At LONG last it's spring here in Northeast Ohio, the time when many of us automatically think of spring cleaning: a thorough "turning out" and cleaning of our homes. But there's more to tidy up than that! Don't panic, it's easy! I'll help you!
When you're an entrepreneur, especially one working from home as I do, we often find that organization or messes slip from our work area into our home, and vice versa. We can take some easy steps to get organized now, in the traditional spring cleaning, to save us time later!
Work area: If you do not have a dedicated office, do you at least have a dedicated work area or do you spread all over the house? It's important not just psychologically, but also for efficiency, to set one spot as your work area. It could be the kitchen table, a small table in the living room or a guest room, or even in the basement - just be sure it contains what you need to do your work. Discipline yourself to work there, and ONLY there!
Storage: Get the storage and filing equipment you need so that your work areas remain orderly - and USE them! It's a very simple matter to take 5 minutes to put away what you are not working on. At the end of each work day, take a moment to put everything away so that you start your work day fresh every morning. Think of your work area as if you were in a restaurant: every evening, their work areas are clean and ready for the next day!
Email: I've spoken and written about this before. It's critical to periodically purge your deleted emails, and those sent long ago. Create an entry into your daily calendar that reminds you to attend to your emails at least once a day for a period of time. If you know that every afternoon at 4:00 you must spend half an hour reading, responding to, and cleaning up email, it won't seem like such a chore.
Schedule: Do you have a daily plan or do you wing it? I used to wing it ... stressed me out until I changed! I know some people who do well with scheduling each activity each day. Some schedule part of their day but allow some time for the usual surprise activities that arise. Either extreme is inefficient.
And related to this .... Calendar: Do you know what appointments you have or are you always running late or forgetting? Not only is this rude, it's a great way to lose business! Use either an online calendar like Google's or a paper one. (I like both - Google's calendar sends me daily email reminders, and paper on the wall means I can see appointments at a glance.)
Take a close look at your daily life (work or home) and see what else needs spring cleaning!
Welcome! These stories, tips and tricks are intended to help you save time, and be more organized and effective in your work. New items will be added frequently so check back often.