How to stay organized at work

Being organised is one of the most effective skills a small business can acquire to achieve success. When we are organised, we think more clearly. We’re in tune with our targets and how to reach them. We have systems in place for carrying out our work – and regular planning ensures we keep priorities at the forefront.

Achieving success comes from working proactively to drive the business forward. If we are functioning in reactive mode – and working in a chaotic, cluttered environment – progress slows down. Here are some tips to bring order to your business life:

Organise your work-space

Don’t underestimate time lost or stress caused by an inefficient working environment. If your productivity has plummeted, perhaps your work-space is letting you down. To restore order:

Cull ruthlessly
Pare down documents, supplies and stationery to the bare essentials. Be ruthless and remove anything that doesn’t directly serve a function in your day to day activity. A few carefully selected ornaments to personalise are fine but avoid too many.

Location, location, location
Create consistent homes for all work materials to make retrieval easy. Choose locations logically based on where you tend to use the items, for example, store spare copy paper near the printer. Move outside your immediate reach anything you use infrequently. Always return items once you have used them so they’ll be where you expect them next time.

Desktop order
Frustration ensues when you’re searching for a client proposal, but it’s buried among random papers. Eliminate desktop chaos by using trays, magazine files, or whatever you fancy and label as In, Out, For Action, Waiting For, Current Projects, To Read, or other relevant categories. Containers can help you process paperwork by directing your workflow in a methodical, productive manner.

Filing
Be brutally honest about what you need to keep. Studies suggest that 80% of what we file is never accessed again. Ask: is there a tax or legal reason for retaining it? Why would I need this in future? Is it information I could obtain online or otherwise? Put paperwork you do keep in good-quality folders and label them clearly. Avoid “miscellaneous” as a category – you’ll seldom remember what’s in there.

Effective Planning
Plan your work; work your plan. Time spent planning saves untold hours in execution. Implementing regular planning strategies will sharpen your focus, thereby keeping you on track:

Daily planning
Start planning today for tomorrow. Near the close of each workday implement a 10-15 minute routine as part of your shut-down to wrap up loose ends and prioritise key tasks. Ensure your plan is workable. A good plan for tomorrow allows you to clear your head and enjoy your evening.

Weekly power hour
Once a week ring-fence a 60- 90-minute appointment with yourself for larger-scale planning and review. Use the time to track  progress, research, strategise, or any of those “thinking tasks” that normally take a back seat. Select a prominent time in the day when you’re at your best. Keep this appointment with yourself and treat the time as sacrosanct. It’s often during this time when we tap into ideas, solutions, and experience breakthroughs that may open new opportunities.

Try not to multitask
This might sound counterproductive, but it’s actually the correct way to work. If you are solely only focusing on one task at hand, you will actually complete it much faster than working on multiple projects. According to an Entrepreneur article, University of California information scientist Gloria Mark found that it takes an average of 26 minutes to recover from trivial interruptions. That’s kind of insane when you really think about it. Try to plan out your workday so you don’t have to complete two assignments at once. You will feel less stressed out and more confident in the work you are trying to produce.

Tackle Your To-Do Pile

This is where you should invest your efforts for the biggest payoff in long-term, sustainable organization. Create file folders for each project you are currently working on (or a different folder for each client or for each upcoming due date — whatever makes sense for you). When you complete a project, go through the file and discard the unimportant documents within. Then store the folder — which has been winnowed down to include only the project essentials — into an appropriate bin.

Use Technology Wisely

Strive to keep phone numbers and other often-used data on your computer and/or mobile phone. Online organizers — which you can access via your computer or your phone — can combine your calendar, address book, to-do lists and more. They can also send you pop-up reminders about meetings and deadlines. It may take a little time to master using these tools, but they’ll save you time (and lots of sticky notes) in the long run.

Staying organised
This requires ongoing effort. The key is to remain focused on the benefits it brings to your business success. Spend a few minutes each day restoring order to your work-space. Perform your daily planning without fail. Remember, circumstances and priorities change. Don’t despair, simply review, revise and keep moving forward.

Educate yourself:

Before starting a new business, explore your options, legal requirements, accounting, taxation information and get feedback from your peers. There are different rules and regulations depending on your state, industry, business structure and customers. Just look at your friends, their expressions while you describing your business idea. Initially, this will give a quick insight on how public will react to your business idea in whole. Research on other business models and network to find out more about on ways to develop your business idea.

Earn while you build:

Most of the entrepreneurs, earn from their business after working on the business for a while. It is advisable to keep one of your other income sources flowing, while building your business. During the initial stage, invest all or most of your income from the business on the business again. Develop the business to a certain stage, that you have a healthy cash flow to invest in the business and earn for yourself as well.

Enlist all your costs:

Starting your own business is a learn-as-you-go process. In order to minimize risks associated with failure and unexpected breakdowns, it is crucial to list down all your costs including the personal expenditure, even if you are not depending on the business for your living.Then create a budget for your business with the available funds or funds from other sources, such as small business loans.

Start on a small scale and build up the business as you go:

Risk management is important in building a business. Entrepreneurs are named as risk-takers, as they take the initial step forward investing the available resources. To minimize the risk, it is advisable to start off with little, but essential amount of resources rather than walking blindfolded on the limb. Test your idea on a small budget, and keep on growing the business with available resources and the income you make.

Find a mentor, join groups with like minded people:

Learn everything you can get access about your business and industry. Be active on social media, linkedin and participate in professional meetups. There are many social gatherings, workshops, webinars and government sponsored information sessions for entrepreneurs. Network with many people as possible to broaden your knowledge skills and resources.Make reading a regular habit, be inspired by the success stories of like minded people. Reach out to professionals in big or small organizations for advices. Try to learn initial business skills such as IT, digital marketing and time management to excel in your business at the first stage. Don’t hesitate to reach out to other businesses or consulting services available to get advices on reaching your DREAM.

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