Keeping it Organized: Tips 8-11

Keep it even MORE organized with tips #8-11 from Home Office Life.com!

Tip #8: Helping Others Get Organized

You may be extremely organized, yet if a spouse or associate sharing your home office isn’t organized, everyone’s productivity suffers. Here are a few ways to help others get organized and stay organized:

1. Gently suggest ways to help someone get organized and share these tips in a non-threatening manner. If someone sees that you’re trying to help rather than criticize, your ideas will be better received. For example, if you see scraps of paper everywhere on his or her desk, suggest a daily planner, handheld organizer or even a spiral notebook for planning each day.

2. Use positive reinforcement. Instead of focusing on someone’s disorganization, praise him when he or she makes an attempt to get organized. They probably realize that there’s a problem but don’t want or need to hear your criticism.

3. Teach by example. Don’t expect someone in your home office to be organized if you’re not. If you’ve changed your style from disorganized to organized, be willing to share your secrets behind the transformation.

4. Be patient and realize that not everyone is organized to the same degree. Keep in mind that if someone changes one bad organizing habit, his or her productivity will start to increase. Give the person time to make changes and show encouragement when he or she makes an effort to get organized.

5. Control the type and amount of information that enters your home office by attaching wall pockets to your door or the wall outside your door. Make sure others know that if they want you to read something, it needs to be placed in the pocket.
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Tip #9:The Easiest Filing System Ever!
By Ronda Claire

Those of us who have been home-based for six months or longer, know the value of a filing system. In fact, when a person sets up a business, this should be one of the legal requirements. Ok, not really, but it is/can be a vital part of your own communications system.

A variety of ways exist to file correspondence, documents, articles and other important papers that we may (or may not) refer to again.

Being traditional, I chose to use an alphabetical, rather than numerical, system. And as soon as I made that decision, I was faced with a few more (self-generated) problems and questions:

Should I use hanging files, or regular? Or mix them —a hanging file as a main subject with a file inside? Should I use one color, a variety, or straight manila? Yeesh! Finally, I decided on manila and no color coding (yet).

This issue settled, I gave myself another “dilemma”: straight cut no tabs, 1/5 cut or 1/3 cut?

Then there were labels to consider: color coded? white? typed? hand written? Or just not use a label and write on the file tab?

How could something actually so simple be turned into such a problem? Well, as all “situations” seem to do, this one worked itself out. So “obvious” a solution, it was easy to overlook.

Since I’ve been through the “label-a-file-in-alphabetical-order-and-have-a-new-one- come-in-and-mess-it-all -up” way, i.e.: aa, ab, ac, ba, bb, bc, only to have ad come along… I decided on 1/3 cut, alphabetical, and set it up this way:

LEFT CENTER RIGHT
A B C
D E F
G H I
J K L
M MISC N
O P Q
R S T
U V W
X Y Z

With “Misc.” I have 27 file sections. In each section, files are alphabetized. If I need a copy of a letter to city hall, I go to the right tabbed files and locate it easily.

So simple. Really. Now I just have to keep “misc.” under control!

Ronda Claire, an Illinois freelance writer, owns Starlight Creations. She writes and publishes newsletters, special event planners, brochures, flyers, booklets, and miscellaneous “StarStuff”. E-mail StarlightCreations@smallbizmail.com or leave a voice mail message at (815)352-4904 extension 130.
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Tip #10: Organizing Your Home Office

You’ve developed your product or service, pinpointed your market and created high-quality marketing materials. But what use are four-color sales sheets or a targeted marketing list if you can’t find or access what you need when you need it, or don’t have the supplies you need to send marketing information to others?

• Set up a system for storing your marketing materials. When a writer calls to request information, everything you need to compile a press kit should be at your fingertips. Use hanging folders labeled “Articles” with manila folders inside labeled with the names of publications that have written about you and your business. Store clear copies of articles inside. Another option is to use a paper holder divided into cubbies and labeled with the names of articles and sales sheets that you can send to the media or your clients.

• Use a contact management program (ACT! or Goldmine) to organize, categorize and find your clients’ contact information. A card file (Rolodex) will help you keep your business cards organized, but as the saying goes, “you can’t take it with you.” Even if you use a paper-based system, you can print out key contacts and slip the sheets in your planner. By synchronizing your handheld with your computer, your names and addresses will be up-to-date at all times.

• Keep plenty of mailing envelopes, overnight envelopes, two-pocket folders (or whatever you use to hold your marketing materials), tape and packing supplies readily available. When a client or writer needs your information, you can send it immediately.
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Tip #11: Overcoming Overstocked Office Supplies (By Harriet Schechter)

Of all the different types of passive stuff, there’s one that seems to plague just about everyone nowadays: office supplies.

Overloading on office supplies is easy to do since many of the products seem inexpensive; yet they add up quickly, and they can take up a lot of space. But what I find particularly sad is the wasted time-saving potential; if extra office supplies are put in the right places, they can be a help instead of a hindrance.

So, if you’ve been stockpiling little boxes of paperclips, multiple pads of Post-it notes, reams of paper, mugs crammed with pens, not to mention all those legal pads…the time has come to deal with them! Here’s how:

1. Group all similar items together (pens with pens, tape with tape, etc.) so you can see at a glance how much you have of each type of supply.

2. Count up the different places where you tend to do any kind of paperwork (e.g., process mail, pay bills, clip coupons, look at catalogs, read). The kitchen, dining table, family room, bedroom, bathroom, home office, and car are all popular paper-processing and piling places.

3. For each of your “paper magnet” areas, assemble one small containerÑa 6-inch-diameter basket is fineÑof commonly used office supplies (pencil/pen, notepad, highlighter, scissors, stapler, paper-clips, Post-its). The supplies you choose for these “mini-offices” should be ones that you’ve wished were handy but never have beenÑuntil now.

4. Allocate a limited space (an out-of-the-way drawer or a banker’s box) for storing back-up supplies.

5. Donate whatever supplies are left to a nonprofit organization, do someone else some goodÑunless, of course, you’ve waited too long and the pens have dried up, the paperclips are rusted, and the envelope flaps are stuck closed, all of which happens when you overstock these supplies.

Harriet Schechter, a.k.a. “The Miracle Worker,” is the founder of the San Diego-based company, The Miracle Worker Organizing Service (www.letgoclutter.com). Her new book is Let Go of Clutter ($16.95, McGraw-Hill).

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

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