WOW – so many of us are requiring to #StayHome #StaySafe. How many of you have ever been granted the luxury of time to organize? Or really look at your business’ organizational framework? How about your inbox? Now is the perfect time.
The task of filing paperwork is often the most hated and avoided in any office. The same is true about our email inbox! The good news is, it is not as difficult as many people might think. Establishing and maintaining your filing when you have a system is empowering!
Do you start your day by sitting at your cluttered desk or an inbox filled with unanswered emails? If you answer yes then you set yourself up for an increased level of stress. You may lack productivity from the beginning of your day. For most people, and yes – me too! Our personal lives are already filled with enough stress. Adding to it is not motivating to getting busy on your list of to-dos. You deserve to start your day feeling refreshed and confident. Both of these empower you to be productive and to be making progress on completing your tasks.
Organize your workspace – both physical and virtual gives you confidence. A sense of empowerment. A cluttered desk or inbox can make you feel lethargic, confused and will zap your creative energy!
So, now you may wonder how a pile of disorganized paper can cause a stress. Simple answer is to not procrastinate but these pieces of paper and emails are actually decisions you are deferring. Each piece of paper or email in the stack is a reminder of something you need to do. This will inevitably increase stress each time you see it. You could do nothing. But then the small mound of paper you’ve create will grow into mountains of stress. Thus, leaving you feeling overwhelmed and uncertain where to start.
With a commitment to overcoming this situation you need to know where to start and what to work on. The first step is to understand how simple it can be. Did you know there are only three types of files that you need? An effective classification system has only three types of files: the action, reference and archival. Let’s take a look at the three types, remember these are applicable to your inbox too!
Your action file is everything concerning the projects you are working on, which are the files that you access frequently. Additionally, as you organize, make sure these files are close to your office. So you have easy access to refer to and file again after they have been used. Many of us save these types of electronic files on our desktop due to the fear of loss. But, once you put in place an organizational system, you can let the fear go!
With regard to your email. You can tag or flag these action files with the appropriate completion date as the due date. As well, you can set a reminder for the action. Take the time in advance so you are able to complete the task without missing the due date.
Reference files are not accessible as often as the action files. Because they are still important files you need to hang on to. These types of files do not necessarily need to be in your office. They should be close enough for easy access.
Your email inbox can be setup into subfolders. The subfolderes can have labels with easy to recognize or reference names. This allow you to ‘file’ the emails you would like to have available for future reference.
Files to Archive
The archived files are files that are not necessary with some regularity, or even not at all. These files you can store in a storage area, or anywhere else where it will be safe.
Continuing to organize, most emails software applications come with an auto-archiving feature. You just need to make sure you enable it and apply the correct settings for your specific situation.
All three types of files are important for you to stay organized and on top of tasks to be completed. But what about sharing the information with other individuals? With today’s technology we have the ability to share electronic files and physical files pretty easily. One of the more recent technological organizational support features is the ‘cloud file sharing’. The benefits of course are numerous. The investment is dependent upon the specific needs of the individual or organization. Some may want to implement the use of a cloud file sharing system. Yes, there are even a few ‘cons’ with regard to electronic file sharing. Make sure you do your research.
Teamwork and Sharing
Also, for your business you need to really consider how much value a shared filing system will bring. How will it increase your effectiveness as well as your efficiency? The cloud file sharing is not all that different than your physical business resource library. The value it brings will depend upon how much effort and thought you put into the original setup and layout. Think – how long have you wasted looking for specific files or business material? Imagine how much more productive your team could be if they quickly and easily access the files they need. This is one of those times when the upfront investment of time and resources for an organizational tool maybe beneficial. Remember “Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail” and it is never more true than in this instance.
Additionally, a business will find teamwork is enhanced when resources are easily shared among all team members. When teamwork improves, so too does the productivity. The entire team results with an increase in effectiveness and an improved bottom line financially.
Finally, an excellent way to ensure the success is to get buy-in from the majority of your team. Having everyone provide their thoughts on how the process needs to be. What specific requirements anyone team member might have and allowing them to test and provide feedback along the way.
In conclusion, as you organize your business, we need to remember an organized business isn’t just a necessity for the Fortune 500 companies. It is a necessity for the entrepreneur just starting out as well. Your ultimate success depends on how well you organize from the beginning. The more organized you are, the motivated you are to complete tasks timely which results in greater success.