By Sharon Mann
The summer is simply a great time to get things done, a time to accomplish all those tasks and projects that you keep putting aside for later, I suggest the following:
1. Plan Your Day: Take ten minutes each morning to plan your day and pinpoint certain tasks that need to be done. Try to incorporate this into your everyday work habits, and you will see your productivity increase throughout the year. Your planner and calendar are probably the most important tools you have to staying organized. This is a good time to establish good habits. Studies have shown that it takes 28 days to create a habit. By the end of the summer it will be second nature.
2. Organize Your Files: This slow time can be utilized to make sure your files are updated and in order. This is a task everyone just keeps putting off and putting off until ‘I have more time,’ so take advantage of the time you have now when it is a little slow to just do it. Clean out files, and archive the old that you only need to refer to in case of an emergency. If the files have personal information be sure to shred them. At home this is a great time to organize those drawers.
3. Research a Class: Look into taking a class at a local school or college to help to enhance your skills and abilities. “Since education is a stepping stone to success,” counsels Mann, “do take advantage of slow times to acquire additional knowledge that can help further your career.”
4. Color-Code Your Files: By using colored folders, your business will not only save time and money, but also will also increase productivity and reduce the amount of aggravation and stress that is normally associated with the act of filing. This, in turn, will free up more time, which can be devoted to other, more important projects. By adding color to your filing system, you will save both time and money, two very important factors when running a business – and it will also make you look good when it’s time for your annual review and pay raise.
5. Input Business Cards: This is a terrific time of year to catch up on inputting all of those business cards that you have gathered over the year. It’s always important to keep your contacts up to date, so make this one of your priorities for the slower time. Use a book to keep them alphabetized and accessible.
6. Clean Out Old Computer Files: Take the time now to go through e-mail folders and get rid of old and unused e-mails, clean and organize the database of your software programs, and make sure everything is current.
7. Eliminate Clutter: Discard any unnecessary paperwork and try getting rid of all distractions, including too many personal items. To help avoid workspace clutter, make an instant decision on each paper that crosses your desk. Once you have held the paper in your hands, attend to it so you can then file it away and move on to the next task.
8. Reorganize The Workspace: Organize your workspace by properly filing all documents to help make finding paperwork easier and arranging specific places for each file, and - if he/she will let you - organize your boss’ space in the same way. Ultimately this will help make your job easier so you can both find essential paperwork quickly.
9. Assemble CDs: Organize your office CD ROM software into CD files. Move your software off the desk and make the most of your wall space to keep your CD ROM software in order and easily accessible. Using hanging files specifically designed for CDs will help keep these items handy.
10. Going on Vacation: The summer is a popular time for vacations. Be sure to clean up any loose ends and pair up with a buddy at work to cover your work. Set up a schedule, use your calendar or planner to plan all the tasks needed to be done before you leave. Have your mail at the post office held until you return, cancel any newspapers that you have delivered and keep all of your travel documents in one folder.
Sharon Mann is an organizational expert for Pendaflex (http://www.pendalfex.com), the world’s leading maker of innovative organizing products and also serves as president of the Pendaflex “I Hate Filing” club, a dedicated group of nearly 100,000 office professionals who dislike filing but enjoy finding new ways to become more organized and more productive in the workplace. Sharon is the author of “I Hate Filing”, Everything you need to Get Organized for Success and Sanity at Home, on the Run and in the Office.