Starting a business? It’s time to get organized!

Starting a business can be an exciting, crazy, and stressful time. If you are disorganized, you will create more work for yourself and you aren’t going to work at your potential. In order to maintain organization in your office or home office, you need to have systems in place for processing day-to-day functions. Without systems, you will become overwhelmed and stressed. With working systems, you will become efficient and productive, along with many other benefits that come with being organized. Have a system to:

Process your mail. Many people have difficulty with paper management. Most have difficulty setting up and following through with a system. I can’t stress this enough: process your mail every day. As soon as you touch it, either file it, attach it to your to-do list to take care of it during the week, shred it or handle it right away. It will be easier to take five minutes and tackle it when it arrives than to spend maybe hours on it at the end of the month.

Process your email.  Create categorized folders. Have a process to handle an email as soon as you open it. Treat it just as you would treat your physical mail. Decide whether to send it to a folder, trash it, act on it, or print it and attach it to your to-do list. Remember, sometimes it’s easier to pick up the phone and discuss than to send numerous emails back and forth.

Work with a to-do list. Keep a running to-do list. Whether you keep a to-do list on paper or in your electronics, just do it. Make a to-do list every night before you leave work. You will know exactly what you need to do when you arrive to work the next day. This process will keep you on track with your day. You have a lot to worry about when you are starting a business; clear the mental clutter by getting things out of your head and onto paper. The less clutter you are carrying around in your mind, the better.

Filing systems.  Create a filing system during the beginning phases of your business. Without filings systems, piles will form, chaos will ensue and you are going to start your business behind the eight ball. If you need to locate an important paper, you should be able to locate it in less than ten seconds. Keep files that you utilize on a daily basis close to you. Files that you use less frequently, you can keep in another area of the office. I’ve seen many important business deals fall through, and I’ve found significant sums of money and very important documents in piles of papers on desks because business owners didn’t have filing systems in place.

Keep track of your bills. When a bill arrives on your desk or through email, be sure to have a process in place to pay these bills. If you are receiving bills through the mail, create a system where the bills aren’t lying around on your desk buried under papers. You’ll forget to pay them or pay them late. Incorporate bill payments into your calendar to remind you to pay and file them immediately after they are paid.

Business cards. When you start your new business, you are going to meet many new people. You must develop a system to file your business cards. Whether it is through electronics, a good old Rolodex, or a binder with clear card inserts, you must have a system. Work with it for a little while and tweak it after a few months.

Handle phone calls and voicemail.  Set aside time to retrieve and return calls. Keep a message pad for your messages. Utilizing a book will allow you to refer back to important dates, conversations and phone numbers. Try not to keep sticky notes or loose message papers on your desk. Utilize your calendar to remind you to follow up with clients in a timely manner. Clients will have more confidence in you if you are organized.

Workspace.  Have a place for everything at your desk. Only keep items you use on a daily basis on your desk.  At the end of the day, your desk should be clear. Have an organized pile that you need to work on the next day with your to-do list on top of the pile. Try to avoid having a corkboard at your desk with too much information pinned to it. Less is more. Keep it contained to a binder or stored on your computer. Utilize drawer organizers and organizing supplies to keep you organized.

Systems have to work for you. Just because your fellow business owners have a smooth system that works for them, doesn’t mean it will work for you. Evaluate how you function and create a system that works for you. The more complicated the system, the more likely it is to fail. Keep the system simple and streamlined. Many offices I work with have made attempts at getting organized, but the systems have failed and a new attempt at another system was never made. Once you create a system, revisit the system in a couple of months and tweak what isn’t working to make it work better for you.

Time management.  Be as efficient and productive as you can be. If you are a disorganized person, you have to get organized in order to have great time management skills. Take a look at your physical space, get organized and then you’ll realize that your time management skills may fall into place, allowing you to be more efficient and productive.

Being organized will allow you to save money, have more free time, and be more efficient and productive. You’ll have less stress and more energy, and your clients will have more confidence in you when you are organized.

Leave a comment

Avatar About the Author:

previous arrow
next arrow