Clean up Your Act! 10 Tips to Steamline Your Office for a More Successful One-Person Business

Stop wasting time looking for papers lost on your desk, running down to the office supply store for last minute printer ribbons, or working 24-7. Use these tips to get more organized, streamline your repetitive activities and plan ahead to prevent office crises and uproar.

Tip #1 – Find special places for special papersÂ…and then put them there. One colleague lost a full fee check somewhere on her desk and was too embarrassed to ask her client for another one. Now she has an old fashioned “clamp on a stick” to hold every check that comes in until they can be deposited. Use color-coding to distinguish types of work, the importance of the project, and increase the likelihood of finding the file when you need it. Color-coding cuts down considerably on

Tip #2 – Use color-coding to distinguish types of work, the importance of the project, and increase the likelihood of finding the file when you need it. Color-coding cuts down considerably on hunting through similar files to find just the one that’s needed.

Tip #3 – Meet with yourself once a week to work on your business. Review your marketing activities, sales activities, client needs and financial status to save hours of clean up time for missing a commitment, or big bucks from passing on a lurking opportunity.

Tip #4 – Clean off your desk before finishing work for the week. Transfer all the little notes, phone numbers, ideas and dates into your calendar, database or project filesÂ…and set out your files and papers for Monday morning appointments.

Tip #5 – Work only five days a week. By putting boundaries on your work, you’ll increase the quality of the time you do work, and nurture yourself and your relationships. (If you are one of the 24-7 types, you may need to go into this gradually.) Take three to four months by cutting back gradually until you are down to no more than a 40-50 hour week.

Tip #6 – Lay in a reserve of supplies to avoid last minute trips for cartridges and long lines at the post office. Extend this to your personal life: buy a month’s supply of underwear, a six month’s supply of paper products, laundry soap, and toiletries.

Tip #7 – Use the Internet to do research, order supplies, pay bills, purchase commodities and books, and movie tickets. The money you’ll save by not taking time out for a trip to the office supply store, as well as all the impulse buys you’ll avoid, will more than cover the delivery charges.

Tip #8 – Guard the precious prime geography on your desk. Leave a space to work, and a space for special papers that are “must do today” will go a long way in helping you feel more organized and be more productive.

Tip #9 – Throw it out, pass it on. Pass on left over, no longer needed office supplies, file folders, and binders to a local not-for profit agency or favorite school teacher.

Tip #10 – Finish Fully. This from Dru Scott, author of How to Put More Time in Your Life. Stop wandering from project to project, task to task, being distracted by have-to’s or half-finished chores along the way. If you’re not careful, you’ll end the day with even more half-finished projects that clutter both your mind and your office. Prepare the invoice, put it into an envelope, address it, put a stamp on it, and then onto the out pile. Closure, even with small tasks, helps engender a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction, relieving stress, and releasing energy for the next thing that needs to be done.