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4 Ways Organization Can Help You Stay Productive

By: SmallBizClub

 

4 Ways Organization Can Help You Stay Productive

Have you ever looked across your workspace and wondered how it ended up in such a chaotic state? For many business owners this can be an all too familiar scene. If your employees seem lost beneath a sea of redundant paperwork, it might be time to steer them back to more productive shores.

Staying motivated can be difficult when everything around you is so disorganized. The average information worker spends about a quarter of their time searching for the necessary information to perform their jobs, leaving them with far less time to actually achieve the tasks they’ve been set. If you want to get your business in order, then first you need to keep your office in order too.

Don’t Fight the Urge to Purge

It is impossible to begin filing when there is no discernible system in place. If your desk is cluttered with a host of documentation, stretching from invoices to employee sick notes, it can be nightmare to separate everything into obvious categories.

Related Article: How Small Offices Can Improve Organization

By eliminating anything that is no longer of use to you, you can begin to uncover exactly which documents need keeping and which are simply weighing you down. According to NAPO, 80% of what we hold on to never sees the light of day again, so it’s no wonder all these stacks of paper are draining valuable time and effort.

In order to move forward, you need to let go of every item that belongs solidly in the past. Partnership documents, contractual agreements and property records are all things you should hold on to indefinitely, but everything else can be discarded at regular intervals. Below is a list of important office documents and indications of how long they should be retained.

Can be Shredded Monthly:

  • ATM receipts
  • Monthly and quarterly bank statements (where a year end statement is present)
  • deposit slips

Retain for 3 Years:

  • Invoices
  • Cash register tapes
  • Credit card slips
  • Cancelled checks
  • Receipts for charitable donations

Retain For 6 Years:

  • Filed tax returns
  • Payroll records

Shred on Sight

With the pile of disposable items growing rapidly, you’ll want to introduce policies for their proper destruction. Shredding your surplus paperwork is a quick and efficient way of ensuring your personal details don’t become more public. By training your employees to recognize which documents are no longer necessary, you can prevent crowded desks and overflowing waste paper bins.

Encourage your staff to commit to immediate shredding. Leaving paper lying around the shredder is only shifting your clutter problem from one area to another. Following a few simple steps can keep your office renaissance on the right track:

  1. Make sure each employee knows the government guidelines on data disposal and the value of competent shredding.
  2. Train all new employees to sort and file documents depending on whether they need to be retained.
  3. Establish a monitoring program for your recycling bins and trash. Often an error will be made and important documents will end up discarded in this manner.

Sort, Separate and Section

Your workspace should now begin to look a lot more like its original self. But keeping it this way won’t be easy unless you find some way to filter the onslaught of paperwork. The average exec wastes as many as 150 hours a year searching for misplaced information, at a personal cost of $3,842.

Recouping these losses can be as simple as dividing your desktop into 2 distinct sections: an inbox and an outbox. Separating the space in this way makes it possible to keep track of and deal with all the documents that are assigned to your station.

If you work with several different clients or agencies, then you might need to assign an inbox/outbox to each of them. Working regularly with other people can lead to a whole mix of different paperwork, so keeping on top of every task is paramount to harmonious working relations.

Revise Your Filing System

No matter the size of your business you will always need to keep records on file. Whether you’re making or receiving payments, it’s always vital to have receipts of these transactions to hand. Centering your filing system on two cabinets—one for outgoing payments and the other for incoming—will enable you to keep all documents in one place.

With these cabinets close by, it simply becomes a case of filing and retrieving the appropriate invoices when necessary. For instance, if you’re due to make a payment to a vendor or supplier, you can open up the drawer with their name on it and pull the copy of the invoice from it. You will then be able to write down and attach the payment method, date and amount to this copy, helping you stay on top of your completed tasks.

The same goes for your incoming payments. Once you have received confirmation of payment from a client, you can mark it down in the same way as above. Refine your system further by dividing each cabinet into specific sub-categories. For example, your outgoing payments could be divided into utilities, rent and employee pay, whereas your incoming payments would fall into categories based on their date: 30 day, 45 day, 60 day and 90 day invoices.

Piers ChappleAuthor: Piers Chapple is the founder of  Galvo Shredders, a shredding retailer offering a vast range of machines for all intents and purposes. Piers Chapple has a wealth of experience in the industry, offering quick and efficient service to all his customers.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/galvoshredders
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GalvoLimited
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/113846148867130076711/+GalvoshreddersCoUk/posts

 

Published: September 28, 2015
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