Whether you work from home or have an office space, you can increase productivity with a sound organization system. “A well-organized office has huge benefits,” according to Neil Patel in an article for Inc. “Your organized office can absorb the incoming work, and position you for success.” Follow these business organization tips to declutter your space and set yourself up for success.
Clear Off Your Desk
While you may want to keep pictures and knick knacks on your desk, reduce any additional clutter. Too many items on your desk can be distracting. “When your environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts your ability to focus,” according to Erin Doland from unclutterer. “The clutter also limits your brain’s ability to process information.”
Determine the most important things you need: your computer, notepad, organizer and move everything else. Put stuff in a drawer or file it away; move anything you don’t need for your current task. This will make it easier to find your materials and will help you focus on the task at hand.
Put Your Paperwork Away
Stacks of paper in your office and/or on your desk are messy and disorderly. Paperwork also takes up a lot of unnecessary space. Stacks of papers can decrease productivity because it takes more time to sort through your files. “According to the National Association of Professional Organizations, paper clutter is the number one problem for most businesses,” Pat Heydlauff, president of Energy Design, says. “Studies show the average person wastes 4.3 hours per week searching for papers, which adds stress and frustration to the workplace while reducing concentration and creative thinking.”
Keep your paperwork organized in file folders and file cabinets. When you have a solid organization system, you save time since you won’t have to sort through stacks of paper. Color code or label your file folders: figure out a system that works and stick with it.
You may want to scan your paperwork to create digital copies. This will reduce clutter and save space. Just remember to organize the files on your computer. A messy desktop is the same as a messy desk: organize documents in folders for easy access.
Use an Accounting Program and Scan Receipts
You have to keep track of business expenses, but crumpled receipts take up space in your desk. Use an app to scan important receipts. Also, if you haven’t done so already, automate your bookkeeping system. You can get accounting programs to help you manage expenses and keep track of tax deductions. Use cloud-based software to access your information anywhere. Not only will you be able to keep track of everything, you’ll reduce the paperwork you accumulate in your office.
Store Important Items in a Safe
Despite your best efforts to digitize your office, you still need some hard copies of documents. Do yourself a favor and lock these items up in a safe. You’ll always know where they are and you’ll reduce the risk of documents getting mixed up with other files. If you’re willing to spend a little more, invest in a fireproof safe. This will give you greater peace of mind in the event of an unforeseen office emergency. “Adding fire protection to a safe increases the cost slightly and a fire safe is approximately double the weight of a regular safe,” according to experts from The Home Security Superstore. “However, if your home or office burns down destroying everything you own, yet everything inside your fire safe is unharmed, it is well worth the investment!
Re-Organize, Adjust and Repeat
While effective organization works right away, that doesn’t mean you won’t have to adjust your system on occasion. Businesses grow and evolve, you may acquire new clients, expenses and/or acquisitions. This means more paperwork and files. You’ll save time if you stay consistent, but you will still have to reorganize and declutter periodically. “While the act of setting up systems is a one-time project, keeping the space in the same pristine condition needs changes in your daily routines, Jasmine Hobbs of the professional cleaning service London Cleaning Team tells Fast Company. Think of it as a process of reorganizing your lifestyle, rather than just organizing some space.”
Staying organized requires effort, but it will help you stay on task and keep track of important files and documents. Remember, organization is not one size fits all; figure out what works for you. If you like apps instead of to-do lists, that’s OK, just be consistent. Also, remember when it comes to getting organized, you have to stick with it to reap the benefits.
What are your favorite organization hacks? Share them with us in the comments below!