It’s estimated by professional organizers that the average business owner wastes one hour per day looking for lost papers or documents. Also, we lose 20 per cent of our annual budget due to mismanaged time and lack of organization. Stress and overwhelm are forever present, making people feel bad about themselves.
More than ever, people are excited to start home-based businesses. This means needing a room or corner to create office space. Working from home can be exciting, comfortable and productive. But what happens when that office is filled with stuff that isn’t needed or used?
If you dread going to your office, it could be that the space is not inspiring, making you feel frustrated and lethargic. In order to be productive, your office needs to be beautiful and clutter free.
Here is a simple formula called SPACE to help create more a functional and productive environment:
Entrepreneurs tend to collect a lot of information that ends up sitting in the piles, never to be seen again. Consider sorting your papers in the following categories and creating a system for easy retrieval. Categories for your filing system can be clients, prospects, reference material, brochures, receipts, marketing, and business ideas. Create an individual file for each client or prospect with additional information, such as contracts, invoices and personal information.
This can be a challenge for many business people who tend to keep everything that comes across their desk in the belief it might contribute to growing their business.
ASSIGN A HOME
For every item in your office, you need to assign a permanent home. Keep the files, stationary or anything else needed for a day accessible and visible. Contain small items and label them.
Since this is your business, you can get very creative without restrictions of corporate rules. This means you can use any colour, texture and style to create a space you love to work in.
Now that your office is beautiful and functional, you need to figure out how to maintain the organization. Ranka’s toss list:
• Outdated brochures. Remember this mantra. “Keep the source, purge the paper.” File the name of the contact, phone number or email.
• Old receipts and bank statements. Unless needed for tax purposes. Always check with your accountant.
• Abandoned projects. These are ideas that didn’t work or we lost interest in. Unless you want to try again to complete the project, let them go.
Filing papers daily works for most people. Clear your desk of dirty coffee cups, food containers or anything else that is not part of your business. Everytime you bring something new to your office, let go of something. One in, one out; the mantra that works for all of us.
Ranka Burzan owns a professional organizing company based in Powell River and has written several books on reducing clutter and becoming more organized. For information, go to solutionsorganizing.com.