If you are like most, your office is not one specific place. While you have your business space, you most likely keep a home office where you can work in the comfort of your robe and slippers. That means, however, you have two spaces to keep organized.
|IF YOU CAN TAKE CARE OF SOMETHING IN LESS THAN TWO MINUTES, IT’S BEST TO HANDLE IT NOW.|
Organization is not only about having the right organizing tool, it’s also about time management. The better you manage your time, the more you can devote yourself to being organized in other ways. This then helps you be more efficient with your time in the future. It’s an upward, positive spiral once you get it started. These six tips will help you streamline your time, your office space and processes, ultimately increasing your effectiveness, productivity and success.
- Be consistent. Business success depends on developing good, effective habits and processes and then using them consistently. Use one planning tool for scheduling meetings and appointments, and use it consistently. Do your administrative processes the same way each time. File information the same way from one day to the next. Identify places for all your items and always store them in their homes so you can find what you need quickly and stay focused on business.
- Handle small tasks now. When faced with a task—any task—you have a choice. You can handle it now or later. If you can take care of something in less than two minutes, it’s best to handle it now. If it requires thought, planning or research, or can’t be handled in two minutes, put it on your “later list” to do another time. Remember, however, that anything you put off now you’ll have to do sometime, so taking care of things in the moment will help keep your “later list” as short as possible.
- Create catch-up time. When you’re working on something important, it’s better to keep a running list of those quick tasks to do later, rather than interrupting your work. Schedule some catch-up time each week devoted to handling the items on your list and reorganizing your desk. This time can be as long as half a day or as short as an hour, but it’s a crucial element in staying caught up on your work and eliminating further procrastination.
- Zone your space. Mentally divide your workspace into zones to ensure you can find what you need easily. Zone one is the area closest to where you sit. This should be reserved for frequently accessed items such as checkbooks, a stapler, pens, your computer and telephone. Zone two is your closet, the office walls or the credenza behind you. This area should be used to store items you refer to regularly, but not necessarily every day or even every week. Items include printer paper, software programs, reference manuals and the like. Zone three is outside your office—a basement, central supply closet or storage facility. This area is used for archival information, historical items and bulk storage of marketing or promotional materials. The specific items you keep in your zones may vary, but the key to choosing the most appropriate zone is evaluating how frequently you access each item.
- Guard your minutes. There will always be people who seem to have nothing better to do than steal your minutes by calling just to chat, or standing in your office droning on about their weekend. Be as productive as you can by guarding your time and setting boundaries on how you use it. Close your door to signal that you need privacy. Cut phone calls short with windbags, or better yet, let them go to voicemail. Time is your most valuable resource, so guard your minutes to make every hour count.
- Know your priorities. When choosing how to allocate your time each day, it’s important to know which tasks and projects have the highest priority so you don’t waste time on unimportant things. If you’re not sure which tasks should take priority, decide by evaluating the consequence of delaying each task. When you complete your tasks from the highest priority to the lowest, you accomplish what is important in a timely manner and increase your effectiveness and success.
Monica Ricci, an organizing and productivity specialist, does onsite consulting, motivational seminars, workshops and keynotes. She has been featured on HGTV’s Mission: Organization and is the author of Organize Your Office in No Time. Contact her at www.CatalystOrganizing.com or 770-569-2642.