If you’re like most people, you start the year out with great intentions. You set resolutions or goals, and for a while, you stick to them. But by February (that’s February 7 for fitness resolutions, and probably the same for others), you’ve given up.
This year, resolve to make changes to help you be more organized at work in your small business.
Dig Through Those Papers to Your Desk
Start by organizing what’s sitting on your desk, collecting dust. Organize papers into “take action,” “file,” or “throw away” piles, then take the necessary measures. Put what you need within reach close by, like a cup of pens, stapler, or notepad.
Clean Up Your Digital Files
Tackle your desktop or laptop with the same fervor. Go through each folder on your computer and delete any files you no longer need. Clean out your Recycle Bin. Then make sure your files are organized in a way that makes sense: label folders by client, date, or project, and name each file something that will be easy to retrieve when searching.
Scan Papers to the Cloud
Embrace cloud computing and scan your contracts and important paperwork, then store on a platform like Google Drive or DropBox. This should free up space in your files and help you determine what’s really worth keeping.
Organize Your Calendar
If you’ve been using a paper calendar, now’s the time to upgrade to a digital one. Google Calendar is a great option, or there are plenty of mobile apps you can try out. Get into the habit of marking down every deadline, meeting, and event to help you stay on top of them.
Mobilize Your Productivity
Since your office is probably not the only place you do business, find mobile apps that can make your on-the-go office more efficient. Tools like Skype, Evernote, and Basecamp offer both online and app versions so you can access them anywhere.
Learn a New Tool
There are plenty of software programs out there designed to help small business owners like you. Choose one, like Nimble Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and spend a few weeks learning to use it well.
Delegate More Work
Part of being organized is having more time. To that end, find a few tasks that someone else can handle so that you have more time to focus on your business strategy. If you have staff, assign them some of your work; otherwise, hire a freelancer or an agency.
Manage Where You Spend Your Time
Have you ever gotten sucked into a Facebook black hole? It happens to all of us. Start using a productivity timer that will help you keep track of where you spend your time and keep you from wasting it.
Plan for the Holidays
It’s not too early to start thinking about your holiday promotions this summer. Build out a schedule for sales, discounts, and even marketing campaigns now to keep from having to do it last minute in a few months.
Revisit Your Business Plan
Spend some time with that business plan you wrote and never looked at. Make sure it still accurately follows your company’s current strategy. If you’ve veered off track, update the document.
Update Your CRM
If you’ve been using CRM, it could probably stand a once-over to ensure your client info is accurate and up to date. Contact your customers to get their latest address and email details, as well as to just check in with them.
At the end of the year, look at what you set out to achieve this year. How did you fare? Assess what kept you from achieving goals, and use that information to draft goals for next year.
Files Photo via Shutterstock
Every suggestion on this list could be a post unto itself and each one requires discipline and consistency. Good luck in 2015 everyone!
organization is the first thing I did when I entered office. I guess it is inevitable because the first day of the year always signals change.
Nellie: I have gone through the papers on my desk and I will do my outmost to keep in control now! 😉 I still have plenty of papers and other stuff to go through…
I haven’t “upgraded” to a online calendar, due to the fact that I don’t like the lack of overview of Google’s calendar. I am sticking to my Moleskine calendar, but I will purchase the calendar app, Planado, created by a traditional calendar company. I saw it on the big book fair in Gothenburg last autumn and decided to take a look at it again in the beginning of 2015. I do use an online web calendar & app called TeuxDeux. It has a clean, beautiful layout, with only the necessary features for adding stuff to your calendar.