Time spent searching for old emails or filed-away paperwork can take a toll on your business productivity by the end of the day. But following some basic principles of organizing your space can keep you working efficiently, said Emily Parks, owner of Raleigh-based Organize for Success.
Parks consults with small business owners, entrepreneurs and corporate teams across North Carolina to help them increase productivity.
One of her cardinal rules is to routinely delete and discard whether its an email, electronic document or hard copy.
To make finding things easier later, get rid of anything you no longer need, as well as duplicates or information easily found online.
The caveat for this tidbit is that any business owner should check with a lawyer and an accountant about what is no longer needed, Parks said.
Resist the temptation to treat your emails inbox as a holding zone, she said. Always sort or delete your emails.
To keep papers from taking over your office, Parks suggests putting them in containers to provide boundaries. Once youve filled them, its time to edit the pile. Finding items later will be easier if theyre electronic, so if you accumulate many hard documents, consider investing in a scanner.
For the items you do keep, its crucial to assign everything a home, Parks stressed. Group like with like by creating categories such as action items, current projects and references.
People often want to store important documents in the space nearest to themselves, she said, but instead that space should contain what theyll reach for most frequently.
To make the most of tight space, look to the walls. Consider adding some shelves or wall-mounted file organizers.
Parks uses the catchphrase horizontal is hidden, vertical is visible with her clients to stress that when papers are stacked on a desk or shelf, the items at the bottom of the pile are often forgotten and simply create clutter. Filing folders vertically makes locating items faster.
Parks also advises clients to practice the power of one by limiting themselves to a single calendar, just one task management tool, one address book and so on.
Reach Jamie Kennedy Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.