As some of you who read my blog know, I have been focusing more on productive and organization this year. Making a few small changes can really help get the most out of your day, and as I sat in my office today I realized that I could get more organized.
Sometimes getting organized is a quick fix, and other times it is a massive project. Either way it can help increase productivity, reduce stress and generally help make the day run smoother.
Here are 4 easy tips for getting organized:
The first tip will probably take the longest, but it is well worth it. One way I have helped myself get organized is by cleaning off my desktop, and putting my files where they belong. I spent several hours inside Dropbox creating folders, and organizing different parts of my life. I now have all my business info neatly separated into folders, and my personal stuff like pictures, and blog posts in a completely different area.
Signing up for Dropbox is completely free, but you get a limited use of data storage. I’m not sure how large it has to be before they start charging you, but it’s a lot. Like I said, I went into it for a few hours, but it was totally worth the time it took. Now that it’s finally organized I wish I had done it sooner. I used to spend too much time sifting through all my files to find what I needed. With no money upfront, and some spare time, and all that has changed.
Having a calender that you actually use, and make reference to is a great help when you want to get organized. I use Gmail so it’s nice and easy to use the calender in the email, but there are literally hundreds of different options. It’s even ok if you still prefer a paper calender, just as long as you use it. In today’s day and age I would recommend a calender in the cloud so you have access to it virtually anywhere, but there has got to be something. I love how I get email alerts set at certain times for the tasks I need to complete. A quick peak at your email or calender &you CAN know everything that’s coming up. As I talk to clients and contacts throughout the week I schedule in my activities, and I get a quick reminder about it when I need it. Sounds simply and easy, but it can really help increase organization and productivity.
I was going to say clean your desk, but you can take it a step further than that. Having a clean desk can reduce stress and increase productivity but there are several other things you can quickly clean too.
The other day I went through my computer bag and totally emptied out anything I didn’t need. Like a lot of you, I am constantly bringing my laptop back and forth from work to home. When I pack up at either location I tend to throw random notes and pieces of paper into it. When I’m out running errands I’ll throw receipts in it too. (which also happens with purses/wallets). I stopped doing this and now it’s nice and easy when I want to pack up my bag. I even designated one area for a pen and a legal pad I like to carry around. I used to worry that some piece of paper at the bottom of my bag, or a random receipt in my wallet was important. Nine times out of ten, if you haven’t looked at it in months, you can throw it away.
Another easy place to clean is your car. On your way home from work or next time you’re at the gas station, take a few minutes and a few quarters, and give your car a vacuum. Combine that with a quick wipe-down of the dash & a new air-freshener, and you’ll be good to go. This way you’re clean and organized at work, as well as on your way to work. A clean, fresh-smelling car is a nice way to start the day.
The 5-Minute Walk Through
A friend of mine who is a fellow entrepreneur and professional organizer taught me this trick. This tip is great for single people and couples, but it is best for people with kids. Before you go to bed at night take 5 minutes and walk through your house. Make sure everything is all set for the morning. Some people may have to shut done their computers and pack them up, and others will make sure their kids backpacks are ready to go. Whatever it is, take the few minutes at night to do it. I am a notorious for misplacing my keys, so I always make sure they are on the hook when I go to bed. Sometimes I even set-up my travel coffee mug. This tip helps reduce some of the running around we do in the mornings. Most of us are half asleep when we leave our houses for work, and we don’t realize we left something at home until it is too far to turn around. The 5-minute walk through will make sure you don’t slam down on the steering wheel after you realize you left something important at home.
If you have an organizing tip that we could easily start implementing, leave them in the comments.