Holly Uverity CPO®, Office Organizers
I have found that when working with clients, one of three things happens: 1) I’ll teach them something new, 2) I’ll trigger a memory of a good organizational habit they used to have or, 3) I’ll validate a tool or technique they are successfully using.
Following are some of my favorite tips to help you get, and stay, organized. Hopefully, one or more of the above three things will happen for you. Good luck!
- Break down large tasks into smaller chunks. Using a mountain of filing as an example, you can either create your chunks based on time (I’ll file for no more than 15 minutes) or quantity (I’ll file one inch of this mountain today, another inch next week, etc.).
- Pre-sort your tasks. Using the same mountain of filing as an example, set up a system whereby you automatically pre-sort your “To Be Filed”. You could use an alphabetical sorter to pre-sort your filing so that if you need to find something before it gets into a file, you’d just look in your sorter under the correct letter.
- Keep your receipts all in one place. You can simply use envelopes to keep your receipts from cluttering up your desk, car, pockets or purse. Depending on what you do with them with each month, you can either simply file the envelope or use it on a monthly basis to get reimbursed for your expenses. Having them all together ensures that you won’t miss a reimbursable expense.
- Don’t file paperclips. If you have to keep papers together inside a file, use staples instead. Clips get accidentally clipped to something else or come off altogether. Additionally, they take up more room in the file cabinet than staples.
- Leave clear messages on voice mail. When you leave a message, speak slowly and include the reason you called, as well as instructions about the best time you can be reached. Leave your phone number twice – once at the beginning of the message and once at the end.
- When moving your office, create a “desk” box. Put everything that’s in or on your desk in a separate, labeled envelope (left hand drawer, right hand drawer, lap drawer, etc.) inside a box labeled “Desk”. When you get to your new office, you will be able to work out of your desk immediately, even if the rest of your office is still in boxes.
- Designate one place in your office for items to go home. You can use a basket under your desk, by your door or even an open briefcase will work. Just toss in those home-bound items.
- To keep a shared area orderly, create a list of items that need to be done and checked off before leaving for the day. The list could include things like turning off the coffeepot, watering the plants, pushing the chairs back under the conference table, wiping down the sink, etc. The people who share the area can share the responsibility, and the list ensures that no one forgets to do any one thing.
- Utilize your trashcan; research shows that 80% of what you file you never refer to again so don’t automatically file everything that comes into your office.
- Create a mini-agenda for calls. This keeps you from forgetting to mention something as well as enabling you to check off items as they are discussed. It also can serve as a way to get you off the phone with someone who wants to continue talking (“Well, we’ve covered everything I had on my list, I’ve got to run, thanks for your help, goodbye”)
Office Organizers is The Entrepreneur’s Organizer. Founded in 1993, they work with business people to create solutions to their organizational challenges. Contact them at 281.655.5022, www.OfficeOrganizers.com or www.fb.com/OfficeOrganizers.