We must all be efficient and productive in today's business world. Being organized helps you handle tasks quickly so that you have more time and space to do what you truly want to do.
1. One-time mail system.
Have an In Box on your desk for new mail/information. Look at your mail once a day. Review each piece of mail once to decide whether to do it, delegate it or dump it. If it adds value to your business or is required for doing business, do it or delegate it. If not, then dump it. If you keep it, then categorize it using the A, B, C system. Use your time wisely.
2. Categories for performing your work.
Set up desk trays labeled A, B, and C. Items in category A must be handled today. Category B items must be handled this week. Category C items are generally filing that must be kept because they have some value, such as invoices, tax returns, and statements.
3. Prioritize your work within categories A and B.
Sort the categories into 1, 2, and 3. A1 must be done NOW, it is "hot" or "urgent." A2 can be done this AM. A3 can be done by the end of the day. B1 is done on Monday. B2 done by Wednesday. B3 done by the end of the week. Make the decision once, then do the work.
Set a day and time each week for filing. Don't let it stack up. Give yourself space to work.
5. Purge your files on a regular schedule.
For example, purge files every six months. Send these documents to storage. This gives you more space to work.
6. Storing records.
Store documents in boxes. Mark the contents of each box. For instance, clients A-F2013. Mark the destruction date on the box, D = June 02. Base your destruction date on the legal requirements for your industry.
7. Toss out stored documents on a regular schedule.
For example, two times per year, visit the storage area and remove boxes that are beyond the destruction date. Depending on your industry, they may need to be shredded rather than put in the trash.
8. Color code your records.
For example, clients with first names beginning with A-F are in Orange folders; G-K Yellow; L-P Blue; Q-Z Green. This will save you time when you are searching for a file. You can also apply this to AP, AR, Payroll, and Taxes. This can also be done by year. For example, 2012 AP is blue; 2013 AP is purple.
9. Hot files.
Put a red cover on files that you consider "hot." These could be urgent projects, legally or financially sensitive, or important VIP clients. Keep these visually at your fingertips.
10. Use out guides.
If you work with other people and share files, create a check-out system so that files are not lost. Put the file name, taken-by name, and date on a card and place it in an out guide box. When you can't find what you want, check the box to see if your co-worker is using the file. Be sure to remove the card from the box when you return the file.
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