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9 Ideas to Get Your Work Organized for the Year Ahead

9 Ideas to Get Your Work Organized for the Year Ahead

Ask The Entrepreneurs is a regular series where members of those involved in the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general.

Here’s the question posed in this edition of Ask The Entrepreneurs:

What’s one thing you’re doing now to get your business organized for the year ahead?

1. Calendar Blocking

Kelly Azevedo

    As often as possible, I’m adding regular business tasks to my weekly calendar on repeat. It has helped to “hold the space” for client work, marketing, networking, family and fun. I take into account the 2013 personal and business goals as I create time to work closer to those outcomes.

    Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems

    2. Budgeting for the Year

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    David Ehrenberg

      To prepare for the year ahead, I’m creating a financial plan and budget for 2013. This is an essential activity (that you should have started in 2012) to help you to get organized for the year ahead. Use your financial plan as an opportunity to hone in on your key goals for 2013 and to establish milestones to guide you throughout the year. Plan to update your budget as the year progresses.

      David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services

      3. Filing

      Derek Flanzraich

        Believe it or not, I haven’t had a filing cabinet so much as a filing “box” where everything I wanted to file away was placed in, without any rhyme or reason. My plan is to fix that.

        Derek Flanzraich, Greatist

        4. Have Some Perspective

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        Robert J. Moore

          Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the weeds and forget about how far you can come in a year. We’re summarizing accomplishments made in 2012 to share with our company, and motivate the team to continue to do bigger and better things in 2013.

          Robert J. Moore, RJMetrics

          5. Cut the “Fluff”

          Benish Shah

            If it’s not something that is adding to my life in a positive manner, it needs to go. My goal is to surround myself with things that I’m passionate about, that I can learn from, and that will help me focus instead of distract me. It’s like spring cleaning your closet!

            Benish Shah, Vicaire Ny

            6. Get Personal!

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            John Hall

              Hiring a personal assistant. At first I felt like hiring a personal assistant was ridiculous, but the busier I get the less organized I am.

              John Hall, Digital Talent Agents

              7. Review Life Plan

              Peter Nguyen

                Every quarter I review my life plan and business objectives and goals. I try to go somewhere for a whole weekend to do this every three months.

                Peter Nguyen, Literati Institute

                8. Heighten Web Security

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                Logan Lenz

                  I went through a few terrible hacks recently. Even though we were prepared with backups and recovery best practices, cyber attacks are always damaging to an online business. I have spent much personal time and resources building out our security infrastructure in order to ensure that similar attacks never occur again in the future.

                  Logan Lenz, Endagon

                  9. Listening, Better and More Often

                  Mitch Gordon

                    For me, listening to my employees is the solution to many problems. They always have great ideas for how we can make the business, and our time in the office, more efficient and productive. We spent the month of December wrapping up year-end projects, as well as putting a great plan in place for 2013. Always take time for an in-depth review with key employees at the end of the year!

                    Mitch Gordon, Go Overseas

                     

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                    Last Updated on September 18, 2019

                    15 Best Organizing Tips For Office Organization and Getting More Done

                    15 Best Organizing Tips For Office Organization and Getting More Done

                    You may think that you don’t have time for office organization, but if you really knew how much time that disorganization cost you, you’d reconsider.

                    Rearranging and moving piles occasionally doesn’t count. Neither does clearing off your desk, if you swipe the mess into a bin, or a desk drawer.

                    A relatively neat and orderly office space clears the way for higher productivity and less wasted time.

                    Organizing your office doesn’t have to take days, it can be done a little at a time. In fact, maintaining an organized office is much more effective if you treat it like an on-going project, instead of a massive assault.

                    So, if you’re ready to get started, the following organizing tips will help you transform your office into an efficient workspace.

                    1. Purge Your Office

                    De-clutter, empty, shred, get rid of everything that you don’t need or want. Look around. What haven’t you used in a while?

                    Take one area at a time. If it doesn’t work, send it out for repair or toss it. If you haven’t used it in months and can’t think of when you’ll actually need it, out it goes. This goes for furniture, equipment, supplies, etc.

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                    Don’t forget about knick-knacks, plants (real or artificial), and decorations – if they’re covered with dust and make your office look shabby, they’re fair game.

                    2. Gather and Redistribute

                    Gather up every item that isn’t where it belongs and put it where it does.

                    3. Establish Work “Zones”

                    Decide what type of activity happens in each area of your office. You’ll probably have a main workspace (most likely your desk,) a reference area (filing cabinet, shelves, binders,) and a supply area (closet, shelves or drawers.)

                    Place the appropriate equipment and supplies are located in the proper area as much as possible.

                    4. Close Proximity

                    Position the equipment and supplies that you use most within reach. Things that you rarely use can be stored or put away.

                    5. Get a Good Labeler

                    Choose a label maker that’s simple to use. Take the time to label shelves, bins, baskets drawers. Not only will it remind you where things go, but it will also help others who may have a need to find, use, or put away anything in your workspace.

                    6. Revise Your Filing System

                    As we move fully into the digital age, the need to store paper files has decreased.

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                    What can your store digitally? Are you duplicating files? You may be able to eliminate some of the files and folders you’ve used in the past. If you’re storing files on your computer, make sure you are doing regular back-ups.

                    Here’re some storage ideas for creating a smooth filing system:

                    • Create a meeting folder – Put all “items to be discussed” in there along with items that need to be handed off, reports that need to be given, etc. It’ll help you be prepared for meetings and save you stress in the even that a meeting is moved up.
                    • Create a WOR folder – So much of our messy papers are things that are on hold until someone else responds or acts. Corral them in a WOR (Waiting on Response) folder. Check it every few days for outstanding actions you may need to follow-up on.
                    • Storage boxes – Use inexpensive storage boxes to keep archived files and get them out of your current file space.
                    • Magazine boxes – Use magazine boxes or binders to store magazines and catalogs you really want to store. Please make sure you really need them for reference or research, otherwise recycle them, or give away.
                    • Reading folder – Designate a file for print articles and documents you want to read that aren’t urgent.
                    • Archive files – When a project is complete, put all of the materials together and file them away. Keep your “working folders” for projects in progress.
                    • File weekly – Don’t let your filing pile up. Put your papers in a “To File” folder and file everything once a week.

                    Learn more tips on organizing your files here: How to Organize Your Files for Better Productivity

                    7. Clear off Your Desk

                    Remove everything, clean it thoroughly and put back only those items that are essential for daily use.

                    If you have difficulty declutter stuff, this Declutter Formula will help you throw away stuff without regretting later.

                    8. Organize your Desktop

                    Now that you’ve streamlined your desktop, it’s a good idea to organize it.

                    Use desktop organizers or containers to organize the items on your desk. Use trays for papers, containers for smaller items.

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                    Don’t forget your computer desktop! Make sure the files or images are all in organized folders. I’d recommend you clear your computer desktop everyday before you leave work.

                    9. Organize Your Drawers

                    Put items used together in the same drawer space, stamps with envelopes, sticky pads with notepads, etc.

                    Use drawer organizers for little items – paper clips, tacks, etc. Use a separate drawer for personal items.

                    10. Separate Inboxes

                    If you work regularly with other people, create a folder, tray, or inbox for each.

                    11. Clear Your Piles

                    Hopefully with your new organized office, you won’t create piles of paper anymore, but you still have to sort through the old ones.

                    Go through the pile (a little at a time if necessary) and put it in the appropriate place or dump it.

                    12. Sort Mails

                    Don’t just stick mail in a pile to be sorted or rifle through and take out the pieces you need right now. Sort it as soon as you get it – To act, To read, To file, To delegate or hand off. .

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                    13. Assign Discard Dates

                    You don’t need to keep every piece of paper indefinitely. Mark on files or documents when they can be tossed or shredded.

                    Some legal or financial documents must be kept for specified length of time. Make sure you know what those requirements are.

                    14. Filter Your Emails

                    Some emails are important to read, others are just not that important.

                    When you use the filter system to label different types of emails, you know their priority and which to reply first.

                    Take a look at these tips to achieve inbox zero: The Ultimate Way to get to Inbox Zero

                    15. Straighten Your Desk

                    At the end of the day, do a quick straighten, so you have a clean start the next day.

                    Bottom Line

                    Use one tip or try them all. The amount of effort you put into creating and maintaining an efficient work area will pay off in a big way.

                    Instead of spending time looking for things and shuffling piles, you’ll be able to spend your time…well…working and you’ll enjoy being clutter free!

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                    Featured photo credit: Alesia Kazantceva via unsplash.com

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