by Lea Schneider
Who doesn’t want to make a resolution of increasing revenue and have it stick?
The New Year brings new opportunities to fine-tune things that work and change things that don’t. One of the best resolutions you can make for your business is to get organized. Being organized lets you focus on generating revenue instead of hunting for things.
These professional organizer tips can help nearly all business-related spaces:
Sometimes the theme of the day is “Pick it up. Put it down. Turn around and can’t find it again.” Containers are not just for making things look tidy — they are for actually being tidy. Having a set container means your items have a specific home. Using a tote or toolbox for tools is one instance of containerizing.
Concentrate on putting like items together. For example, get a box or deep tray. Place packaging tape, labels, permanent markers and other shipping necessities in one spot. Use a tackle box to hold and divide tiny items. Store large items in storage cabinets so they are easy to find, inventory and use.
No matter if you are stacking papers or boxes, stacking is inefficient. In order to access a box on the bottom, you have to move several other boxes. Once you find — or don’t find — what you need, the boxes have to be restacked. Buy shelving to use in storage areas and put items on shelves so you can see containers easily. It also allows you to unpack frequently used items so you can grab and go.
It may seem as though you always need more space. Before you head in that direction, save money by seeing if you can better utilize the space you have. If you need more room, you can often achieve that by going vertical.
Use wall space to hang pegboards or racks for holding supplies and tools. Find wall space to add taller shelving to hold more materials without increasing the footprint. Use bookcases to offer more office storage.
Don’t reinvent the wheel every week or month. There are always tasks you do that you will have to do again next week, month or year. Instead of starting from scratch, take time to create a procedure for how things are handled.
- Write a list of what needs to be done.
- Group all the supplies needed for the task in one spot.
- Create paper and electronic files for this repeated project — with matching names — so you can refer back to them.
- Set deadlines on your calendar to remind you of repeated tasks, such as quarterly taxes or changing web content, so you are ahead of the game and not scrambling to catch up.
Don’t waste time this year hunting for things. Get a label maker and use it. Label file drawers, supply shelves, storage cabinet doors, bins and containers. The more you label, the faster you can find things and put them away—especially in a shared workspace. Be sure to label paper files and electronic files with matching names.
Clear the Clutter.
Just like at home, clutter at the office should periodically go out the door, or eventually there isn’t room to work. Have a “clear the clutter” day, or try to tackle one space per week until you’ve conquered all the areas. A bonus to going through things is you’ll typically come away with some useful items you forgot you had as well as some new ideas garnered from the sorting.
Sort through parts, old equipment, supplies and outdated inventory to see which things are viable. Keep a detailed list of the items you don’t need for accounting purposes. You could donate the old items, sell them online or even recycle them. For paperwork clutter, ask your tax preparer or accountant how far back to keep records and which ones may be discarded. If you need to store records, you don’t need to keep them where they take up valuable real estate. Use an attic or storage closet, or rent space at a document storage facility.
When you spend less time hunting for things, you’re able to do what needs doing quickly, and you’ll find you have more time for those revenue-generating projects to fall into place.
Lea Schneider has years of experience advising business professionals on organizational principles that make them more productive. Lea writes her tips for The Home Depot. For a variety of storage options for your office, you can view a selection on the Home Depot website.