I love it when I come across someone who has a similar philosophy to mine about keeping everything in an orderly way in the office.
So when I found the Time Management Ninja I couldn’t help but explore this web site where Craig Jarrow helps individuals and companies reclaim their time.
Time Management Ninja is about “Winning the battle against wasted time, disorganization, clutter, and all other things evil…”
I found his article “10 Steps to Stop Wasting Time Looking for Lost Items” particularly relevant to improving productivity in your business by organising your business information well.
The 10 steps covers a range of areas in your life that cause you to waste time because you can’t find something that you need. You can check out the article here
The key message is Craig’s first step:
“Put It Away the First Time – Before you set that item down, ask yourself the simple question, “Where should it go?” Putting one item away may not seem like much. But, if you don’t, compound that over a week and your entire home or office will be cluttered.”
Making this step part of your daily routine means you must have a place for the item to go.
For a paper document you need a filing system for your paper based business information. Then if you have some paper on your desk that needs to be put away, you can do it quickly and easily by putting it into its proper file when you’ve finished with it.
Then you can put the file away in its proper place –on a shelf or in a filing cabinet, or cupboard. You should only have papers on your desk that you are actually using.
For a new electronic document or spreadsheet, you need to have a place in your computer system to store it so you can find it again when you next need it. So you need to have a filing system for your electronic stuff. This will more than likely be a directory structure on your PC.
For paper or electronic files, the important thing is to have a place where you can store all the documents and other information you use in your business.
My filing mantra is that your filing system must have a place for everything, BUT only one place.
If there is more than one place for you to save a document then you will waste time working out which is the best place for it. And when you come to look for it again you will have to look in several places to find it. Frustrating!!
You can find more tips on managing your business information and email in my blog.
My e-book ‘Keeping Good Records in Small Businesses’ will guide you through the process of designing a good system for organizing and keeping track of your business files. You can sample the e-book before you buy here.
Then you can purchase the workbook “Keeping Good Records for Small Businesses here.