you want to do it again next week, next month, or next year? Of course not! Which is why it’s so important to maintain the organization you have created.
Unclutter your office daily. Make use of all those fancy “not-quite-$1” items that helped you get organized. Scan and shred receipts and documents as they come across your desk and keep your inbox clean and maintained on the regular. As our mothers told us as children: “If you put each toy away as soon as you’re done with it, you won’t have such a mess to clean up in the end!”
Do you need help organizing your small business marketing? Mischa Communications is in your corner! We won’t throw away your old coffee cups, but we will make it easier to reach your target market, help maintain your social media pages and create content that resonates with your audience. Let us know what you need today!