Over the years, I’ve tried it all- different ways to get organized. Trial and error. Some worked, some didn’t. I tried some of those fancy looking matching desk sets. They looked beautiful and for some, I’m sure they are perfect. But for me, they took up too much valuable space. Space I needed to proof my work, keep my reference books, or keep those essentials that I use on a regular basis. For me, when I work I want everything within an arms reach and have the tools I need to complete my assignments within arms reach.
I have a corner desk and on it I have my computer, printer, fax, phone, etc. Beside my desk I have a two-drawer filing cabinet. This was possibly the greatest thing I’ve ever done to organize my business. In it I have my files and supplies that I use on a daily or regular basis. My clients’ stationery, clients’ files, file for my receipts, all personal correspondence, paper, folders, etc. Whenever these files get bulky with client documents, I simply empty them into the main filing cabinet. For example, my main clients that I’ve been working with for 15 years, their files in the main cabinet are quite large and it’s so nice to have the smaller file close by with just their recent correspondence. Plus, when I need a folder, an order slip for my books, a copy of my stationery, it’s all right there. AAAHHH, now that’s convenience.
Now for the receipts’ file. I keep it monthly. I simply at the beginning of the month, replace the file with the new month’s file. That way, at tax time, I don’t have to go through a whole year’s receipts and divide it up then. It’s all separated.
Here are some other organizational tips you might find beneficial:
Mail—We have a round basket by a small table by the front door. All incoming mail goes in there first. Then when I have the opportunity to sort through it, I get it and put it in its appropriate place. Always pitch anything you aren’t keeping All business-related mail is sorted and put away immediately. Anything that might need work done on it, is logged into my Daytimer and then put in the To Do Bin.
Desk—Your desk should have on it only those items that you use on a regular basis. Look around. What haven’t you used in the last month or two. Start Dumping. Find another spot for it. But find the RIGHT space for it.
No Piling of Anything Allowed. This is one of those habits that can be so easy to get into. Definitely one of the ones that I catch myself doing a lot! But I stop myself now because I know it will just be brushed off to the side and forgotten. Too often I miss something important and regret the piling blunder again. You will be amazed how much more organized you will feel if you just don’t do this one thing.
Daytimer—Now this isn’t only for Time Management. Your Daytimer can have a space for all your business cards, appointment cards, etc. How great it is to have all these cards right in the same place. On the date of your appointment, you simply grab the card and off you go.
Start the beginning of the day and the end of the day with a clean-up. What a tremendous feeling that is. When you are done with a project. Away it goes. Everything. When you start the next project, out comes all the material you need.
There’s nothing like the feeling of sitting down in the morning to a nice clean organized desk and office. Once you feel this a couple of days, you want to experience this every day so you’ll take the appropriate steps to make it happen.
Diana Ennen is the author of numerous books including Virtual Assistant: the Series, Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA and accompanying Workbook, http://www.virtualwordpublishing.com, Corel Word Perfect Office Ready, Virtual Assistant Solution Pack, and is president of Virtual Word Publishing http://www.virtualwordpublishing.com and http://www.virtualassistantstartups.com. Free to reprint article as long as the bio remains intact. Also, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for your free information on starting a business.