• January is GO (Get Organized) Month!

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    January 02, 2019
    If you’re looking to grow your business in 2019, save time and get more done in a day, keep on reading. Productivity is the key to your success, and it all starts with organizing your business.
    Take a look at these stats from smallbusiness.com, based on an Office Depot survey of 1,290 small business owners:
    • 83 percent of small business owners believe having an organized office is a vital part of their business.
    • 63 percent of small business owners believe office organization correlates to their business’ profitability
    Let’s face it, being disorganized undermines your productivity, wastes your time and creates inefficiency.
    Here are nine small business organization tips that will help you get more done in less time.
    1. Organize your space

    Doesn’t it feel amazing when your workspace is organized and neat? If you can’t remember the last time you felt that way, it’s time to tidy things up.
    There is a direct correlation between the working environment and productivity. A study by the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute found that clutter and chaos affect your ability to focus and process.  On the other hand, 71% of subjects in an OfficeMax Workspace Organization Study say they feel more accomplished when their workspace was organized.
    Here are a few simple steps to get you started:
    • Clean up your computer desktop. A clean computer screen can help you feel motivated and inspired. Take a few minutes every couple of days to delete old files, and put relevant files into folders.
    • Eliminate paper and say goodbye to your overflowing filing cabinets by scanning documents to your smartphone using Genius Scan. You can even outsource your scanning with Shoeboxed. Simply gather up everything you want scanned, send it to Shoeboxed, and they take care of the rest.
    • Set up a catch-all space. Designate an area in your office where all incoming items for your business should go. For example, if you receive important documents on a regular basis, like invoices or bills, consider a desktop organizer. Use three to five paper trays stacked on top of one another and use them to prioritize or organize documents.
    • Manage your cables. Cables can quickly turn a desktop into a can of worms. You can easily manage a cable mess with zip ties, or if you are feeling extremely adventurous, use under-the-desk cable trays.
    • Tidy up your desktop. Put a “price tag” on every item you keep on your desk. But instead of setting a $ cost for each item, determine what their value is to your workday and time. Does it subtract or add time to your day? If it takes away from your time, remove the item from your workspace.
    Set aside 10-15 minutes per week, maybe at the end of the day on Friday, to tidy up your desk. Sort your documents, throw away any unnecessary scrap paper or trash, cart your dirty dishes to the kitchen, and so on. This will ensure you can start fresh and feel organized the next time you come into your office.
    2. Manage your email inbox
    Email can be a real time sucker. It’s notoriously known for keeping you unfocused, especially if you’re constantly checking messages.
    Rather than repeatedly checking your inbox, opening emails, and then putting responses off until later, try this: Designate one to two blocks of time each day (in the morning and in the afternoon) where you set aside everything else to check and respond to emails. This ritual will keep emails from interrupting your work, and will ensure organizational utopia in your inbox.
    3. Hire a virtual assistant
    Repetitive tasks can suck the energy right out of you. Yet, they have to be done to keep your business running. If you’ve ever wished you had an assistant but weren’t in a position to hire one yet, a virtual assistant (VA) is the perfect solution for you.
    VAs are self-employed workers who remotely provide affordable, on-demand administrative services. Need someone to create SlideShare presentations? There’s an assistant for that. What about someone to create an Excel spreadsheet? Yep, they can handle that for you too.
    There are a number of good websites, like UpworkZirtual, and Fancy Hands where you can find specialized freelancers and virtual assistants who are ready and willing to make your everyday 10 times more productive. How? You have more time to focus on what’s important—growing your business.
    4. Integrate the cloud
    Ever had a computer die and lost important files? Ever needed a document, presentation, or spreadsheet while on the road or in a meeting? Want your files to be perfectly synced across all your devices, from your laptop to your smartphone?
    Getting your files in the cloud keeps them safe and accessible, anytime and anywhere. Join the 82 percent of businesses that have a cloud strategy with tools like DropboxGoogle Drive, and Trello  all have free versions and will work on your computer and mobile devices.
    So, no matter where you are or what device you’re using, you can access the files you need.
    5. Maximize your time
    A lot of people struggle with time management, but once the skill is mastered, it can help you find time in your day you never knew you had. It also gives you the power of deciding how your time is spent.
    You can start improving your time management skills by following these practices:
    • Take productivity breaks every two to three hours. Dozens of studies show that taking “microbreaks”—which can last anywhere from five to fifteen minutes—can improve your mental sharpness and ability to focus throughout the day. Take a quick walk around the building or grab a power snack. Staring at a screen for too long or sitting for hours at a time can also cause physical discomfort, leading to frustration and inability to focus on the task at hand. When you can’t concentrate on an assignment, you tend to move on to another task and leave the prior assignment unfinished. This cyclical effect leads to multiple unfinished projects, leaving you feeling unaccomplished, disorganized and unproductive.
    • If you need to track time for your business, a solution like Harvest makes it a snap. You can use it on your computer and your mobile devices and it all syncs up. You can also send invoices and track expenses against a budget.
    • Automate administrative tasks. Apps like Calendly automate meeting scheduling without the appointment back-and-forth, and platforms like BufferHootSuite, and Sprout Social automatically send out social media updates in advance—saving you valuable time throughout the week or month.
    So what are you waiting for? January ends January 31st!
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