Dedicating a few minutes each day for seven days can lead you to a more productive office and lifestyle. A well-organized office will help keep your attention where it needs to be. Searching for files or fumbling through cluttered drawers is a time waster. Here is a one-week schedule to try and meet the office organizing challenge.
Day 1: Assess what you have now and what you will need to be more productive. Identify problem areas. Write down what you want to accomplish. For example, one client wanted a place to easily access often used, current files. Another wanted to eliminate clutter from her desk.
Paper is unavoidably the No. 1 challenge for many people. Mail, bills, subscriptions, newspapers, receipts, and important papers pile up in our homes and can be overwhelming. While digital clutter from email can at least be out of sight, paper is physically visible and in need of constant attention. There are often more documents coming in than anyone can feasibly handle, and many people tend to be “pilers” not “filers.” Tossing papers to the wayside leads to annoyance as it becomes difficult to find what you need. This is why a tailored organizing system for paper is crucial to maintaining your home or office.
It’s no secret that finances are a source of stress for people and relationships. We asked financial author and speaker Ellen Rogin what role organizing plays in creating financial well being. Rogin is a CPA, Certified Financial Planner and co-author of the New York Times Best Seller “Picture Your Prosperity: Smart Money Moves to Turn Your Vision into Reality.”
“Getting organized is a catalyst for creating prosperity and improving your financial well being,” explained Rogin. “Even in this paperless world, there is so much stuff. It’s about being discerning and organized about what you need to keep and what you can get rid of.”
If you scrambled to meet the deadline this year, or weren’t happy with the outcome, the time to act is today. By setting up a system to organize tax-related documents throughout the year, the process will go much smoother. With better records you may very well find additional deductions. Here are four steps you can take today.
Know what tax-related documents you need to save
Based on last year’s return, make a simple spreadsheet of those items you need to keep track of, so you can easily spot the documents you are missing. Here are some of the more common documents you should place in a file marked 2016 TAXES.
If you work from home full time you are part of a growing trend. An estimated 3.2 million people in the U.S. work at home, a number which has risen 79% since 2005. Employers appear to be warming up to the idea of telecommuting employees. Perhaps because a recent survey showed home-based employees worked an average of 9.5% longer and were 13% more productive.
One of my very first clients was an art teacher with a studio that she couldn’t walk into. She was not a hoarder, just someone who let clutter overtake her workspace. The objective was to transform her space back into an art studio where she could paint. Crafters often want to create when they get inspired. So finding what they need at a moment’s notice is important to them. Writers may keep piles of paper and books nearby for easy reference. When I walk into any creative person’s work space, it is usually in some kind of disarray. And you know what? That messiness may actually be boosting their creativity according to recent research.
Guest Post from Melissa Heisler, stress reduction expert and author of “From Type A to Type Me”
- Click cover image to download a free chapter from Melissa Heisler’s new book.
The concept of work-life balance has only been around for the maybe the last thirty-forty years or so. Work-life balance emerged during this time because more women entered the workforce full-time creating a conflict between roles and responsibilities. Individuals were no longer responsible only for home or only for work. Now they were responsible for both. Adding to this increase in responsibility are also the effects of supposed time-saving technologies like the internet, cellphones, emails and texts. These technologies, instead of making our work days easier and more efficient, tend to bind us to our work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year.
If your workflow is clogged by clutter you are not alone. Nearly half (43%) of American workers describe themselves as disorganized. Office productivity can increase greatly when the chaos is channeled into a structured work environment. Think about it. Clutter causes workers to miss crucial deadlines, stay late at work, and lose focus on tasks that need to be completed. With 30% of workers’ time being spent looking for lost documents, the need to improve office organization is apparent. Surveys show that clutter can have a real impact on a company’s bottom line – a productive office is an organized office.
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This is the time of year when we often say to ourselves, “If only.” “If only I had done a better job of organizing my records filing taxes wouldn’t be so tedious.” The key is to create a filing system to organize your tax records at the beginning of the year, and to file paperwork as needed throughout the year. Most tax records fall into the categories of income or deductions.
Wasted time amounts to wasted dollars. Brother International Corp.’s “P-touch Means Business,” survey reveals that an estimated 76 working hours per person each year are lost as a result of disorganization in the workplace.
As a professional organizer I believe the key to maintaining an uncluttered desk is daily upkeep. Set aside a few minutes at the end of each day to keep paperwork under control and your desk organized.