SAN ANGELO, Texas — New Year’s traditionally brings a new wave of resolutions for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
To get a clear view of where you should be heading, it’s important to get a clear view of where you are. And what better way to do that than to get organized? How often have you bought new supplies because you couldn’t find what you already had? Or how often have you been frustrated trying to find a certain phone number or important note that seems to have disappeared? Many of these problems can be solved with a little time devoted to improving your organization. So, to get a fresh start to the New Year, here are a few tips to improve your organization around the office and even at home:
Use your available tools.
Do you have a smartphone or a computer? If you do, make sure you’re taking advantage of the countless capabilities your technology has to offer. Often you can sync your e-mail and calendars so the same information shows up on your phone and computer, even when you make changes. It might take a little time to set your technology up correctly but it can make a big difference. Using helpful apps and programs such as a reminders app and your calendar can also help you keep track of all the important details in your life.
Create better routines.
Clear the desk each day, focus on and finish one thing at a time, so you only have one mess out; and write tomorrow’s to-do list at the end of each day. All of these common bits of advice can make a big difference in the long run if you stick with them. Another routine that can help you stay organized is clearing out your inbox on a regular basis. Mail (e-mail or the paper kind) should be dealt with, filed to refer back to, or trashed. Just be sure to shred any sensitive or personal mail.
“A place for everything and everything in its place.”
Get a label maker and start labeling where your tools and supplies need to be. Analyze your common clutter causes and purchase a solution to store it. Today there are thousands of organizing tools to choose form. One trick that is particularly handy is to tape an outline of where something belongs (such as tools or desk supplies) so you always put them back in their rightful place. This reduces your time looking for items and your time cleaning up gets shorter because you always know where to put things.
If you are wasting time trying to find this year’s tax documents because you’re wading through documents from 2005, its time to clean house. Buy a shredder and start to make some tough decisions about what you really need to keep and what can go. If you’re not sure about something, irs.gov has great information regarding how long you need to keep different business documents and tax-related information. Ancient equipment? If you no longer use larger items in your office, consider donating them to a charity or making a trip to the landfill. It may be a hassle, but once it’s gone you get to enjoy the extra space for years to come.
Once you’ve taken the time to utilize what you have, improve your daily routines, assign a place for everything, and downsize what you no longer need, you will make room in your day for all the exciting things to come in 2013. Ideally, a fresh office and work environment will create a fresh frame of mind to help you see where you’re at and where you want to be.
“Business Tips” was written by Jessica Lambert, Business Development Training Coordinator and Certified Training Coordinator of Angelo State University’s Small Business Development Center. Contact her at Jessica.Lambert@angelo.edu.