As a consultant to small businesses, I have discovered that many of the complaints I hear over and over again have to do with organization. The beginning of the year is an excellent time to get all aspects of your life organized, so why not start 2009 off on the right foot? Setting up calendars, deciding on time off and setting up a financial system will reduce your stress throughout the year.
Here are my top 10 ideas for getting your new year off in a forward direction!
1.) Set three major goals that you would like to accomplish for the year. These goals should be somewhat simplistic, but give you enough of a challenge. They should also take into account both business and personal needs. Goals help you stay focused on important tasks. This can be a mini business plan or a portion of your overall company strategy. Goals can include such items as getting a clear picture of your finances, creating a collection procedure, or spending more time with your family.
2.) Plan now for how you will accomplish your goals. Planning now, early in the year, lets you spread the tasks throughout the months. Be realistic about your time. Not everything has to be done by March!
3.) Update your planner for the entire year. Write down all important dates such as trade shows, conferences to attend, major shipment dates, family and employee birthdays and key family events. Include the major tasks needed to accomplish your three goals. If you haven't bought those refill pages yet for your planner go to your nearest office supply store right now.
4.) Plan your time off. Decide how you will be taking some time off. This includes leaving early to watch your child's baseball game, a week off in your favorite vacation spot, or even several long weekend trips. Being well rounded and rested makes for a more productive worker.
5.) Establish a process to handle the paper in your office. Getting control of the mounds of paper is the most prevalent problem in an office. Create a simple routine using Action Files (hanging folders or bins) to categorize paper into actionable categories such as Pay, Do, File, and Distribute. Don't forget to use the biggest bin of all, the wastebasket! Cancel those magazines you never read and request that your name be removed from mailing and distribution lists.
6.) Get your overall office better organized. Take the time to properly set up your files, clean out drawers, and give every item in your office a designated place. Store similar items together near where they are used. Put things used often on the most accessible shelves and less used items on top or bottom shelves, or toward the back. Label storage areas and containers to aid items in finding their way "home". You'll be amazed how much better you feel when your office is better organized!