Realtors, spa-owners, restaurateurs – we’re all business owners. But we’re also parents, consumers, and home-owners, and it can sometimes be a struggle to juggle both our business and our personal lives. Taking the time to make organization a habit at home can pay huge dividends at the office, particularly in areas like getting and keeping your business finances under control. Being organized at work is a proven way for the small business owner to save both time and money, and it can also help to reduce stress along the way.
Here are four organizational tips that are easy to implement in your personal life and that are designed to spill over naturally and positively into the workplace. Practicing organizational skills regularly is a great way to put an end to lost paperwork, missing information, and a daily to-do list that’s out of control.
Use an Agenda or Organizer
Organized people aren’t always as naturally orderly as they seem - sometimes they’re just really good at writing things down. Get in the habit of using a virtual or physical calendar to record appointments, pending bill payments, meetings, social events, birthdays, vacations, and anything else that makes up a typical day at home or the office.
The best hard-copy agendas lay conveniently flat and open on a desk, have lots of room for notes, and allow you to see multiple days at a glance for better planning. But whether you prefer pen and paper or a keyboard and computer screen, an organizer is a great way to set aside specific time to deal with those less than desirable tasks you’ve been avoiding.
Whether it’s balancing the checkbook, or following up on a delinquent account, research shows that writing a task down means it’s far more likely to get done.
Make Time to De-Clutter
Spending time in a disorganized environment leads to feelings of stress, and not being able to lay your hands on what you need, when you need it, can cause homeowners, business owners, and employees alike to feel overwhelmed and constantly on edge.
Use your agenda or organizer to regularly schedule the time needed to keep clutter under control – whether it’s going through your closets at home each month to get rid of what you no longer use, or purging your office of everything that’s outdated or no longer relevant.
Delete or archive old emails or voice messages, clear your desk of unnecessary items, recycle or replace broken electronics, and put those sales files back where they belong. You may even want to consider scanning and shredding old documents to make room for the new.
Don’t Let Correspondence Get the Better of You
Set aside a few minutes each day to deal with mail and other correspondence, rather than allowing it to pile up and get out of hand. If you stay on top of your messages and replies regularly, you’ll drastically cut down on the time it takes to open and organize the contents of your mailboxes - both virtual and physical.
Rather than searching through endless emails and documents for that one elusive invoice or bank statement you need, setting up neatly organized folders will save you both time and aggravation. And you’ll be far less likely to let something important slip through the cracks, like that pressing bill, pivotal sales call reminder, or the misfiled receipts you need for your pending tax audit.
Keep Chaos to a Minimum
A disorganized space makes for a disorganized … everything! If you’re forever losing your keys, consider setting up a go-to location for them on a hook just inside the front door. It will soon become the last place you leave them, and the first place you find them.
Similarly, implementing a good financial management program at work will keep all of your account information in one place and right at your fingertips, whether you choose to outsource your bookkeeping or set up and manage your own accounting software.
Regularly recording, monitoring, and dealing with payables and receivables helps to remove the chaos from your cash flow, and can go a long way toward keeping revenues up and expenses down.