Keeping it Organized: Tips 4-7

Again, these tips come from Home Office

Enjoy and Keep it organized!

Tip #4: Avoid Perfection

Do you take perfectionism too far? Do you work hard each day with minimal results? If so, you may be focusing on doing things right instead of doing the right things. Perfectionists appear on the surface to be productive, when in reality their quest for perfection keeps them from being so. When you recognize the extent of your perfectionism, you will dramatically increase your productivity.

Determine if you spend a majority of your time on top priority items. Perfectionists often focus on tasks they do perfectly, while ignoring those they don’t do as well, yet may be more important. A perfectionist takes time to revise a proposal that isn’t due for weeks, instead of handling an urgent request from a client. You will increase your productivity if you handle top priorities, whether or not the tasks use your strengths.

Your priorities will change often, so it is important to be flexible whenever possible. Perfectionists experience frustration when things don’t work out perfectly. A client may delay a decision about a project, and the delay may alter the rest of the project. That can ruin a perfectionist’s day. When you accept that things will not always work out as planned, you can still remain productive.

You may be a perfectionist without realizing it, because perfectionism can blind you to your habits. You may perform tasks well, yet because their completion is not perfect, you spend more time working on them. Here’s a clear sign that you are a perfectionist: you rarely feel satisfied with the first draft of anything you do. You may type and retype the same letter or report several times because it isn’t perfectly centered on the page or the type style isn’t right. This ultimately results in wasted time.

There is nothing wrong with striving for perfection (or near perfection), until your quest for perfection affects the quality and quantity of the work you produce. Perfectionism may initially open doors for you, because you will be perceived as organized and detail-oriented. Eventually, however, it could close the doors to your success. Striving for increased productivity means working smarter, not harder, and focusing on the end result, thus giving you time to enjoy your success.


Tip #5: Organizing Your Home Office

Although your business may not have the budget of a Fortune 500 corporation, it doesn’t have to look that way. There are several ways to furnish your office and design it for maximum efficiency. Take a close look at the furniture you already own and determine what’s missing.

Do you have enough filing space, drawer space, writing surface or room for your computer, printer, modem, fax, etc.? There is nothing wrong with improving the look of your office, so long as it will help you improve your productivity.

If you’re a pack rat, avoid a desk with more than two drawers. You’ll only give yourself more places to stash items you don’t need to keep.

Is your computer equipment stuck in a corner of your office, perched between an old kitchen table and a well worn coffee table? Look for a computer stand with a hutch to hold all of your equipment and still leave you with surface room for writing or placing information before you enter it on your computer. Other options are a configuration that includes a desk, credenza and computer stand, or a desk with a return placed near a computer stand.

After you’ve selected the right furniture, the next step is to make your office functional. Start with your desk. An uncluttered desk eliminates unnecessary distractions and allows you to keep your mind on the tasks needing your immediate attention. The only items you need to keep on your desk are the ones you use daily or weekly. Those may include a tape dispenser, business card holder, pen and pencil holder, desk lamp and your phone. Anything else is excess clutter.

Next, determine whether you have enough shelf space. Within a home office, space is often limited. Think vertically and add shelves near your desk. Use these shelves for the items you use less often. These could include a three-hole punch, extra supplies or an adding machine.

Stacking trays are a good tool for organizing incoming and outgoing paperwork. They only work if you take time each day to clear your “in” trays and put papers in your “out” tray. If you don’t have an assistant, take a few more minutes to clear your out tray by the end of the day.

When you’re working on a project and need extra supplies, save time by keeping the items you use regularly, at your fingertips. You’ll reduce the number of trips away from your desk, and increase your productivity.

If you have drawers in your desk, store only the items you use often, within them. Make it easier to see what you have, by using drawer dividers. They keep everything within the drawers separated, helping you save time looking for the items you need. You could use products specifically designed for drawers or an ordinary silverware tray to keep your supplies divided. When your desk is clear, you’ll spend less time searching for an open space to work, leaving you with more time to do what you need to do.

You don’t have to spend a fortune to organize your home office. Take the time to find the right location for your office, evaluate whether your current furniture is meeting your needs, then set up your office so you can find what you need when you need it.


Tip #6: 8 Ways to Improve Your Filing System

The information in your files is useful only if you can find the papers you need when you need them, within minutes. Designating specific places for papers and files will help you save time and aggravation.

1. File groups of paper in hanging folders and interior (manila) folders. Label each hanging folder with a main category and place the interior
folders, labeled with subcategories, inside.

2. When filing, place newer papers in the front portion of the interior folder, rather than the back.

3. Limit the number of interior folders to four within each hanging folder.

4. If an interior folder continues to grow, create a separate hanging folder and place the interior folder, separated into one or two additional folders, within the new hanging folder.

5. Use colored tabs on hanging folders to differentiate between various categories. For example, client files could have blue plastic tabs and financial files green tabs.

6. Decide whether you’re going to place plastic hanging folder tabs in the front or the back of the folder. Whichever place you decide, be consistent.

7. Don’t fill each file cabinet drawer so full that you can’t move files back and forth easily.

8. Use hanging notebooks as an alternative to hanging and interior folders. A notebook with tabs attached fits in a letter-size file cabinet. Push the
tabs in and it becomes a regular notebook

Tip #7: Delegating

In my second book, 101 Home Office Success Secrets, one of the home office professionals I interviewed provided a tip that I didn’t agree with, yet found interesting. He said that he didn’t delegate because when something came into his office, it was routed to the person whose responsibility it was to handle that type of task, instead of being placed on his desk. This meant that the professional with whom I spoke, never had to delegate.

This method may work for some, but for the majority of us, delegating is a viable and in some cases vital option. These four delegating tips will help you increase your effectiveness.

• Determine if there is someone else who could handle a task for you. For example, typing letters to clients. In the time it would take you to send these letters, you could have met with several clients.

• Consider using a temp service or administrative service to handle your administrative tasks. If you are not particularly organized, a person who is could come into your office a few hours each week and file, type letters or run errands for you. Determine what your time is worth and if it is worth paying someone else to do tasks for you. You undoubtedly can make more money selling, meeting with clients or running your business than typing letters.

• Do your clients or their assistants have trouble contacting you? Some people do not like to leave a message on an answering machine or voice mail. An alternative is to hire an answering service who will be able to tell callers when you will be available to return their calls.

• Share the task of reading trade publications and business magazineswith an associate. One of you could read one set of magazines and highlight articles, while the other could read another group and clip and highlight articles. Once every few weeks, trade articles. This will keep you up-to-date in your field and will save you the time and agony of pouring through stacks of magazines alone.



Filed under Day to Day MK, Direct Sales, Helpful Articles, Keeping it Organized Series, Real life answers

2 responses to “Keeping it Organized: Tips 4-7


    MK, this is good. I am one of those perfectionist, however I have been working on it for a couple of years now. I just want certain things to be just so, so and if they are not I am like OH MY. I am however working on that. I am also a clutter person however my clutter is perfectly put in it’s proper place if that makes any sense, to most it doesn’t to me it does. Oh well, I will work on that too. My home office is mine and I should my girls are old enough I should put them to work although when you are a perfectionist no one can do it like you can. Sounds crazy and it is. Will be working on this one too. You know they could label my products but I do all that too, how hard is that NOT!! Anyway I pray that everyone has a Blessed day.

  2. Dara

    Thank you SOOOO MUCH MKR! This is so helpful. I’ve already implemented some of the ideas. I really appreciate the research that you do and how responsive you are to our needs. Mary Kay rules and so do you!!!!!!!!

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