Running a business can get a little messy if you don’t know how to stay organized. Admittedly, some folks thrive on disorder… but most of us could probably benefit from a little bit of structure. Just like decluttering a house, however, decluttering your business can seem overwhelming if you don’t know how to start.
Simple Ways to Organize & Manage Your Business
One of the most important things you can do to keep your business organized is to have a system. A written system. A system that, should you need to step out for a few days, would be easy for someone else to understand and fill in for you. Here are some handy business management tips to help you get started on getting organized.
Use your email inbox as a reminder system
Use your emails as a reminder for things that need to be addressed or done. Once you respond to or address the email, move it into a separate (labeled and logical) folder. Anything undone stays in your inbox until it’s complete.
Like any good organizational system, this requires regular maintenance. It won’t work if you have a thousand emails in your main inbox! I recommend keeping it under 10. If you go over that, it’s time to tackle some to-dos.
Try a task assignment program
If the 10-email system isn’t working for you, or you have to delegate work out to employees, consider using a task management program or app to sort out what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and who will be doing it. There are a lot of great programs out there, both paid and unpaid, that allow you to create tasks, assign them to various people, set due dates, add notes, and more.
Go paperless… and keep it in the cloud
Going paperless isn’t just about saving trees (though that is a nice perk). It also reduces the number of physical files, folders, and papers you need to keep track of. You may be able to choose paperless billing or communication for a lot of the business you currently do. You will need to scan any existing paperwork, if you want it all in the same spot, but there are actually apps that can help with this—no scanner required.
Once you digitize bills or files, you’ll need a place to store them. There are a lot of different cloud-based storage platforms, and which you choose to use is really just personal preference. Google Drive is a popular option; Dropbox is another favorite. Evernote is another great app for organizing quick thoughts sticky-note style.
Organize your computer
What does your computer desktop look like? Are there a million ambiguously named folders, five thousand images, and an assortment of unorganized files layered on so thick you can’t tell what your background image is anymore? Time to organize!
The goal is to keep your desktop as clear as possible. Only programs you use regularly should be allowed to sit front and center. The others need to be organized, out of sight, in a folder. Files and images shouldn’t be stored on your computer at all (except maybe in a backup folder). These should be moved to your cloud platform, both for accessibility (retrieve them anywhere!) and for safety (so any computer-destroying accidents won’t erase all your files).
Clear your workspace
Look beyond your computer at your physical surroundings. If you’re working with clutter, precarious stacks, and scary-looking piles, you probably need to do a little decluttering and organizing. Everything on your desk should have a specific use and a designated space. Don’t let your desk become a catch-all for stuff that doesn’t have a home.
If you do find that this sort of clutter ends up on your desk, consider designating a spot for “stuff that needs to be dealt with”, preferably not on your desk. Move sticky notes to your cloud platform or into your task management program. Put pens, pencils, and other utensils into a drawer or holder. File or scan papers. Remove anything that’s not being used, and find a home for anything that is.
Designate time for staying organized
Sometimes all it takes is a few minutes at the end of each day, or maybe at the end of the week, to deliberately clean up your space. Transfer handwritten notes or documents to the cloud. Remove physical clutter from your desk. Organize your inbox. Scan or file paperwork. Clear off your computer desktop. Having a time specifically set aside for organization can help maintain order.
Need Help Getting Organized?
Feeling a little overwhelmed by getting (or staying) organized or looking for a few more tips on how to get started? We’d love to help you out! Maybe you could benefit from a few tips specific to your business. Maybe you’re just plain trying to juggle too much and need a hand with things like marketing and social media. Either way, we’d love to chat about how we can help you better your business. Just reach out and let’s start talking!