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Table of Contents

Lead Story

Fine-tune for year-end bonanza

News

Industry Update

Industry Update

Bill Me Later welcomes eBay – will you?

Duel in the Big Apple

Regulation under the radar

European interchange battle escalates

Gift card hijacker gets 10 years

Features

Higher risks mean higher rewards

Ultimate distribution with Ultimate Game Card

ISOMetrics:
The indomitable holiday spirit

Industry Leader

Diana Mehochko –
Returning to industry roots

Views

Making cents of financial turbulence

Patti Murphy
The Takoma Group

Positively cash advance

Mike Landau
MaxAdvance

Education

Street SmartsSM:
Tough times pass, tough agents last

Jason Felts
Advanced Merchant Services

Drip for success

Nancy Drexler
SignaPay Ltd.

POS goes hybrid

Dale S. Laszig
DSL Direct LLC

Get organized - Part 1

Vicki M. Daughdrill
Small Business Resources LLC

The economy and your portfolio

Lane Gordon
MerchantPortfolios.com

Company Profile

Veratad Technologies LLC

New Products

Manage merchants with inventive POS

InventTrak v3.0
InvenTrak Point of Sale Products

Ignite revenue with SMS spark

SMS Gift Card Portal
SparkBase and Inspiron Logistics Corp.

Inspiration

Hi, um ... what's your name again?

Departments

Forum

Resource Guide

Datebook

Skyscraper Ad

The Green Sheet Online Edition

October 27, 2008  •  Issue 08:10:02

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Get organized - Part 1

By Vicki M. Daughdrill

The end of 2008 is rapidly approaching, and 2009 will be upon us before you know it. As you prepare for the new year by creating budgets and setting goals, take a few minutes to scrutinize your office.

Can you see the surface of your desk? Can you readily locate a client's file when they call with a question? Does your office inspire confidence and reflect professionalism? Is it a place you eagerly anticipate visiting each morning? Or is it a dump? If you answered no to the first four questions and yes to the fifth, it's time to stop, assess and organize your space. Managing your business by getting organized will simplify your life, maximize the time you spend working, lower stress and ultimately help you make more money.

Steps

So, how do you do it?

First of all, be reasonable about your expectations. It's not realistic to think you can solve all of your organizational woes in a few hours or days. Making changes requires time and effort. Acknowledge that this process can take weeks to complete.

Once your expectations are in check, create a plan of action. Take a sensible approach to the tasks that need to be accomplished, determine the tools you will need, acknowledge the obstacles you need to overcome (including your own attitudes and behavior) and establish a timeline to complete the activities on your list.

Then write down your plan, breaking it up into small, manageable steps. Be realistic as you budget the time necessary to get each step done.

If you are a morning person, make an appointment to organize your office for an hour each morning. If you are a night owl, set aside an hour each night. But be careful about your time budget. Not giving enough time to complete tasks will only generate frustration.

Put it in action

Once you make your list of what needs to be done, it's time to roll up your sleeves and get busy. Focus on areas that will give you the biggest visible result quickly to provide positive reinforcement and encourage you to continue the process.

For example, clearing the piles of paper on your desk (or the floor) is more important than organizing the bookshelf.

But everything should have a place. Your client files should be in a central area - consolidated, readily available and enabled with the appropriate security, such as locks on the cabinets.

Your work tools should all be in one spot, so you can pick them up quickly as you prepare to call on a prospect. Keep your briefcase fully stocked at all times, so you can grab it and go at a moment's notice. Not only should everything have a place, everything should be in its place. Keep the things you use every day - pens, notepads, calendars - on your desk. File or put away all completed projects. Label everything including your in/out boxes, filing boxes, file folders, file cabinet drawers and shelves. Labeling obviously helps you easily find things when you need them.

Remember, as you work through your plan, complete each task. One of the easiest ways to get disorganized is to begin multiple projects and complete none.

But you cannot do it all by yourself. Engage co-workers (even family and friends if possible) to help you make the changes required to get and stay organized.

The paper trail

Now that we've looked at some general tips to help you clean up that office, let's look at specific ways to arrange your papers, filing systems and computers.

It is said workers spend an average of 22 minutes a day looking for things around or on their desks. Wouldn't you rather spend time talking to clients and finalizing sales?

Workers waste time primarily by shuffling and sifting through the mounds of paper that accumulate on their desks. A key to avoiding this avalanche of useless paper in the first place is to ask, Where does it all come from?

Subscriptions, catalogs, ads, coupons, memos, faxes, letters, reports and bills are just a few of the obvious forms. Once you know where the bulk of unnecessary paper is coming from, you can take preventive measures to reduce the flow.

For example, cancel subscriptions, request your name be removed from mailing lists and have people send you e-mails instead of memos.

Once you know where all the paper originates, then build an effective paperwork system. Begin immediately by following the Three D's:

Make a decision on each item at hand - either it's important and you take care of it yourself, or it's lower priority and you give it to someone else to handle, or you deem it useless and dump it in the trash.

This process will help you eliminate all those piles of papers, magazines, flyers and ads that eventually end up in the trash.

By instantly discarding unnecessary pieces of paper, you reduce the clutter and allow time to focus on the items that really matter. Start the process by placing a large trash can next to your desk. Throw away - or shred - everything you possibly can.

Remember, you can always scan documents into your computer for safekeeping rather than holding onto the actual piece of paper.

Organizing paperwork

Here are some tips for organizing the paperwork you want to keep.

Electronic files

Not all clutter is in hard-copy form. Following are some pointers for tackling your electronic data:

You can't effectively manage your time until your office is organized. Clutter and disorganization in the workplace are counterproductive. So take advantage of my strategy now. Then you will be up and running - and ahead of the game - for a more productive and prosperous 2009.

Vicki M. Daughdrill is the Managing Member of Small Business Resources LLC, a management consulting company. E-mail her at vickid@netdoor.com or call her at 601-310-3594.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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