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TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER 1 …………………………………………………………………………………… 2
WHEN A LACK OF ORGANIZATION RESULTS IN A LOSS OF PROSPERITY
CHAPTER 2 ……………………………………………………………………………………6
THE HOME OFFICE FROM BEGINNING TO END
THE IDEAL OFFICE HAS EVERYTHING IN THE RIGHT SPOT
CHAPTER 4 …………………………………………………………………………………….18
TIPS FOR RUNNING AN ORGANIZED HOME BUSINESS WHEN YOU HAVE CHILDREN
ORGANIZED FILING SYSTEMS
AFFORDABLE DECORATING & ORGANIZING IDEAS ON A SHOESTRING BUDGET
CHAPTER 7 …………………………………………………………………………………….26
WORKING FROM A HOME OFFICE OFFERS ATTRACTIVE TAX ADVANTAGES
CHAPTER 8 …………………………………………………………………………………….30
FENG SHUI YOUR OFFICE
CHAPTER 9 …………………………………………………………………………………….43
KEEPING IT ALL IN ORDER
CHAPTER 10 …………………………………………………………………………………..48
THE PSYCHOLOGY BEHIND CLUTTER & PROCRASTINATION
CHAPTER 11 …………………………………………………………………………58
ORGANIZATION IS THE BACKBONE TO ANY PROSPEROUS COMPANY
CHAPTER 12 …………………………………………………………………………69
THE LANGUAGE OF WORK MODEL
CHAPTER 13 ………………………………………………………………………71
MOST COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
CHAPTER 14 ………………………………………………………………………75
FACTS ON OFFICE ORGANIZING
When a Lack of Organization Results in a Loss of Prosperity
If you have ever had a chance to sit down and calculate the time that you have lost because you were not organized you would most likely be amazed. You probably have a good idea that it is a lot of time, but most do not realize the extent of exactly how much time is wasted searching for something, a lost paper, sticky note, email address, or phone
number. Well, everyone knows that time equals money, so when you are wasting time you are throwing money out the window. You have probably made several attempts to organize your office whether it is at home or in a brick and mortar location, it does not matter. An office is an office and clutter is clutter. So you may have thought on more than one occasion that this would be the day that you would organize everything. Now you could have been just procrastinating or maybe you even gave it a valid effort. Best case scenario, you organized it and it looked great but within a couple of days you were back to ground zero. There will always be a next time, right; well the next time can actually be the last time if you do the job right. I hope this eBook will help you achieve this goal with a system and the worksheets provided. Clutter creates chaos and that certainly is not profitable plus it creates more stress to your already hectic work schedule or throws you off track in achieving your goals quickly and effectively. Sometimes, you may find it impossible to even find a pen on your desk or what about when you are on the phone and are feverishly searching for a number that you just know you put somewhere but can not seem to locate. Again, this is all mismanaged time. Today’s competitive market is such that no one can afford to waste time and effort. Disorganization simply put ends up costing money loss, stress, and a lot of overwhelming feelings. A cluttered and unorganized office can also be the cause of missed deadlines, incomplete work, and lost information. If you leave the mess for too long it will just grow and grow until it is completely unmanageable. Plus, if your office looks cluttered and messy, every single person that walks into it is really going to get a bad impression. It is likely that they will think the same of you as they do your office. Who knows, it could even result in losing a business deal in the process. Set just one day out of the month away to straighten up your office. That is the day when you can finally shred the tier that is labeled possible garbage and just give it an overall update. Hiring out someone to clean your office is a great idea but there is no sense in even wasting money if it is a big mess as they will not be able to do any cleaning. But, if you know this in advance and hire someone for one cleaning a month, you will actually be forced to organize everything first and you will have a time restraint. Then they can come in and actually clean the office by dusting, vacuuming, and ridding the place of any cob webs, etc. Time management is crucial to office organization because if you are in a constant rush you are much more likely to be messy and cluttered. Do not overextend yourself, if you have to go to the post office and office supply store, it can take any small sequence of events and you have just put yourself way behind schedule. So allow enough time for everything and prioritize. Many errands that might be eating up a lot of your time can be handled online and many even offer free shipping such as officedepot.com, which will ship any order over $50 for free. Postage stamps are another errand that can be eliminated by utilizing the Internet. Actually visualizing this might give you a better understanding of how important a shredder and a wastebasket really are. The cycle really is not that difficult to follow.
There are only a few things that a person can do with any particular item but in order to keep the flows of organization going which results in more efficient time management the cycle has to be repetitive. Remember it is a strategy! Once you get used to it, it will be like a second nature for you and you will be less stressed and much more organized.
GET RID OF IT
This is all that you need to remember. File it, which always seems to be the missing factor and the one that people choose to ignore the most. They normally think if something is out of sight that it will also be out of mind and while that is true it is a lot better to have filed it and of course, labeled it, then to have buried it under a mountain of other paperwork. If it is not finished or requires further consideration just add it to the things-to-do-list and file it. Doing this will keep the clutter away and will not let you forget about it. Do not look at filing as a way of storing something because the file cabinet is not used for permanent storage. If you are storing files that truly will not be used again you need to box them up and actually store them somewhere else. Invest in a label maker so you are well aware of what is in your file cabinet. Tax records should of course, always be saved but they can be boxed and stored. The files that are in your file cabinet should be filled with items that you may need to look at within the next year or so. Labeled precisely with colored labels, which makes filing so much easier as you are sorting through colors rather than labels can make the job so simple. A
great label maker is offered at cableorganizer.com. It is easy to use, it’s compact, and easy to store. Once everything has been labeled then either alphabetize it or categorize according to color coding. Delegate it, this simply means if you can not fix it, do it, find a place for it, or do not have the time for it, pass it on to someone else who can. Who that someone else is will depend on a few factors the size of your business and whether or not you have any employees. If you work from a home office and have no employees then maybe you could delegate to a spouse or a friend. Every now and then it can not hurt to ask for a bit of help, especially if you are running a business all by yourself. Those who appreciate your efforts will more than likely be glad to help out. Get rid of it, this is probably the most important of all. Your options are fairly limited to how you are going to get rid of something. You can give it away, throw it away, or sell it. Again, prioritize what it is that you are looking at and use some common sense when determining if it is really something that you will ever need. Go from there and then decide which option you will use to rid yourself of this clutter. By no means is it likely that everything will be junk and remember that one mans junk is another mans treasure and there are many places that advertise your junk for free and when it sells you can make some extra cash. You will know when you have completed the task at hand and that is when you look at your desk and see a monitor, a phone, a few accessories, and the work that you are currently working on, not last weeks or work that you will do three days from now, just immediate work, period. The whole idea of an organized an uncluttered office starts with the desk which unfortunately is the biggest offender. So, that has to be a top priority, keeping the desk clean and organized and that can be a daunting task in itself. This may seem a bit overwhelming, especially at first but once you get the knack of it you will likely not want it any other way. You must have systems in control that support your work style and your goals. Remember that each item in your office and on your desk has to have a home, a spot to call its own. This will alleviate a lot of stress and anxiety from your life. A known fact is that when a work area is clean, organized and uncluttered that people tend to perform better at their jobs. They are more focused with fewer distractions and they actually feel better about themselves. If you have not yet decided on a system then now is the time to explore your options because this is a critical part of your transformation process. This could be the very last time that you have to apologize when someone enters your office because it is a mess, or clear off a chair so they can sit down, or even place a customer on hold because you can not find a pen due to the stack of cluttered paperwork. So get that desk in order and then work from there, make your desk the center focal point where everything in your office is easily accessible. The time is now and only you can make it happen today! . See the diagram below where the uncluttered desk is the center focal point:
Keep small notepad by phone for messages
Organized desk is main focal point.
Organize desk at the end of each day.
Keep all office supplies in one drawer
The Home Office: From Beginning to End Today, more so than ever there is abundance of people that are either telecommuting from their jobs or starting their own business and working from their home office. There are several issues that need to be addressed in regards to a home office and this chapter will include each one. So you have decided that you are going to start a home business and now you have to select a location for an office, well, you really need to give that a lot of thought. Too often people just think about the most obvious place to call an office but you have to ask yourself if that location is going to always be practical. Let’s say that you are a mom with kids and you decide to make your office in the basement. Is that really practical for you? Have you thought about you being in the basement and the kids upstairs making their own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and running all around? You made sure that before you went to work in your office that you had already taken care of your upstairs duties so that was out of the way and now in an instant, it sounds like a herd of elephants upstairs since the kids just got home from school. If this sounds like it could be a problem then you will have to either organize your time better making sure that you are done with your business by the time the kids get back home and you can go back upstairs and be the mother again or put your office someplace that is more of a central location in your home. This may require moving a few
things around but in the end it will pay off. Maybe you are a man who is starting a fresh home business and are attempting to consider where your office might be. Again, think about the kids, if there are any; think about the traffic that is at your home. It would be great if every home office was in the perfect spot and there were no interferences but in real life consider yourself extremely lucky if that is the case. Ideally, you will want your office to be in a spot where there is the least likely chance that you will be interrupted but also where it is convenient as well. Think in terms of future clients perhaps having to stop by your home office, think in terms of summer vacation for the kids as the kid factor can not be stressed enough whether there already are children or your future plans include having them. A home office is not something that you want to keep moving around the house and from a voice of experience; kids can hinder a home business and home office quicker than any other one single factor. Speaking of the children, once you have set up your office, make sure that you let them know that no matter what, your office is off limits. If you do not establish that ground immediately you will suddenly notice that all of your paper is gone, you’re white out is missing, you have no pens left, and the list goes on. Further, if you do have anyone else in your residence, even a spouse, you might want to consider purchasing another computer. Do not let your business computer be the family computer. So, assuming by now you have decided where your office will be, it is time to think in terms of putting it all together. Think about furniture but think even bigger than that, think about organization incorporated with furniture. Make sure that every aspect of your office has an organizational component to it. That way in the end you will have a great office and every organizational option to make the best use of your space and storage. Before you begin to explore your furniture options, a great place to check out is the Do it Yourself Network www.diynetwork.com. They have a lot of options and great ideas to help just about anyone set up and organize their home office regardless of size, location, or budget. You do not have to be an architect or an artist but start with drawing a simple sketch of the room that will soon be your new office and include measurements. Then decide which furniture and equipment that you will utilize the most. Do not buy a bunch of stuff that you do not need just to ensure that you have a complete office, you want this office to work for you, not against you. If you have no use for a copier or might use it on mere occasion, then do not add one to your office. Stick with the essentials. Also, examine where your electrical outlets are because that may bear a lot of weight on where you locate your furniture. Also consider phone outlets as well. Where are the phone outlets located now and will you have to add more is an important factor to consider. Then determine your budget, which could be the biggest factor before selecting furniture and other options for your home office. If at all possible you will want to make the office coordinate with the rest of your home as far as style goes.
IF YOUR SPACE IS LIMITED THINK VERTICALLY
DECIDE ON YOUR EQUIPMENT & FURNITURE NEEDS
MEAS URE YOUR S PACE AND OBS ERVE PHONE OUTLETS AND ELECTRICAL OUTLETS
Because every tiny detail has to be considered beforehand, think in terms of lighting as well as furniture. Lighting, your chair, as you will want comfort since you be spending a lot of time in it, a practical desk, storage shelves, and file cabinets. A place that has a lot of great ideas and that can be very resourceful is officemax.com. Office Max predominantly caters to the home office. They have many ideas to look at online and if you want to visit their brick & mortar location the sales staff will be very beneficial as well. You will want an office that is pleasant to work in and says a little bit about who you are and what you represent. You will be spending a lot of time in this home office so make it an enjoyable working area and a place that you do not mind being in. So when putting your home office together make sure that you are not in a dull spot. A pleasant and organized environment will allow for both productivity and creativity. A few simple ideas would include eliminating chaos, stocking your workplace for its main functions, utilize all organizing tools, and think ergonomics which means consider every aspect of your comfort for all of your senses such as sight; is there lighting good, is your back comfortable in your chair, is your mouse in a comfortable position. Cover all bases to make sure that under no conditions will you be uncomfortable while you are working. Consider these three factors when you are making all of your home office decisions:
FAMILY CONSIDERATI ONS
EQ UIPMENT NEEDS
Family considerations would include how the placement of your office will affect the family members in your house factoring in hours that you will be spending in it and if there is a chance that any clients may need to stop in. Equipment needs require you to allow for enough space to facilitate your equipment, basically meaning is there room for you to work, a place for your printer, computer, phone, fax, and that they all match up with the electrical outlets in the room. And of course, comfort as you will want to be comfortable in a room that you will be spending so much time in. Assuming all of the above has been addressed and now the day that furniture is getting delivered has finally arrived. Move that furniture around and see exactly where it works best for you. Inserting it in a corner as traditionally one would expect is not any longer the best way to do things. Work with it and see what is most efficient. The www.diynetwork.com network has many sample plans and lots of ideas for managing space that works best for you. After you try out several different configurations in which you will find that some have advantages and some have disadvantages. But ideally what you want to have as the end result is the most essential items within arms distance such as in/out baskets, computer, printer, phone, and fax machine all within arms reach from your desk. If the area that you have chosen happens to be particularly small do not panic as there are ways to handle that situation and useful tools and ideas to make small areas a worry from the past. Maybe your room of choice is a spare bedroom and if that is the case then there should be a closet in there. A closet just might be a blessing especially if the room is rather small. There are closet organizers that can benefit your home office tremendously. Closetstogo.com allows you to actually design your own closet organizer
and they preassemble before shipment. The possibilities are endless and think of the massive storage space that you can use efficiently if you just give it some thought and do a little research. The containerstore.com is a handy little online store that has all of the trendiest gadgets around to help with organizing your home office. Too many gadgets result in clutter and clutter is no longer acceptable. But the perfect gadget ensembles can really help a lot. Remember, every item in your office including each and every pen has a home and it returns there each and every night. Practice makes perfect and that is what you are striving for here. Ok, perhaps not perfection but at least a solid vow that you are going to keep things in order and eliminate any paper clutter and feel confident that at any moment if a client were to stop in that you would be proudly prepared for that unexpected visit. When it comes to organizing your home office, there are more areas of organization than just making sure that your office is tidy and uncluttered. Origination is a very big word and you will benefit from a complete organizational over haul. First, organize yourself. That is where you will find the maximum efficiency. Having your own business and running it from home requires extra organizational skills and dedication. Each and every second of your time has to be utilized to the fullest and you have to get the most out of it so that you are not running around like a chicken with your head cut off. It is likely that if you do not organize yourself that you will find no time for yourself and you will feel as though you have worked all day but accomplished nothing. Make a list of all of your priorities and stay focused on them. On top of the list are generally the money making opportunities. Then make a list of what you have to accomplish for the week and try to estimate how long each task will take. Remember when estimating to always go on the higher side. Here’s a tip that will save you a lot of anguish; when you are finishing up your work for the day, take just a few minutes and schedule everything that you want to accomplish the next day. Do not fill up 100% of your day, instead fill 70% because when working from home something is always going to come up and if you have left no time open, you might find yourself in a bit of a pinch. If you find that the next day there were no interruptions then you will have some extra time do work on something else or take a little needed break, although that is highly unlikely. By now, your office is already a perfect poster representing organization so you are managing time quite nicely in that area. Make sure that your computer is working to its maximum ability for you and if you have to buy a how-to book to learn about the various options that are standard on a computer that can be extremely beneficial. This also helps to maintain one of your long term goals which are doing your best to keep a paperless office. The computer has calendars, reminders, to-do-lists, etc. Just knowing how to work them is worth its weight in gold. All of this organizing might seem like an endless process but in the long run the time spent now will save you hundreds of hours in the future. Home offices mean you are at home and when you are home many things can happen such as the kids are home too or a neighbor stops by, or a friend calls, or in extreme cases and again this is from the voice of experience, a friend will call and tell you how much you are missed and practically beg to stop by for one quick cup of coffee which turns into three hours later. It may take a while for people to catch on and take you
seriously but they will. You do have to be firm but you can do it in a nice way and try your best not to offend anyone. Turn your ringer off on your home phone and direct all calls to voice mail until after work, just as you would do if you had to go to work each day and answer them at your leisure. In extreme cases, and again this comes to you from the voice of experience, you may have o put a note on your door that states that you are unavailable to answer the door between the hours of 8 and 5 or whatever your hours might be. There are many distractions that can be a nightmare for the home business owner. There are a few rules that you can follow to avoid distractions and make your life and your business rule a lot smoother. Start with setting specific business hours and sticking with them. If you have children then this is an absolute must. Children do not understand why if you are at home that they can not bother you, and it really does not matter what their age is. Put a do not disturb sign on the door and make it is clear as possible that when that sign is up, they are not allowed to knock or come in. This is important because what if you are on a business call and your kids are beating on the door, which is not very professional. Use a to-do-list each and every day so that you are able to manage between work and house duties. You can find yourself stepping out of your home office with the intent of maybe grabbing a quick bottle of water and before you know it, you are loading a dishwasher or fixing your child’s bike. So you have to stay on track, walk out and get the water and avoid any distractions whatsoever because you have to finish your to-do-list. Set deadlines too and stick with them. Most importantly, give your self time to relax. More and more businesses are starting from home with today’s economy as poor as it has been means that home businesses are not only going to have to compete with brick & mortar businesses but the competition is going to rise among other home businesses as well. So what is going to make your business stronger than the rest and most competitive, your organization, that’s where it is going to pay off for you in the long run? Organizations run at a much higher ratio of productivity if they are managed efficiently and organized so the same trends should reflect a home business as well. It too is an organization that perhaps just for now might be on a much smaller scale. But as your organizational skills develop, you will see much more proficiency within your job related abilities which will really give you a sense of accomplishment. Tasks will not be so daunting and everything will have a more even flow and balance to it. The United States Census Bureau claims that 49% of the nations businesses are ran from home now and that for every ten home businesses, six of them started their business with their own start up cash flow. That is an extraordinary amount of homes that are running a business out of it. Some businesses might require you to have stock on hand which will require more organizational structure and also more room available. Census Bureau showing data from 2002 as to which types of businesses are ran most hand; others may not if they are a business of skill alone. Below is a graph from the US often from a home office.
This chart will give you a better understanding of the types of businesses that are running as home based offices across the US and through a process of elimination; you will be able to determine which might require a separate area for stock. If your stock is small maybe that can be what you mainly use that closet area for but if not, then you will have to make alternate arrangements for where you will keep your stock. With your new organizational skills you will be off and running in no time. The ultimate goal here is obviously success but in order to be successful you are going to have to be organized. Sometimes it’s the littlest thing that can really add to the whole organizational structure and marthastewart.com website has a lot to offer in that area such as cord organizers that makes sure that all of those messy cords behind the computer and from the phone lines are all tucked away nicely and hidden for a much better look. There are also disk cubes that are available on that website where you can neatly and orderly assort and file all of your disks so they are organized and out of the way. There are these very trendy gadgets called note clips and what you do is put a few little hooks in the wall and these clips slide onto them and they can clip and hold bills, memos or anything that you may need. It displays it a very organized manner where it never appears as clutter. There are certain furniture and devices that can practically make any room into an uncluttered home office. Some people have actually created a small home office in a walk in closet and have been very successful. Regardless of the size of the room, you should focus on the workability of the room in terms of your family and lifestyle. Everythingofficefurniture.com has a wide variety of home office furniture that can work anywhere. Maybe you live in a rather small apartment and your space is extremely limited, that is not a problem because this store has what is called a computer armoire. It basically looks like an armoire but when you open it, there is your entire office. To get a better idea here is a picture of an open computer armoire and remember that when you close it, it looks just like a piece of
By: Fitgirl If you are working with a bigger area and need ample desk space then you may want to think about a corner desk as the fit snug along two walls. They offer room for the computer monitor as well as some gadgets and room for writing. Since they fit plush against two walls they may be a better option for you and are also available at Everythingofficefurniture.com. Observe how the corners are defined and for being a larger desk, it is very practical as far as the amount of room that it takes up. Another plus is there is room for storage underneath it as long as the storage does not look like clutter. Below is one type of corner desk: There is a lot of workability with this type of desk. If you are working with a larger room then an L shaped or U shaped desk might really add a contemporary touch to any office. They are a newer style desk but they are very business savvy. These desks give you plenty of work space and can even accompany an additional person on the other side if needed. You want this desk to meet all of your criteria so ask yourself exactly how much time that you believe that you will be spending at behind this piece of furniture and what functions will you be performing at it. These particular styles offer enough space for your computer as well as other options. The only disadvantage is that these two styles are a bit more expensive than a traditional desk. So when deciding on a desk base your final decision on cost, the type of work that you will perform at it, and comfort. Almost more important than the desk itself is the chair. What could be worse than sitting in some uncomfortable chair all day long while it grinds at your back and is not roomy enough, the answer quite simply is nothing. There has to be a serious comfort level indeed. So a chair is definitely not just a chair. It might cost a bit more to get a good chair but even buying a good used chair is better than buying a new one that you loathe. A great place to look for great bargains on used furniture that is right in your area is craigslist.com. Here is an example of some of the deals that this website has to offer and you can locate a city right in your neighborhood. Below are pictures of two chairs that are currently on this website.
This one is only $10
This one is only $25
Of course, there are plenty of new chairs to pick from as well. These chairs above are intended for those who may be on a budget but officemax.com has a brilliant selection of brand new chairs to meet the needs of everyone. The main thing to remember is to sit in one for a few before buying it and decide if this is a chair that you will feel totally comfortable in for long periods of time. The Ideal Home Office Has Everything in the Right Spot Today, more than ever, people are walking away from their stereotypical 9-5 jobs and setting up shop in their own home. At first you may find yourself just setting up an area to do your work and your plans might include deciding that this will be the perfect opportunity for you to work for yourself while the children are at school. That plan usually goes great for a while but with the twists and turns that life always seems to take, many times the plan goes haywire. Part of being organize is being prepared for as many curve balls as life may throw your way. One thing that you need to prepare for is advancement. What if you are a CPA and you have traded in your job at the office for one at home, you are preparing taxes and your clientele just keeps on growing? Will you find yourself spending days and many evenings trying to catch up on your work? These nights at your desk are not only distracting as now you are competing against the TV, the kids, and all of the commotion that sets in at most homes after 4pm. Your family misses you and keeps asking when you will be done and before you make a business call you have to go through the house to quiet everything and everyone down. This is when you know that it is time for a change. Two features that are a must for a home office to function properly are an area that offers privacy and one that has a door that is able to close. The door is especially
essential if your home has frequent visitors or if you have any employees. In some cases, you may find that there is not a spare room for your home office but many have created organized and functional offices inside of walk in closets, in alcoves, or even in utility rooms. The key is to think ergonomically which means think in terms of comfort and support. The chair that you will be sitting in needs to be comfortable and it must support your back, the desk should sit about 30 inches from the floor so there is an appropriate amount of room for your legs, and all computer monitors should be positioned at least 1824 inches away from the user. Then think in terms of clutter, which we know probably originates from a lack of sufficient storage and surface space. And even though sometimes minimal clutter may not be avoidable, with the right tools, the majority of it can. Use a bit of ingenuity and you will be surprised what you can come up with. If it seems like you may have to conduct some of your business dealings in the evening when the house is most active, consider buying a laptop and connect it to your primary computer through a wireless network and then if you require some privacy at least you could take your laptop to your room or somewhere else in the house where it is quiet for a while. Still thinking in terms of organization and recalling the importance of being functional, your computer system as a whole should be completely fundamental. In order for that to be the case, your computer needs to have a desktop with monitor, CPU and keyboard, or a laptop computer with mouse, speakers, and a printer. Further, you should also have the latest word processing software installed on your computer. The most popular program is Microsoft Office which can be purchased at officemax.com. This program is simple and user friendly. Either upgrading your printer or purchasing one that is also fundamental which means that it includes a photocopier and a fax machine will save space and time from running unnecessary errands. This is all part of being functional and maintaining organizational abilities. The fact is that with half of businesses being run from home offices many are tucking home offices into small spaces and having to share space with the rest of the family. This has become a way of life for many and people assumed that each business that was run from a home was a spacious separate office area which is not the case at all.
DEDICATED AREAS FOR HOME OFFICES
1 2 47% Have a dedicated office 3 53% Did not have a dedicated
47% Have a dedicated office area 53% Did not have a dedicated office space
You may have found this data a bit surprising especially what it means is that more than half of home businesses are not set of in a functional area and are basically just operating perhaps at the corner of a kitchen table. This simply can not be the case; first of all you
will make yourself crazy, especially when someone accidentally uses one of your important business papers to jot down a phone number on. Further, this is showing that you do not take your business seriously and as a result, no one else will take it seriously either. So, looking at the numbers above, it would be very safe to assume that many of you that are reading this are in that 53% and if you are, you can probably relate to what is being said here. It is time to make a change, get creative, and fast. Think basements, think armoires, and think whatever it takes to be organized and functional. The home office is the place where work style and lifestyle meet so whichever choices you make just ensure that it is practical, functional, and organized. Maybe now is the time to check out ethanallen.com and really put some time and thought into that computer armoire which is a great idea if you are organized enough you can fit an entire office inside of one armoire. At the end of the workday, close the doors and lock them until the next morning. Having an organized workplace can really reduce some of life’s stressors which especially working from your home office can come in the form of voice mail messages, emails, faxes, phone calls, and just projects in general. Less stress results in more productivity. It may seem that no matter how hard you try your desk becomes the landing spot for everything, resulting in piles and piles of paperwork. Earlier the subject of delegating came up and it was said that if it was something that you could not do or really did not want to do, then delegate it to someone else. If you really are not a do-ityourselfer then maybe you have a large enough budget to delegate this task out as well. Visit sallyallenorganizer.com where someone would be glad to assist your home office organizational needs. They can help you rid clutter before you move, assemble after you move, help you decide on a perfect location in your home for your home office by assessing your general needs, organize everything and determine ways for you to combat paper clutter, and set up your entire office. Nothing could be more perfect if it falls within your budget and you want to surrender the bragging rights to your new savvy home office. When running a home office you have to be especially concerned with image and how it is portrayed to your clients. If your business will ever require clients to come to you then you have to know that the first impression of your home and your home office is the one that is going to determine what they think about your business itself. An untidy desk, unrelated business clutter, an uncomfortable atmosphere, children and animals running in and out looks very unprofessional in the eyes of just about everyone. Is there ample parking outside of your home if you will be expecting clients and does your home office have a business look to it? These are all important factors in success which again goes right back to organization. Organization goes back way farther than you can even fathom. Are you organized to the point that you have every facet of even something as simple as the phone mastered? In other words, is there even a remote chance that the phone will ring as one of your children might answer it? Often children appear to sound rude on the phone when in fact it was really just disinterest once they discovered the call was not for them. Also, make sure that when the phone is answered that there is not loud music or TV’s blaring in the background. Another no, no is to state to the client on the phone that they should hold on while you check your calendar. These are all signs of a lack of organization and
you will lose credibility with your clients very quickly. It is your best interest to use a voice mail system and change the message daily with that days date which states that you are. Yes, you guessed it, organized. If you are unable to answer the call or the circumstances in your home display that you should not answer then send it to voicemail. It is much more organized and professional. Mention on your message what your hours of business are and stay within those guidelines. Many times people just think that if you work from home that it is acceptable to call anytime. Appear organized and look professional at all times, if you have credentials or diplomas, by all means display them professionally. Remember that your business image is defined by your accoutrements. Showing that you are functional, organized, and professional is what will pave the path for potential clients or current clients to know that you are worthy of their trust and their business. Details matter when it comes to your business image. Your customers will observe more than just you; they will also observe your surroundings and first impressions can be lasting.
SUCCESS STEMS FROM
Tips for Running an Organized Home Business When you Have Children Of course if you are planning on running a home business you likely will want it to be organized, professional, and ideally make everyone in your household happy. However, that is not always the case as you may feel guilt because you can not spend as much time with your kids or your kids might require more attention that you really realized and perhaps it is stressing you out because you are not able to keep deadlines and spend as much time working as you had hoped. One thing you should know is that by no means are you alone in this dilemma. With the big numbers of home based businesses and that number is expected to rise, many people have to deal with the same conflict. It might even make you wonder sometimes that when you were working at an office and the thought of working from home seemed so much easier, how wrong you actually may have been. Being successful and running an organized home based business can be extremely frustrating at times and may make you feel like you are running around in circles and
getting very little accomplished. The truth is that you actually can have both, you can have a successful business and a happy family all under the same roof, IF you set some guidelines that is very organized and functional. It is very important that you set a routine and stick with it, plus kids really do love routines because it gives them a sense of comfort. Explain to your kids that there are certain hours where you will be working and during those hours it is very important that you are not interrupted. In turn, set aside a routine that is just for your kids. It can be something very simple like breakfast together or a bedtime story at night but it is especially important that you keep your word no matter what because if you do not then it means that it is acceptable for routines to be broken. If your child or children are small, obviously they are home a lot and they are home when you are trying to work. This just simply will not work and because of that it has to go into the delegation section, remember the category when you can not or do not want to do something goes. So, it may be time to look into childcare or some other method of working this out. Maybe you can alternate times with your spouse or trade child care with other parents, but it is an area that will have to be addressed sooner or later. Every bit of organization that you have worked so hard for will be tossed aside if not. You might arrange for child care but if it is causing you to lose too much money then it may be better for you to eliminate the childcare and reduce your work hours. You should also make sure that your children are functional and organized as well since this home business directly affects them too. Make sure that they know how to properly answer the phone or the door and especially how to act when clients might stop by. A few home based business operators have suggested that it is a good idea to include your child into your home business by giving them even the tiniest task will make them feel important and they will look forward to spending the time with you and it will also teach them to have a greater respect for your home office. When it all comes together, and it will, count your blessings as they truly are plentiful. It can be rough at times to stay on schedule when you work from your home office but if you organize your home office and create the proper environment, you will find success. The days that you dreamed of sitting around dressed casually, sipping on a coffee with no time restraints and zipping through task after task while kicked back in your comfy home office. You may have felt that when you were at work you had too many distractions and it was too noisy and there were too many meetings. While you might notice a significant reduction in the amount of meetings that you are attending, it is likely that you will not see too much reduction in the distractions and the noise. One of your biggest sources of people who will work against you will be the ones that are the closest to you. They will be the ones who will have the hardest time accepting that you are working at home. There will be people who will stop by and who will call and although they mean no harm, it can be extremely frustrating. But, you can also be your own worst enemy too. You have to stay organized and stay focused. If you do not stay on task, you will find yourself in trouble. You can not stop working because you want to straighten up the house or to watch a soap opera or a sports show. Treat your home office job just as you would if you were at another location. Get Tivo, buy a VCR, or whatever it takes to be able to watch that program later, when you are not working. There are some extra things that you can do to organize your home office so that it works for you and not against you. Make sure that your home office is a separate entity
from the rest of the house. It does not matter where that spot is but it does have to be its very own place. There has to be some differentiation between home and work. Minimize all of your distractions. Keep a calendar handy at all times, a great idea which eliminates more paper clutter is to use the calendar on your computer. It will pop up and remind you as often as you would like to be reminded about pending tasks. Make a work schedule and stick with it but it has to be realistic or it will not work. Just remember to control your environment and not let it control you. Organized Filing Systems There is no way to place a value on a good filing system. It truly is a vital component in your communication system. When it comes to filing it seems like everyone has a system and if you have looked around places such as officemax.com, you will see that there are more options open than most people would care to count. There is a system for this and another for that, a color for this and a code for that. It’s crazy but remembering the old cliché, if it is not broken then do not fix it could almost come into play here. You do not want to fix the standard filing system, just modify it. Many questions will play havoc on your brain of which the simplest answers are present for. Should you file numerically or alphabetically, should you use hanging files or not, should you stick with manila or maybe go with colors, or straight tabs versus cut tabs. With all of those crazy questions that could give you a panic attack, why not try this: use 1/3 cut manila folders and label them with a simple lightweight labeler that you can purchase at cableorganizer.com. This system is simple but very organized and efficient. ABC, DEF, GHI, JKL, MMISCN, PQ, RST, UVW, XYZ. This gives you 27 files and in each section, of course, the subsections are alphabetized too. Do not let the whole sound of a filing system freak you out as it really is relatively easy. Take a few minutes, sit down at your desk with a cup of coffee or something and reach out for things that are not there. This may seem crazy but for example, where would be the first place that you would reach for your stapler? Even though it is not there, you now have a mental picture of where it should be and that place should its home. Establish that filing system in the same way but only change it if you prefer numbers rather than letters. You will have to determine your storage needs for filing though depending on the amount that you use and how often you access your files. Then you will be able to determine which type of filing cabinet that you need. Maybe it is a desktop filing tray, a two drawer filing cabinet near your desk, or a four drawer lateral filing cabinet across the room. Before you make your final decision compensate for future growth. Buy it to fit double the amount of files that you might currently have. Label, label, label, that word can not be emphasized enough. Not only do the files need to be labeled, they need to be labeled clearly. One good rule of thumb in the filing system is known as the KISS system which means Keep It Simple Sweetheart! Place your most current files in front, avoid paperclips and stick with staples. It can be a good idea to use colored folders for different categories which will make locating them much easier. In other words, use green for finances, blue for marketing, and so on. Go through your file cabinets every six months or at least once a year and move old files into a box that will be put aside for storage, unless they should be sent to the shredder. Your files can go from this to this, with a little effort
Many people hoped that with the computer advancements that a lot of paperwork would be eliminated but some paper just has to be present, there is no way around it. So the goal really can not be to eliminate paper but to reduce it as much as possible. Where does all of your paper come from, mail, files, financial paperwork, receipts, certificates, bills, medical information, and tax records. That pretty much about sums it up. So have a plan for the mail the very second that it enters the house, it either gets put in its perspective spot or it goes in the trash. To keep or not to keep, this is the question at hand.
Birth or Death Certificates Health Records
Mortgage Loan at least 3 years after paid off Passport
Warranty Receipts Stock/Bond Certificates Tax Records - for 7 years Will
ATM Records after posted for the month Bank/Credit Card Statements-after one year unless you itemize Receipts for Bills - after one month toss unless needed for warranty
Citizenship Papers Investment Statements keep monthly then discard after yearly one.
Insurance Policies-keep current year
Now that you have a better idea of what needs to be kept and what does not, you can proceed to exactly how it is that you are going to incorporate the “Keep” list into your filing cabinet. Actually, some of the paperwork in the “Keep” pile will not get filed but rather it will go into a fireproof safe. That is where birth & death certificates, deeds, stocks, and passports should go. The rest can get put in the filing system that you have spent so much time working on. Running your own home office can be a challenge but once you get the swing of things you will be at the top of your game. There are a lot of things that people really do not think of when they think in terms of home offices. Now that the big stuff is pretty much under control as you have found the perfect location for your home office, filled it
with the furniture of your liking, set up a stellar filing system, and got a bit of order on the household it is time to think in terms of white boards and easels, custom printing, envelopes and forms, mailroom and shipping supplies, and batteries and power surge protectors. This stuff might not seem like too much fun but since you have your own business, you have to deal with it so you should take some tips on how to make it as easy as possible. There are some very trendy white boards available today. The old and bulky whiteboards, although still available, have moved to the back for the modern and savvy ones to move to the forefront. These are a good idea, if they look professional enough, to hang on your wall and use as your to-do-list. They work great because they can be erased easily since life is full of changes. There are even calendar white boards which ensure that you will never miss an appointment again. Check out staples.com where the assortments are endless. Enough said about that and now it is time to turn all attention on to printing, envelopes, and forms. Most businesses will have the need for some type of organized and very professional looking business forms, letterheads, envelopes, or invoices. Remember how important it is to look professional in order to have people take you seriously, that applies here as well. Again, staples.com can advise you on one of their great templates and custom make all of your paperwork for a very modest cost. This way whenever you are in need of a form you know that you were organized and have everything you need right at your fingertips. Keep in mind that these forms take at least a few days to process so do not cut yourself short on time when you start to run low. As a matter of fact, it is often a good idea to stick a post it note between your custom paperwork and the last 25 so that when you hit the last 25 forms or invoices there is a cheerful little reminder that it is time to order again. Part of being organized is making certain that everything is done on time. If your home business is one that requires shipments to come into your home or items to be shipped out, it really is crucial to your business to make sure that this is done in a timely manner. Customers do not take lightly to having to wait to long for their items nor is it in your best interest to receive a load of stock and procrastinate on putting it away. Not only should your stock be put away but it should also be marked in as inventory. In other words, you should have a monthly inventory sheet and count all stock at least once a month depending on your product turnover. There should be a steady number of items in stock at all times, so if you count it then you will have an exact count of what needs to be either reordered, made or produced. Many attempt to keep track of this on the computer which is very possible but nothing is more accurate than a good old fashioned manual count as it is always possible that you may have forgotten to enter a particular figure at one point. Now if your stock is extremely large then this may have to be reconsidered but it is very important to have an exact count on your incoming and outgoing merchandise at all times because those hidden numbers really do mean something. It is also important that you have the entire shipping process organized completely. Again, this is what your business is all about. Incoming shipments will arrive at the discretion of your vendor but outgoing shipments are up to you. Depending on the size, the turnover, the frequency, and whether you ship internationally or not will help you decide which shipping methods to use. Gone are the days of hauling all of your packages to the post office and waiting in a long line with packages falling out of your arms. Set up
an account with ups.com, Fedex.com, or the usps.com and for a small fee they will come right to your doorstep and pick up all of your outgoing packages. That is a very good way to display your organizational skills with regular pickups you will have a constant and steady flow of turnover. There is one thing that could be detrimental to any home business and that is the loss of power. There are plenty of electrical disturbances quite often for various reasons but because you are so organized, you are going to be a step ahead of the game. When any electrical problem arises it poses a danger to all programmable appliances, including telephones and computers. So not only is there a chance that without the proper protection, which also reflects your organizational abilities, you could literally fry your computer. This is where it is critical that everything that was of any importance on your computer is backed up. Assume that there is a storm that results in a blackout, which is highly possible and actually happens across the nation quite frequently, a blackout can affect your computer and the information stored on it in the following ways, the sudden loss of power can crash your system and erase all data, and when the power is restored it can result in a momentary power surge. There is also the possibility of brownouts which also happen even more frequently than the blackouts. Brownouts can affect your computer by damaging the hardware; crash your system, data loss, and performance problems. ` So it is clearly evident that a surge protector is necessary but being even one more step ahead is the reason that you might want to also consider a battery backup device that is referred to an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). This wonderful device kicks in when there is a blackout and gives a user anywhere from ten minutes to one hours of additional power to save important file and data and properly shut the computer down. The UPS systems can range in price a lot depending on what you are looking for and how long after power ceases that you would like to be able to function. They start as low as under $50 and climb in price from there. The one for $50 gives you about 10 minutes of extra time and they can go up to over 100 minutes. Check them out at staples.com as there is a wide variety to choose from. This is a very important step in being organized by thinking ahead and constantly planning for the future. You could compare buying a UPS to buying an insurance policy for your computer because if there is a blackout and your computer system crashes, it is no longer covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Have you considered lighting and ventilation for your home office yet, because that too is pretty important? Working in a poorly lit room is nothing less than annoying and it causes headaches and can damage your eyes. Of course this is all depending on which room you have chosen for your home office and the lighting that is already in place, if there is any. If not then again go to staples.com and see what might work best for your home office as there are a very large number of lighting options available for you to choose from. Ventilation is one thing that people very commonly overlook when planning a home office. The truth is that not only do you need proper ventilation but so does your equipment for longevity. First, heat generates from just using your equipment and if your office is not properly ventilated then you will be uncomfortable as well. This is especially true with small spaces and former bedrooms. If you find that the room is not adequately ventilated and you are experiencing some discomfort use a window air conditioner, a window fan, or maybe a ceiling fan will work.
Affordable Decorating and Organizing Ideas on a Shoestring Budget The real way to save money on pretty much anything is to do-it-yourself and there are ample tutorials available online and in many magazines but it is likely that either you are not very crafty or with trying to juggle the home business and the family, you probably have no time or interest in doing anything that you do not have to do yourself. But when working on a shoestring budget, there are times that you are not able to delegate something that you can not or will not do. You do have to add a bit of décor at least, for a few different reasons; the comfort and feel of your surroundings, and the right décor can really be soothing. And you will not feel like you are trapped inside of a bare box. The other reason is the image that your office portrays especially if clients are going to visit. For starters check out the hgtv.com website and you will get some really inexpensive and great decorating ideas. From painting the room yourself with a favorite color to building your own desk are all options that you should consider if you are at all crafty and are working on next to nothing for cash. Do not be afraid to shop at flea markets or garage sales, you have nothing to lose and you never know what you might wind up with. Maybe you do not want to buy used, some people just do not like to, and that’s alright, think naked furniture then. It’s much more affordable and all you have to do is paint it or stain it yourself. Look at some of the deals at nakedfurniture.com. If you do not have a problem with used items then pass the word around to friends and family and let them know that you are looking for some stuff to accent your new home office. You definitely do not want to load the room up with décor so that it looks cluttered again and then you have lost your savvy organizational skills. But a few can really make a difference and make sure they reflect you and the company that bring forth. Find the focal point of the room and if it does not have one then you are going to have to create one. It is the thing that will stand out in the room once you enter. If the room has a natural focal point which could be a wide open window with a nice view or a fireplace, then you are all set but if not then you have to create one and that is not a problem. You can use an oriental rug, an armoire, or anything else that you may feel will draw the eye. There are other things that will catch the eye in a home office. If you have the space then stack vertically, you will be surprised at the focal points that you can create. Rather than stack a lot of stuff at eye level, you can create a wall that not only doubles as storage but looks modern and totally organized too. Bhg.com has some great ideas that cost next to nothing.
By: bhg.com Buying just a few white shelves that are very inexpensive and a few glass containers that can be purchased at almost any dollar store and a few other miscellaneous items you could have a trendy, organized, and sophisticated home office in no time. Notice how the entire wall is decorated but at the same time it is also used for storage and it takes up virtually no extra room because it is out of the way. Working From Home Office Offers Attractive Tax Advantages There are probably more than a few reasons why you may have decided to pursue your business from a home office. Tops on the list could be the commute as well as the mind-boggling gas prices but there are other reasons too. You wanted some personal freedom; you wanted to reap some financial benefits, to exploit tax advantages, to be with your family more, to reduce stress, job enrichment, to increase productivity, and the competitive advantages. These are all great and often personal reasons. One of the financial benefits of working from home is the tax advantages. However, they are never cut and dry as there are rules upon rules about incorporating in on the fullest advantages of tax benefits. You must be extremely organized when it comes to the tax issues or you will find yourself completely lost. This is another job that you may have to just delegate. If you can not do it or will not do it, delegate it, this particular one especially. If you are not up on taxes and all of the new breaks that come around and with home businesses it can be very frustrating, find someone who knows what they are doing. Do not just grab the lady down the street because she is cheap as this is an area that you can not cut corners. Hire a specialist so they can advise you properly.
THESE ARE 5 KEY TAX BREAK AREAS FOR HOME BUSINESSES
INFRASTRUCTURE: UTILITIES, PHONE SERVICE, HOUSEKEEPING, LANDSCAPE, ETC. HOME MORTGAGE INTEREST & PROPERTY TAX. TRAVEL EXPENSES ONE TIME OFFICE EQUIPMENT PURCHASES
Sole proprietors with children under 18 who work for them can deduct their children's "wages."
To increase your odds of success you have to keep your personal life and your business life separate. Do not let any bank accounts or credit cards mingle because you will lose
out in the long run. Utilizing the infrastructure tax break can not be used by renters or homeowners but if you work from your home, you can. To calculate these indirect expenses you have to determine how much of your home is used for this home office. If your home is 3000 square feet and you are using 300 square feet for your office then you could use a 10% deduction. The second tax break is standard for US taxpayers anyways but when running a home business you can save even more by applying a percentage of mortgage interest and property taxes to the home office section of your tax forms because there are no caps on the home office portion as there are on the mortgage interest and property tax sections. Calculating travel expenses can be confusing because if you drive to your job each day, you can not claim any portion of that on your taxes whatsoever but ironically enough if you work from home, you can claim any of your travel that is away from home as long as it is related to your business in some way. There is a standard deduction for every mile that you travel which is how, this once again, relates to being organized. You will have to keep track of all of your mileage and gas receipts. You can also claim your oil changes, car repairs and any other car related expenses. But again, it is stressed, give an organized record of everything in case the auditors show up. There is a particular section on the tax forms that allow you to take a one time tax deduction of up to $105,000 for the purchase of office equipment as long as you do not exceed $400,000 in one calendar year. Married sole proprietors have extended tax cuts as well and there are not too many circumstances when it is not beneficial to file jointly with your spouse. Finally, if you have your own business and you have a child under the age of 18 years old that works for you, you can deduct your wages on their tax forms. Of all of these deductions, the one that will benefit you the most is the home office deduction. It allows you to write off the costs of operating and maintaining the part of your home that you use for your business. If you use a portion of your home that is regularly and exclusively used for business you may be able to write off a portion of your rent or mortgage, utilities, and even part of your security system. However, if you are an accountant and you sometimes bring forms home and fill them out in the living room but you also use the living room for other uses, then you can not use the home deduction in that case. In addition to that tax break you can also write off the normal costs of doing business. This could include things such as office supplies, computers, retirement plans, business travel, and auto expenses. It can not be stressed enough that all of this information must be kept together and must be extremely organized in case you are called on for an audit. The IRS will look very stringently at your records. Because of the recent upsurge in home based businesses, there has been particular attention paid to the gray areas of business deductions. If you are called on for audit, you must be able to explain each and every deduction. You need to save the actual bills so if audited, you are able to show the portion that you used as a write off. Also, for every deduction you will want to maintain a paper trail with receipts that list the date, the name of the person or business, the amount paid and the category of the related expense. Most business owners are well aware of the fact that they only have to pay taxes on their net business profit. In other words, you pay only on what is left after all of your
deductions are taken out. So if you know how to take advantage of your deductible business expenses you can really lower your taxable profits. Within reason there are legal ways to incorporate some luxuries as expenses such as a luxury car that you buy or a vacation as long as a level of business is conducted on that trip. Some additional expenses that can be used are employee wages and some benefits, interest on business loans, marketing and advertising, employee training, your own education if it enhances your skills, legal and professional fees, and office repairs. Your meal, travel, and entertainment expenses can also be deducted if they are business related. When tax time comes, and it always does, believe it or not, it can go very smooth if you have been organized throughout the year. If you have just stuffed everything into a big crate or a folder then you are going to have a heck of a time ahead of you. This is all part of your responsibility of being a business owner, to maintain organization at all costs. If you do not, you might find yourself in trouble down the road with the IRS. Plus, your accountant or whoever does your taxes is going to need all of this information in order to do your taxes. This should not be a two week process for you to gather together all of your receipts and documents because you were not organized throughout the year. Below is a list of everything that you might be able to use as a tax deduction at tax time. What you need to do is sort through everything and keep accurate files. There are a few ways that you can actually keep track of everything, one is the computer, and if you feel comfortable enough with your computer skills you can keep track in a spreadsheet system such as MS Works or MS Office with programs like Excel or Access. You can enter all of your expenses and be completely organized and still of course organizing and saving your paper records such as original credit card and bank statements. The benefit of using these computer programs is that they keep a running tally so you do not have to go back and add everything up; it is all done for you.
ADVERTISING ENVIRONMENTAL CLEANUP COSTS MOVING MACHINERY
REPAYMENTS OF INCOME
Subscriptions to trade or professional publications
Donations to business
Interview expense allowances
Penalties you pay for late performance
Supplies and materials
Licenses and regulatory fees
Repairs that keep your property in normal operating condition
If you do not know how to use these programs correctly, you might find yourself in more trouble than if you never used them in the first place so again maybe you can delegate this and have someone at least come and show you how to set everything up and enter the correct information. If you are not computer savvy then you may prefer to use the standard filing method which will still require your expert organizational skills. Also, if you did choose to use the computer system, you will still have some manual paper filing to contend with. Just remember that if you stay organized, you will do just fine. However, lack of organization will leave you in shambles at tax time. Tax records should be their own separate entity, meaning if you choose to use hanging files to keep them in order then get a specific box or filing cabinet just for them so there are no accidental errors where an important forms ends up in a file with someone else’s estimate. You may also decide to use an expandable wallet folder system. These are great and allow you to file by the month. There are many assortments to select from at officedepot.com. You will also want to get a nice and easily workable ledger. This is where you will records such things as expenses, income, and mileage. Using a ledger system will make things a lot easier at tax time too as you will not have to sit down and pull out each and every receipt and add them all up. When using the ledger system just make a file for each category and label them accordingly. Keep all of these records until at the very least the following tax season and then you will be able to clear them away and put them in a storage box where they will sit for a few years. Make sure that you label the box something like “2007 business tax forms.” Finally, wherever it is that you decide to store them, make sure that it is somewhere where there is no potential for damage such as a basement which could flood or where a washing machine could overflow. Keep them safe, clean, and dry. One thing that you can not avoid is Uncle Sam and in an attempt to be the most organized you that there can be, you are going to have to set some money aside so that you will be able to pay your taxes and if you check out the irs.org website, you will find handy calculators that might be able to assist you in making certain determinations about how much you might need to stash and which forms that your particular business may need. At the last minute many business owners find themselves sifting through all of the laws and rule books attempting to salvage any tax break that they can get. The problem with that is most often by then it is too late to save anything as these are things that have to be worked on all year long. The basic tips that will save you some money on your year end taxes are indicated in the box below. 1. Keep all of your business related receipts and make sure that you label them so that you know what they are for. 2. Do not just take the standard deductions as there may be several that you are overlooking that you might be entitled to. 3. Take all applicable tax credits including the ones for every child under the age of 17, claiming a Lifetime Learning Credit, and also if you adopt a child. 4. Sometimes it is in your best interest to take a loss. In other words, if you have has a very successful year with any investments and your capital gains appear to be significant, you may want to offset some of those gains by selling a losing venture. 5. Look at some tax free investments. The returns are not very high but they are safe and tax friendly investments. Examine government or municipal
bonds which work very well for a person with a rather high income. Remember that charitable donations, if you have a receipt, can certainly help with the tax bite at the end of the year. Consider gifts. Under the IRA guidelines, you can give away, tax free, up to $12,000 to each person of your choice. This option is more for those who would be giving away say money now to family rather than keep it as part of their estate. Max out your IRA or other retirement plan contributions but this can be a bit risky because by doing so you are assuming that your personal income will be lower, which is not always the case. If you have children that are over 14 years old, put them on the payroll by having them do some work for you? It’s taxed at a lower rate.
Feng Shui Your Office Most will find themselves wondering exactly what it means to Feng Shui your office and that is perfectly understandable. To begin with, it is important that you understand that Feng Shui is the connection of person and place. The whole concept is kind of deep but it truly does make sense. Feng Shui is creating an environment that supports your goals, your wishes, and your desires. By adding or removing items from your space, which in this case will be your office, you create better health, wealth, and relationships. You will be creating areas to support your ying and yang activities in your office. This is done by bringing in chi energy which will result in invoking all of your senses, smell, sight, touch, and hearing. It does not matter if you are located at a brick & mortar office, a tiny cubicle off in the corner, or a home office, today many people are swearing by Feng Shui as a way of life and the answer to all of their prayers when it comes to keeping a very organized and healthy business and lifestyle. It is also claimed that when one fully utilizes Feng Shui in their office they will better relationships with themselves, their co workers, and their clients. They will also have improved health with less stress and depression, and they will lose the feeling of being constantly overwhelmed. They will have more empowerment and abundance and prosperity and wealth. Perhaps you will have a much deeper respect and understanding of Feng Shui if you know what it is all about and where it originated from. It is a classical Chinese system that has a number of components involved. The concept is to understand and make sense of the universe and all that is within it. It is said that in order to truly understand the meaning of Feng Shui, one must completely empty their mind of any preconceptions and assumptions. Chi is referred to as the energy that flows around the universe and emerges from living things. The presence of Chi is a sign of health and the Chinese have discovered many ways to adjust Chi on a personal level such as Tai Chi, acupuncture, and Chinese medicine. Feng Shui acknowledges that the Chi of any person is vulnerable and impressionable by the Chi resident within the environment. Feng Shui looks to balance it, promote vibrant personal Chi, and safeguard it. Another factor that you need to factor in or consider is Yin and Yang which for people from the Western side of the world, including the Americas; it symbolizes the concept of duality. Duality meaning where there is light there has to be dark in order for
people to even realize that there was light. The Chinese divide everything into Yin and Yang, Yin being the female particle and Yang being the male. Now you were warned that the entire of Feng Shui is very deep and spiritual. However, in the end it will all come together. Yin and Yang are both equal but each contain a bit of the other as well In other words, Yin and Yang are equal, opposite and interdependent. It would be comparable to saying that in every good there is a bit of evil and in every evil there is a bit of good. There has to be two ends to each and every spectrum for the human mind to be able to interpret what a thing actually is. In the Yin Yang symbol which is depicted below, Yin forms the white half and Yang forms the black. When Yang reaches its peak, Yin is born and vice versa.
The Yin Yang represents that when something reaches its peak, decline has to set in and that is how everything in our universe functions. Feng Shui indicates that Yin compliments Yang and Yang compliments Yin. Below are some everyday relationships of Feng Shui:
Potential Electricity Up Out Hot Dry Light Sun Spring & Summer Wood & Fire Male Space Light Colors Activity Bright Positive Life
Manifestation Magnetism Down In Cold Wet Dark Moon Autumn & Winter Earth & Metal Female Time Dark Colors Passive & Resting Dull Negative Death
There are five elements that the Chinese traditional thought, water, Earth, metal, wood and fire. These five elements interact with each other in very logical ways: water feeds the plants that produce the wood; wood can create fire which ends with ash which is contributed to the Earth and from the Earth comes metal which in turn can help to collect water and the circle of life continues. This is called the circle of birth. On the contrary, water can also put out a fire, fire melts metal, metal axes cut down wood, hence killing it, the wood tree roots hold down the Earth and Earth absorbs the water. This is called the cycle of destruction. Now back to Feng Shui and understanding exactly how it works and why all of this could be remotely connected with your office. Here is the logic of Feng Shui based on three principal causes within your environment: • Energy or Chi- the Chinese says that without Chi there is nothing but death. It is absolutely essential to have the right balance and flow of Chi around your home or office. • Magnetic Energy- when a house or office is built, it has a magnetic field. Humans also have a magnetic field. There is a possibility that these two magnetic fields may attract or repulse one and other and are the essentials of whether there will be harmony within. • Land Spirits- there are unseen energies that can also exert a major influence over one. These are the basics of Feng Shui although they are much more complex. The factors mentioned above are the most important. By now you should have an idea of the logic and density of this thought process and now the attempt can be made on incorporating it into organizing your home office. According to Feng Shui, there are some simple starters for creating the Feng Shui office. A basic do and do not list, to keep it simple.
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Do’s DO sit in the corner that is the farthest away from the entrance to the room so you are in a command position. DO keep your back toward a corner or wall for support. If a post protrudes from the corner or the wall, cover it with a hanging plant or some green foliage. DO sit with a tall building behind you to provide the support of a mountain if your back is to the window. DO put your computer in the West or North area of your office to enhance your creativity. Place it in the Southeast corner if you use your computer to generate an income. DO place an aquarium or tabletop fountain in the East, North or Southeast. A small aquarium with black or blue fish in the North area of your desk will activate your business and career success. DO place a safe which is usually made of metal, in either the West or Northwest, which represents the metal element and the safe symbolizes the prosperity and financial security of a business. DO have a good balance of Yin and Yang when decorating your workspace. Balance light and dark colors, soft and hard surfaces, and smooth and rough textures when choosing furniture, window coverings, and flooring.
DO treat your files with respect as they represent you past, present, and future success. DO keep the cords in your office well hidden and eliminate clutter which allows for the free flow of chi. Don’ts
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DON’T sit in line with the door as you will be in the path of negative energy. DON’T face away from the door if you are conducting business from your home office. Business will symbolically come to you so do not turn your back on it. DON’T arrange your workspace so that you look straight out into a corridor or a set of stairs, storage rooms, closets, escalators, elevators, or toilets. DON’T have any mirrors in your office because they can reflect negative energy from clients to other people in the room
You are the only one who can maintain the level of energy that flows through your office. The Chinese principles of Feng Shui stress how very important it is to make sure that the flow of energy does not cause any disturbances. This is critical for having a clear mind and good fortune in your business. Of course, the ideal home office or any office in particular is going to be either square or rectangular is shape, with at least one window for natural lighting, a solid door that is able to close and a good position for your desk. Now, if your room is not in a traditional square or rectangle shape then you will have to make some adjustments if the conditions are less than ideal. If the room has an irregular shape to it then you will have to use a faceted crystal sphere, a mirror, or a large plant to correct the shape of the room. If you have found it impossible to correct the shape of the room with these techniques then you will have to go this route, the special nine green plant cures. With this you simply add nine new and healthy plants on the very same day and they do all have to be brand new. Place them as close to the irregularities in the room as possible, otherwise just place them where they fit best. Many offices contain features that break up the room’s positive flow of energy; these barriers could include columns, pillars, soffit, duct work, or projected areas. These barriers are like shooting poison arrows at you while you are attempting to work and they must be dealt with by placing a plant or something in front of them. If your office contains any glass walls, you must cover them with blinds or something for protection. If you are placed in a position where you are unable to add blinds or other window coverings then you have no other choice but to hang a glass sphere from the ceiling with many 9 inch ribbons hanging from it. This will eliminate the negative energy from your feeling vulnerable. Feng Shui is the arrangement of your environment to enhance your life. One of two things is happening every second of every day within your environment; it is either draining you or supporting you. Feng Shui teaches you how to join forces with your environment and make living your best life effortless. The flow of energy in your office determines the overall quality of your life and its outcome. If you balance the energy in your environment, your own energy will be in harmony. Your environment indirectly determines the types of relationships, finances, career opportunities, etc that you attract. Because so much time is spent in your office, the environment greatly influences your life in general.
There is still a lot more to Feng Shui and the power that it has in your overall life and well being because the balance has to be perfect and the negatives forces have to be removed and replaced with only positive. Although this procedure can be complex, and some might even believe it to be a bit wacky, it will change your life and the prosperity of your business. Below are some additional tips from the Feng Shui experts that can erase bad karma and really make a difference in your home based business.
Get rid of the clutter in your office immediately. Clutter, you know that stuff that makes your office look unorganized and a complete disaster? If you create space for new things your energy and creativity will increase. Feng Shui experts claim that clutter is emotional constipation. Your desk must be placed in a position of power. Ideally, you want to face the door of your office and if this can not be done for some reason then you will have to buy a mirror, even if it is a little clip on the side of your computer desk, which you can find at officemax.com for under five bucks, so that you always have a view of the door. Everything at your desk needs to allow you to have comfort at all times. This could be one or a combination of things such as a glare screen so you do not get headaches, a good chair so you are comfortable, a comfortable keyboard and mouse. Discomfort drains energy. Keep clutter off of your computer. This means dumping the trash on your computer and keeping it free of anything unnecessary. Delete shortcuts that are not used from your desktop and delete programs that you never use. Enhance your prosperity corner. As you enter the door of your office, the far left hand corner is your prosperity corner and if it full of clutter, you are in big trouble. What needs to be in that corner is something that combines colors of prosperity, blues, purples and reds. Use anything in those shades that has some value for prosperity and growth in your business. When you look up from your desk, what is the view? This is very important as it has to be something that uplifts and nourishes your creativity. Energy can not stay fresh in a dirty room with murky windows. You have got to keep the room organized and clean. You have to buy a nice plant and put it in your office because it will absorb any toxins in the air. So you do not have conflicting energies, your workspace has to be separate from your other rooms. In other words, do not combine your bedroom with your office. If anything in your office is broken, it has to be fixed or thrown away. If it does not work then it blocks the flow of energy. This includes light bulbs, clocks, and doors.
The whole idea here is to create an office that is pure serenity and wealth. The approach is simple and practical. The main objective is to rid your office of any clutter so there is a free flow of positive chi. Clutter both causes and results in stale, stuck energy. It blocks the smooth flow of chi which drains your energy and keeps you in the past therefore you can not move into a much more healthy and prosperous life. Clutter blocks
everything that is good which hinders you from meeting new people, difficulties making changes, and welcoming new opportunities. These are three very important factors to consider when you are running your own business. For obvious reasons you do not want to put any forces into effect that will stop you from meeting new people as then your business will never prosper and thrive. Having a difficult time making changes will certainly not allow your business to advance and if you can not welcome new opportunities then you may as well close up shop now because you can not succeed under those conditions. According to Feng Shui beliefs, dirt and dust are forms of clutter because they also clog the flow of positive chi. Believe it or not, if you have a dirty house it is affecting the entire chi of your home resulting in nothing more than negative energy flowing through your home office and your life. By now you should be starting to get an idea of how it exactly is that Feng Shui can not only improve the overall you but give you a much more advantageous life as well. There is still a lot more to cover so that you can get the full feel of how this will affect you while also ensuring that you maintain full organization at the same time. Staying organized will become just a way of life for you rather than a daily challenge. You have so far been at least a bit enlightened on exactly what the Chinese belief of Feng Shui is and the basics of its relationship with clutter and which spots are the best locations for your office furniture and such to ensure that you never block any positive flows of chi but in retrospect, also are equipped to block any negative chi. While that information is enough to get you started it is not enough information to make you believe what is being told to you by the very wise ancient Chinese people. Feng Shui is not something that you do half way and then if it does not work in a couple of weeks, you just disregard it. Remember, at the beginning of this chapter, you were asked to read about Feng Shui and were advised to empty your mind of any preconceptions and assumptions. That is still the case right now as you are still learning about the power of this technique. You have by now, chosen your office location and taken into consideration the placement of your furniture, fended off anything that might get in the way. You now understand at least the basic concepts of Yin and Yang and you know what chi is. Now read on for a bit more detail and understanding of Feng Shui. Most people, who have ever heard of Feng Shui, at best relate it to harmonious decorating and unless they practice the Chinese philosophy know nothing more than that. Most do not know the meaning of it or have the knowledge to implement it. One of the most important keys of Feng Shui understands Feng Shui Ba-Gua. Ba-Gua is simply a map on how to break up living space into nine different categories. Each one of those nine categories is associated with a very important piece of life and harmony. If you were to see a map of this nature, it would be octagon shaped and have a Yin Yang in the direct center of it. However, when the use of Ba-Gua is affiliated with a home then its intentions are represented in a square. Positive chi has to be applied to every aspect of your life, you can not assume that you can use Feng Shui in your home office but not apply the philosophy in any other aspect of your life. It just can not work. It was mentioned that there are nine different categories of Ba-Gua but there are also colors associated with these categories and all of these characteristics have to be incorporated into one and other for a rewarding existence. The nine different categories will be mentioned below and broken down for further clarifications.
CAREER TRAVEL HELPFUL PEOPLE
INTELLIGENCE & SKILLS CHILDREN & CREATIVITY HEALTH & WELL BEING
FAMILY, ROMANCE & RELATIONSHIPS PROSPERITY FAME & REPUTATION
The Feng Shui Ba-Gua map is used to direct positive energy into all of the nine categories within your home and office. When the colors are added in the right balance then you will experience the balance and harmonious Feng Shui home office. If all of the areas are covered properly then the positive energies created are the keys to living a life full of awareness, success, and prosperity. However to make this all happen successfully, you will have to know which colors and elements correspond with the nine different aspects of life.
CAREER TRAVEL HELPFUL PEOPLE INTELLIGENCE & SKILLS CHILDREN & CREATIVITY HEALTH & WELL BEING ROMANCE, AND RELATIONSHIPS PROSPERITY FAME & REPUTATION FAMILY
BLUE & WHITE BLACK & WHITE BLACK & WHITE BLACK & GREEN YELLOW ORANGE, BROWN & YELLOW PINK RED RED BLACK, BLUE & GREEN
METAL METAL METAL & WATER EARTH METAL EARTH & FIRE EARTH & FIRE WOOD & FIRE WOOD & FIRE WATER
Now you might be wondering what all of this really means and this part is fairly simple. Look for the areas in your personal life and your business life that you would like to improve on and it is more than likely that there will be more than one or two and then focus on redirecting the décor and aura of those rooms with those colors and elements. For example, if you are attempting to maintain some harmony within your home that could have been out of line due to your home business then because this would fall under families, the colors are blue, green, and black and the elements is water. So to get an idea of what could be done to incorporate those colors with the element is to add a small fountain or even a fish aquarium in which those colors are present.
Now examine the Feng Shui compass which also is relevant to this whole philosophy. The Feng Shui compass is also called Lo-Pan and it is used to determine a lot of necessary information. An example of why Lo-Pan can be used is if you were attempting to determine which spot to place your home office in, the Lo-Pan can help you determine that. A location would also be dependent on not just where but also who is using that location. In other words, a particular location might be good for you to use as a home office but it may not be so good for someone else to use. Another factor is which one of the five elements that you learned about earlier is or will be present. The compass consists of bands of concentric rings arranged around the magnetic needle and it can have over forty rings of information. “Lo” means “Everything” and “Pan” means “Bowl.” Chinese philosophers believe that that is interpreted as a container of the mysteries of the universe. The square core of the compass is red which symbolizes auspiciousness in the Chinese culture. Red is a strong protective color. The compass is able to determine many things and one example might be that the compass reading can tell you that you should not put metal near your entranceway of your home or office because it can weaken the energy surrounding it. Now you can purchase a Feng Shui compass by visiting thecompassstore.com. Then of course, you will need to know some basics on how to use it. The first thing that you should know is that you will go inside your office and look out and it is also very important that you conduct more than one reading of the compass in case there are any interference of electromagnetic fields. Any metal near the spot of the reading or metal worn on your body can cause an imbalance. The mouth of chi is the formal entrance of your home office and when your home office has good Feng Shui, your mood, your attitude, your energy, your concentration, and productivity will all greatly improve. Whether you are starting a new home office or working on an old one it does not matter. If you want to Feng Shui your office you will first have to identify the advantages and drawbacks of the choice location so that you are aware of what to fix and what should be left as it is. Find and correct any harmful influences so that they can be eliminated, they are absolutely no good to you. You have to remove clutter and any obstacles that hinder the flow of positive energy. Arrange your office furniture to encourage a good flow of ideas and opportunities. A disorganized home office means that you are working in an area that is full of inauspicious energy. So assuming that you work from your home office or about ready to, your success and productivity depends on your environment, you have to be in a place that you like and feel comfortable in. If you have ever worked in a brick & mortar office job before you were probably stuck in a drab and dreary office setting and there was not much that you could do about it at all. Did you ever really accomplish what could have been your fullest potential, probably not and what’s worse is, you probably never had any fun at all. One of the perks of having a home office is the ability to design your own office to your liking and level of comfort. Adding Feng Shui to your office or your entire home for that matter can ensure that you are productive and successful during the day while you are working as long as you have been able to eliminate the forces that will surely work against you. For example, many of today’s home offices are run from a spare bedroom which is not as bad if you have a pull out bed that can be put away until needed but if you have a standard bed in the room that you are using for your home office, it simply has to go. If you work across from a bed all day long there will be a conflict of energy.
At night all of the energy needs to be largely passive, inwardly focused or yin in order for you to recharge your batteries and be refreshed for the next day. But yang, which is active energy, needs to be present in a home office in order for you to achieve the success that you are looking for. This results in a conflict of interest so in order to avoid that you would have to turn off all of your office equipment each night and cover your desk with some sort of fabric so that you will have undisturbed sleep without possessing over your work. Feng Shui philosophy is that first, space clearing must be done, which is an ancient and profound way of removing negative energy fields, entities, sadness, echoes of difficult, tragic or violent energies in a home or work space. People who practice Feng Shui believe that the energy of the prior owner or giver of this office space gets passed on to the person, which includes all auspicious energies too. Negative energies can come from so many different places: illness, death, and violence, setbacks of any type, divorce, or domestic violence. This is the reason that Feng Shui teaches that one should always know the history of the home or the apartment before they move in. Applying Feng Shui creates environments that are aligned with the supportive forces that exist in nature. Feng Shui translates to Wind-water because winds moves and water both moves and retains. Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese philosophy that teaches man how to create harmony between the natural environment and man made structures. Feng Shui practitioners will tell you that Feng Shui is making the environment more supportive for you. Now, examine what is known as the Eight House Chart. Based on your year of birth, this chart exposes a basic and useful way to determine your four good and four bad directions, equaling eight, hence, eight house chart. These are the directions that determine which sectors best suit you. The Eight House Theory gives your own personal direction and suitability for a general main door direction for a particular house. Bagua is part of this whole concept and relates to space. It is necessary to map out the position of these energies of the heavenly sequences. The later heaven sequence refers to the transformational quality of reality and describes changes in time. It refers to the world of ordinary existence such as home, work, and human existence. This information will coincide with the chart below to give you a better understanding of what is being related to.
The eight directions of the later heaven Bagua are: 1. North-trigram water-element water. 2. South-trigram fire-element fire. 3. East-trigram thunder-element wood 4. West-trigram lake-element metal 5. Northwest-trigram heaven-element metal. 6. Northeast-trigram mountain-element earth. 7. Southwest-trigram earth-element earth 8. Southeast-trigram wind-element wood.
Your Eight House Chart
The Flying Star Theory of Feng Shui is an extension of the Eight Types of Houses Theory. The Eight House Theory is commonly known as the best direction which is used to find a suitable house or location for a person and how to sit facing one’s four good directions in the home office. The Flying Star Theory of Feng Shui looks more at the age of a house or the period that it comes from. An expert would have to determine this and he would basically be looking for two stars, a mountain star and a water star and the relationship of a base number. The advantages of the Flying Star Theory are that it can find the prosperity of the home, very auspicious and inauspicious sectors, which would
include fading prosperity and areas of sickness. The trick is to look for good combinations of numbers that match and when this occurs, this could be a very good house in terms of the Feng Shui philosophy. The Flying Star Theory of Feng Shui has taken the Eight House Theory and broken it down even further. It divides the eight sections in the Trigram into three sections, resulting in 24 directions, which in Chinese philosophy refers to the 24 mountains. Each direction occupies 15 degrees in the compass and the houses are categorized on their sitting and facing. Under The Flying Star Theory of Feng Shui, time is always divided into three sections, upper, middle, and lower. Each represent 60 years and each are further broken down into three ages of 20 which equal the 60 year periods. This is then referred to as the three periods and nine ages. Each age has a ruling star or trigram that is expressed by numbers. The nine ages correspond with the nine numbers of the original Lo Shu diagram. The Lo Shu diagram is what represents the whole basic school of Feng Shui. The numbers 1-9 are arranged around a table or grid in such a way that any three numbers added in any direction equals 15. The numbers move or fly around the grid in a sequence that is already determined which sets the flight path for the way that all numerals should fly. On the grid, every number and location represents an element. Below is an example:
S 4 Wood E 3 Wood 8 Earth 9 Fire 5 Earth 1 Water N This was a whole lot of information about Feng Shui to absorb but it is important that if you plan to incorporate Feng Shui into your home office that you understand that you can not just decide one day that this is your plan and attempt to put it all together. The reason that Feng Shui is so effective is because it is a whole new way of life that benefits you more than just in your home office because if your home office embraces the philosophy of Feng Shui, your entire house and life has to as well. Therefore, you need to have at least a basic comprehension of what it is that you are about to commit to and why. The information in this chapter, although it may have seemed a bit lengthy for a book about organizing and losing the clutter in your office, fully utilizes an entire systematic structure through the practice of Feng Shui that goes way past just keeping a clutter free home office but how it can lead to a completely clutter free home and life. When you really take a look at life and break down a typical week for those who work, you will find that most get up every day and go to jobs that they really do not care for and wait anxiously for Friday to come, that much needed break. So here comes Friday 2 Earth 7 Metal 6 Metal W
and you just blinked and it is Saturday, where you now have to accomplish everything that you were unable to get done during the week because you were at work. You spend most of Saturday grocery shopping, picking up stuff from the cleaners, cleaning the house and before you know it Sunday has arrived. Most people dislike Sunday because it means that they have to return to work the following day. At best, you can hope for a bit of relaxation before the Monday morning routine starts all over again. For most, this is how they will continue to live for most of their life. Feng Shui can help not only change your perspective about life but can also show you a whole new appreciation to life in general. Grace your entrance to your office whether or not that office at a work site or a home office. Use the wisdom of Feng Shui to make the correct choices about your life. Surround yourself with wonderful things, things that you love and that make you feel good. Think positively which not only makes you feel good about yourself but it also reflects off onto others as well. Use the Bagua to determine the colors that are best to surround yourself with for the most positive results. Remember the Five Elements, they are critical. There is a constructive and destructive force to the elements and you need to remember than when you are using them. Although at times this may seem a bit complex but even if you are working in a very small home office, you can still Feng Shui it, even if it is in very tiny ways. Just remember to put the elements in a circle going clockwise and keep fire on top, then earth, metal, water, and then wood. Even on a small desk, you do not have to have a fire going but add red, an element within fire. For earth, you could add a small ceramic pot because that would represent earth and so in. This can be done in a fashion that no one else will even notice what has been done. Clutter will clog your mind and it will cause you to forget things, miss deadlines, clutter relates to your entire mind. Once you get organized you will find that you feel much better and more balanced. If you do not have a window in your office then hang a picturesque landscape that is framed nicely on a wall that you most often look at. If there is a window but perhaps the view is not as pleasant as you would like then hang a wind chime and a nice sun catcher there for a better view. Again, this is just a small way to change your perspective around and feel better about your life. Feng Shui does not have to be drastic and extremely noticeable to others because it is inside of you and you alone. You want to create an ambiance that works for you so that when you get up in the morning and walk into your office, regardless of where that “spot” may or may not be, you feel good about yourself and your surroundings. You want to balance well being and harmony in your surroundings. If you would like to know more about Feng Shui and possibly have consultants come to your home for a complete evaluation check out ergoindemand.com?
Keeping it all in order Being organized can not be just one area that is defined, it is the whole nine yards. Keep a planner handy at all times when you are making phone calls or even email correspondences. Keep notes as it is always nice when talking to a client to reference something from the business deal or the last time you had contact each other. For example, the last time that you had spoken with a client he had told you that he was sorry
that he did not get back with you sooner because his mother had been in the hospital or maybe it was because he was ill. Jot down a little note and the next time that you speak you could mention a reference about his mother which adds a touch of personalization to the client and lets him know that you really cared and listened to what he was saying. Or, have you ever called the same client back twice in one day because you are so unorganized that you are clueless to what you are doing at times? So make a note in the planner that says whether or not you actually spoke to the client or if you got a voice mail, no answer, etc. Do not forget to jot in the date either, again, just another way of being organized. If you have outgoing packages or mail, make sure that it gets out. If a client is waiting on a check, a packages, or merchandise, make sure that you are organized enough to get it there on time. This all relates back again to procrastinating. That does not combine well with business at all. The two are toxic to each other and rightfully so. Think of a time when you called someone and left a voicemail message asking for a call back that you never got. Today’s people do not have extra time to wait around, they want answers right away. If they are awaiting a check, they want it right away, and if they placed an order, you can be assured that they are awaiting their package. So if you listened to your voice mails and then procrastinated by not returning the calls right away, just saying you will take care of it later, most often later is too late. You have to do it so why not just get it over with and move on? If those parcels or envelopes are collecting dust just waiting to get sent, the people on the receiving end are going to be ticked off. Competition is too great with today’s economy to let even on client slip through your fingers because of negligence. That is a harsh word but it is true you neglected to take care of your duties because you were unorganized and procrastinated. If you are organized and develop somewhat of a system you will get a lot more accomplished because you will not be walking into an office that is depressing and nothing less than overwhelming. Once you pull it together inside that office then you can work on the rest of the fiber of who you really want to be. Before you learn about how to really compress your office to paperless with the help of digital technology review the process that you can benefit from in a valid attempt to get yourself organized and your office too which will really give you a lot more to offer your clients and everyone will be a lot happier altogether. Office savvy people all agree that following the steps below will give you the base of the soup, so to speak. The core of what you will soon become. Clean out each desk drawer Clear off the top of your desk Keep essential items on your desktop Create an in box for each person Have a master to-do list for each day at your desk
Pre-Sort the mail
Use a variety of containers to organize office supplies, paper clips and pens
Use a variety of desktop organizers or trays to organize papers
Create a separate drawer for personal paperwork, items, etc
Purchase Magazine boxes to store booklets, magazines, catalogs
Use storage boxes to store dated files
Create a file for magazine articles or scan them into your computer
Filing system should be simple easy and manageable
Color-coding your files makes it faster to find information
Sub-divide larger files with interior file folders
Do not over stuff folders
Never overload filing drawer
Tab hanging file folders in the front
Return calls in batches. Leave specific messages and the time you called if the person you’re trying to reach isn’t available. At the end of each project or event, organize paperwork and file or store it
Keep takeout menus from favorite restaurants so you can order ahead and pick up dinner on your way home. Straighten desk at the end of the day and especially at the end of the week so that you can start each morning with a clear desk.
Empty workspace of everything but the project you’re working on
Keep an assortment of all-occasion cards and stamps in your desk
When using more than one checking account, color coded checks are an easy way to identify each account.
At the end of each day, make a commitment to yourself that no matter what you will organize the things in your office for the next day. Put everything away, dump the trash, and throw away any unnecessary paperwork. You will feel a greater sense of accomplishment for that day. As a business owner, you should know that is not going to be profitable in any way. So, you need a system to correct this so that you can be more effective in the time frame that you have and get more done. There are some tips for better organization and more
effective time management. Truly, it will just generate a better structure for your entire business and overall well being. • Spend time planning and organizing: Do not worry about wasting time thinking about a good way for you to get organized, just do whatever works best for you. It is time well spent. • Set goals: Goals give a person some direction. Goals are a good thing. Decide what you want, be specific, but make sure that your goals are achievable and realistic. • Prioritize: Use the 80-20 Rule that you read about in just a minute. • Use a to-do-list: Combine a to-do-list with a schedule or planner. • Be flexible: Allow time for distractions and interruptions and basically only plan for 50% of your day and use the other 50% for the distractions and interruptions. • Consider your biological prime time: Utilize the time that you are at your best. Not everyone is a morning person, some thrive at night. • Do the right thing right: According to business guru, Peter Drucker, it is more important to do the right thing that to do things right. Doing the right thing is effectiveness and doing things right is efficiency. • Eliminate the urgent: Work towards reducing the urgent things that have to be done so you will have time to do the important things. • Practice the art of intelligent neglect: Eliminate trivial tasks that do not have long term consequences. • Avoid being a perfectionist: Nothing is done to perfection and nothing more needs to be said on that. • Conquer procrastination: Take bigger tasks and break them down into smaller tasks so they are not so overwhelming. • Learn to say no: Many times, especially when working from home, family and friends have a hard time learning to respect your time. Focus on your goals and know that it is alright to say no to unexpected guests and unwanted phone calls. • Reward yourself: Promise yourself a reward for a job well done or a completed task. You deserve it. These tips can prove to be very beneficial for your business and your entire life. Maybe you have heard of Pareto’s Principle, the 80-20 Law, maybe not. Maybe you have heard of it but never paid much attention but if you learn what it is truly about you will see that it makes a lot of sense when it comes to being organized and time management. Pareto was an Italian economist and he devised this mathematically for the purpose of distributing the wealth of his country, which was of course, Italy. His observation was that 20% of the people owned 80% of the wealth. Although it was not Pareto’s original intent, through the years and well after his death, this formula has been successfully incorporated throughout many organizations as a great tool for time management. The 80-20 Law can apply to almost anything from the science of management to the physical world. In case you are wondering how all of this can benefit you, keep reading because it can. As a business owner, if you focus on the 20% that matters because of all the things that you do in a day, only 20% of it really mattered. That may sound depressing to think that 80% of what you have done in a day is wasted but that is not the case. Rather, it is the 20% that produced 80% of your results. Those are the things that you want to identify and focus on, so when something has to slack during the course of your day, make sure it is not part of the 20%. Now, does that sound accurate or does it overlook the fact that 80% of your time should be spent doing something important? It basically
boils down to this, you can either help the good become better or you can help the better become terrific. The real philosophy behind this formula is to focus 80% of your time and energy on the 20% of the work that is the most important. For example, if you sell products or services it is likely that 80% of your sales comes from 20% of your clients, those are the ones you should adore. If you have a sales force, see how much comes from each person and reward the 20% that are your high achievers. If you begin with just setting clear goals and expectations for yourself that is a step in the right direction. You no longer have to rely on your memory to put things into perspective as there are countless software programs that can assist anyone with that. These programs are designed to give you a reliable notification system which will not allow you to forget a deadline or an appointment. Set priorities which will give you some focus and evaluate your progress at the end of the day. Do not just set immediate priorities but look ahead into the future and examine what lies ahead. You have to enforce some self discipline for yourself so if you catch yourself procrastinating or acting lazy, stop yourself right away. Only you have the power to do so. Learn how to multi task effectively with something as small as utilizing time that is spent waiting on hold or on the arrival of a client, during this time you could be jotting down notes or something simple at your desk. Take a minute and reflect on your own personal habits and if you see a pattern that is showing signs of being unorganized or procrastination, you need to kick those habits right to the curb. Tools are everywhere to assist you in ways that most people have never given a thought to. So you may not know which one or more to choose but most offer free demos and that can give you some ideas of which may benefit you personally. Basically, much of the decision will depend on the type of business that you are in. As mentioned earlier, there are such a diverse number of businesses being operated and although a very large number is being conducted from a home office, many are not. Regardless of where the business is operating, organization is the key to effectiveness. It also appears that a leading cause of being unorganized is from procrastination. It generally is not because you are lazy, you more than likely do want a nice organized and clutter free office but usually there is so much going on that you find yourself just putting the task off for another day and soon time has just sailed by while the clutter just kept getting worse and by now it is probably like a wildfire blazing out of control. In addition to procrastinating, you probably do not know where to even begin. You know the task is going to be huge and time consuming so again, it just keeps getting put off for another day. Getting organized has nothing to do with the type of business that you are in but organizing software programs and the ways that you keep your business organized and functional can vary depending on the type of business that you are involved with. For example, if you are running a home based real estate business how you function would be different than if you were a freelance writer working from your home office. If your business is not home based and you work from a brick and mortar office then your options might be much more limited as to which programs you are able to download onto your work computer and you may just have limitations in general. Even with limitations you still have the upper hand in many areas. Whether a home office or not, it is certain that some of your personal life has found
a way to creep into your office space but they have to remain separate, always. Besides that beautiful picture of your kids or you and your spouse, the rest has got to go. Do not bring your personal bills and mail into your office as they are separate entities and need to be treated as such. Keeping them together will distract you, and cause more clutter and can often be confusing as well. No matter what it is, keep it in another location. When it comes to filing, again this is the same no matter where you call home to your office; find the system that works best for you. Idea after idea can cross your path but you need to find the one that works best for you. The only rule to that is which ever you have found to be easiest, it has to reject clutter. In other words, if you find that the best filing system is just keeping a heap of paperwork next to your desk and calling that some type of filing that can not happen. Most will suggest moving into the digital era and maintaining a paperless office for the most part and that generally is the best concept. Although it may seem a bit foreign at first, it will be most beneficial and the most organized once you get used to it. If you are dead set against that then work with expandable folders, depending on the size of your business or file cabinets that may or may not use color coding. Just remember that what ever you come up with is alright as long as it is clutter free. Time management and organization is such an important part of life in general but when it comes to working, especially from a home office, it is even more important. Scheduling, organization, and managing your time are all essential factors. Time is one thing that will not hang around and wait for you and it is the one thing that there is never enough of in one day for most people. You may at times think that it is possible to cram a ton of stuff into a short time frame but in the end it was probably counter productive and the work just did not meet standards, yours or anyone else’s for that matter. Factoring these things all together may really show you the extreme importance of organization. If you are organized then you will be able to manage your time better. Use a day planner, a calendar, or even a diary and note everything that you must accomplish in a day and then prioritize it. Start will the absolutely have to do list, and then move to things I really need to get done today list, and go down the list from there. Check everything that gets completed off of that page and at the end of the day, if anything is left you will have to move it to the next day and again prioritize. Below are two ways of keeping that information available. Again, it is what you feel most comfortable with.
It can be neatly organized on your computer or in a written planner, which ever works best to suit your needs. When you are preparing this daily log, you have to take into consideration all of the tasks that will be at hand for the day, merging together both business and family duties. Include everything from taking the kids to school, picking up the dry cleaning, stopping at the market, keeping that ten o’clock meeting, tasks that need to be completed, and that report that needs to be completed by five o’clock. Take everything into account before you start planning as you do not want to forget about even the most miniscule task. Then remember to let your family what your schedule for the day will be. Peter Drucker will be the very first to inform you that highly successful people are highly organized people. They are able to multi task and still be highly effective. This also means that no appointments get missed and nothing gets lost. These people are the ones that actually get their work done on time and sometimes even in advance. Organizing is the key to productivity. The benefits of organizing are enormous and if each thing is put away after it is used it will be much easier to locate the next time that you need it. An organized office allows you to focus on your work and it stops your brain from overloading. Messy offices result in despair, distraction and a feeling of being overwhelmed. Analyze your needs; if you work with a bunch of tiny parts then utilizing a bunch of small bins might be appropriate for organizing. The key is plenty of appropriate storage no matter what you do. There are only a few ways to increase the amount of space that you are working with for storage and these apply only if you are working from a home office; use your garage, build shelves across the walls, or reduce the amount of storage space that you need. You must have appropriate storage in order to avoid clutter. That is what you want to do, avoid clutter not wait until your office is so cluttered and then clean it out. Coping with clutter is not easy at all and no one ever promised that it would be. It was once asked how someone would go about eating an elephant and the answer was simply, one bite at a time. That is the approach that you need to take to ridding your clutter. Even a small room that is full of clutter can be overwhelming so do not necessarily set an amount of time aside and plan to do task A, B, and C but rather say that today you may have two or three hours to dedicate to a specific task, for some reason that approach can sometimes seem less dreadful. An idea that one person had was to buy one of those cheap timers and he put it in his home office and at the end of the day he would set the timer for five minutes in which time he would use to straighten things up until the timer went off. For some reason psychologically that seems to work for some. If you are a person who is absolutely indecisive then maybe you should get a box, nothing that is an eye sore or takes up a lot of space but something that you can use as the indecisive box. This box is only used when you can not make a decision to keep or toss. It is very important that you do not use this box as a catch all. When you dive into this office cleaning expenditure you should expect to find the dark before you see the light. In other words, plan for things to get much messier before they get cleaner. You have to get rid of every piece of junk and clutter before you can organize and start storing. Sort, purge, and then attempt storage. The Psychology behind Clutter & Procrastination
Many times people will order books and read blogs about becoming more organized. Perhaps they have even gone as far as to buy a bunch of bins and storage containers with the intentions of becoming more organized only to find that the anti clutter equipment that they bought has now also become clutter too. Even though their every intention is to get organized, they never seem to get there. Obviously there is something getting in the way, something stopping them from getting to work and organizing. Observe avoidance, just for a moment. People look at avoidance as a negative thing but it is not always the case. People use avoidance when something comes up that they do not want to deal with and in a sense that is good because if people worked did not avoid some issues throughout the day they may find that they are bogged down way too much. Yet when the problem is a cluttered office that is in disarray, it is very hard to not think about it. There is not a soul that is going to step forward and manage this issue for you. The answer to when you are ready only lies within yourself. With all issues in general people often tend to find a moment of clarity within them and realize that they might need some help. Sometimes that moment might come when someone else brings an issue to your attention and suggests that you may need to make a change. Others choose to believe that a problem could be at hand but because no one has said anything to them, it is almost as if they think it is not true and that maybe they have hidden the truth. However, when you have a prominent problem with being disorganized, it is very hard for others not to notice. Depending on where your office is located, you actually may be requested to do something about the mess in your office. That would be pretty embarrassing. Sometimes there is a narrow line between avoidance and acceptance. For many, the avoidance problem which has created the prominent organizational problems have to be worked out in smaller sets, avoiding tacking everything at once and just doing a little at a time and of course patting yourself on the back for a job well done. You are going to have to accept the fact that you have a clutter problem that will not be resolved overnight. In this case, you have to stop planning, thinking and contemplating and just start doing. Psychologists claim that the fear lies within the fact that you may not end up with perfection and for many that is a sign of failure. Basically, in the minds of some it is black or white, it is perfection or failure. For many, the fear of not being perfect is so overwhelming that they hide behind the dirt and clutter. In the workplace it has been proven through numerous studies that there indeed is a positive relationship between environment and productivity. Even more and more employers are allowing employees to have more say so on what is in their office. In other words, if they want to hang a picture up, they can and they can sit wherever they want to because it is proving that it will increase productivity. Having said that, what kind of productivity could possibly be created from an office that is in shambles, most would say the result is probably not very positive? When a person in organized, their workspace will perceive a relaxed but efficient environment. The entire organization process is not even all about clutter; it is about how to handle interruptions, mail, voicemail, storage, and supplies. It is a very big picture. The cost of being unorganized within a working environment is enormous. This usually results from misplaced files and paperwork, inaccessible files and resources, lost phone numbers and the stress that is brought on from all of this havoc. Millions of dollars
are lost annually, not to mention the headaches involved too. For the benefit of any organization, big or small, organization is the backbone of the operation. Assuming that you may not work alone and maybe you have some employees, odds are that you would not hire an employee who did not appear to be organized. Perhaps they were late for an interview, their clothes were unkempt, or they did not have their application or resume together. Those are signs of not being organized and chances are you would not look at them as a qualified candidate for your business. Now if you have not hired someone because of their lack of organization then would it not be safe to assume that when you do find a good candidate to work for your organization that they would expect that you would offer them the same in return. No one wants to work for a business that shows signs of being without organization. People know that no business will survive let alone flourish without being organized. Employees do not like risk, not one bit. So organization is definitely a two way street. Employees, just like children have a tendency to lead by example so as the person in charge you have to have precise organizational abilities. Most of the time people who are organized within their personal lives follow through with organization in their work environments. They are also generally financially secure as well as secure within their own personal endeavors. Once you establish an organizational state of mind, you will see that your whole life will ultimately benefit from it. A house or an office for that matter that is cluttered and messy represent wasted money, wasted time, and wasted energy. In contrast, a well kept home, yard or office represent a well ordered existence in every area of your life. Human nature is that the way that you handle your household and workplace affairs regarding organization and so forth is really a reflection of what you offer society as a whole. It is thought that if you have little regard for your own possessions then you will have even less for others. Psychologists agree that when you find yourself “off course” so to speak creates an emotional imbalance, which results in a feeling of being overwhelmed. This overwhelming feeling triggers a panic reaction that generally results in you attempting to correct everything at once. As a result, you find yourself running around in a panic attempting to get everything done when in essence; you are getting nothing done at all. Living like this denies you the pride and feeling of accomplishing anything. If you step outside of the box and take a really good look at yourself you will see that you are wasting so much time and effort yet accomplishing little. You will have feelings of guilt and failure because you did not do what you could have done had you been more organized. Of course if you had been more organized, your performance would have been much better resulting in you feeling better about yourself because no one likes to turn in work that is shoddy or not completed to the best of their ability. And you have to know when you are not doing a good job on something because you lacked the organizational ability to complete it the right way. That is when you know that it is time to make a change in your life.
Sort ahead of time & Identify Criteria
Create Uninterrupted time to Rid the Clutter Have a plan Of what You are going to do with the Outgoing Remind yourself Of your Desired state
Clutter does not always have to come in the form of material things. There is such a thing as time clutter, mental clutter, emotional clutter, that can all be equally as frustrating and hindering as physical clutter. You will know if you have time clutter if on any given day, your day was filled with things that you did not enjoy, things that you did that you did not need to do, and were there things that you did that did not make a difference at all. Mental clutter can be determined by establishing if you are distracted by thoughts when you are trying to write, if you criticize yourself in your own mind, you future events. You have emotional clutter if you brood about arguments long after they have happened, hold grudges, and spend a lot of time focusing on things that you do not like. When you sit down and do a self evaluation you may very well discover that one of your main sources of stress is your own lack of organizational skills. Because you lack in the area of organization it may appear that every single task seems daunting and overwhelming. The reason for this is solely dependent on your inabilities. Organizing results in simplification which is the key to making your life much easier. The importance of goal setting can not be over stressed. Setting goals gives your life direction. Your list of goals may be lengthy but then you have to break those goals down into smaller goals and
you will soon notice that you are making progress. Schedule meetings effectively and if you have a hunch that a particular meeting will last longer than you had hoped, schedule it right before lunch or right before it is time to get off of work for the day, this is a little extra insurance that it will not be delayed too much as they too will be anxious to get to lunch or go home. If you run your office from home or are self employed, utilize the time spent picking up office supplies and such by trying to stock up as much as possible which will result in less trips, which saves time. Limit socializing when you are supposed to be working. This is one great reason that email communication is so effective when possible. It is short and sweet and to the point. If you know that you have to discuss something with someone who likes to gab then try to do it via email. If you simply can not then you will have to tell them right away that you are on your way out the door or something firm but not rude to make that conversation go as quickly as possible. Home office, work office, it does not seem to matter; there are chatty people who are for some reason just drawn to certain people. Most likely it is in the way that you carry yourself that makes people think it is alright to just starting up a conversation with you. Others never seem to be bothered by this and can go about their day. Perhaps you have a home office so people just think that they can call you all day long with each passing thought. This is the time that you will have to be very firm. Many people for some reason believe that if you work from home that you are not really working, especially if they have not been really associated with the concept much in their lifetimes. It is not that they are trying to be mean and disrespectful, although they are being extremely disrespectful and just do not know it, it might be best to say that it is more likely that they probably just do not take you seriously. This is when you will once again have to be very firm without being rude. You can try subtle hints but they probably will not work for some, others will catch on soon enough but for that slim group, you may just have to state the facts the way that they are. Winston Churchill once said that, “We shape our buildings and after that our buildings shape us.” There is so much truth to that. The type of environment that you work in has a great impact on your behavior, your health, and the way that you think. A cluttered environment, which would include one that is chaotic and in disarray, will effect your physical and emotional state. Just as living in a negative environment might result in you becoming hostile. So in retrospect, if the environment of a person is changed then they in turn will change as well. It has been proven that people who are surrounded by balance and harmony are much happier people. They are also more productive, efficient, and happier, they learn quicker, they learn faster, they are in control, they enjoy life, and more important, they enjoy themselves. You have decided that getting organized and staying that way is something that you really want to accomplish. You understand that this will benefit you, your family, your health, your job, and everyone who comes in contact with you. The problem is that you still find yourself procrastinating and the task is still at hand. You have probably mentally beaten yourself up enough and that has not worked so try another approach. First, since you are not organizing your office, what exactly is it that you are doing instead? Are you watching TV, reading, shopping, talking on the phone, going out, and playing around on the Internet or what? What is it that has you so captivated that you can not break away to get started? The answer to these questions is not present yet. They come from inner feelings and are a matter of cause and affect. In other words, these feelings are a result of certain experiences.
You have given up before you ever began because you never know where to start You have tried before and failed one too many times You have been ridiculed and criticized by co workers, your boss, and your family You can never reach your desired results Not being able to maintain the acquired results These experiences can trigger these feelings Fear of failure Feelings of being overwhelmed Feelings of hopelessness Feeling lost Feeling inadequate Feeling a loss of control Fear of failure Now what you have to do is eliminate the areas that are unnecessary and these can be in the forms of unnecessary behaviors, people, objects, and events. Things that unnecessary are simply that, unnecessary. They are present and you do not know why so they have to be eliminated. Have you ever heard the story about the little boy who was watching his mother in the kitchen cooking the Christmas ham? He observes her cutting off both ends of the ham and asks her why. She replied that is how her mother used to do it. So the boy calls his grandma and asks her why she cut off the ends of the ham. She replies because that is how her mother did it. Finally, the boy calls his great grandma and asks her why she cuts off both ends of the ham and she replies because that was the only way that it would fit in my pan. The obvious moral to this story is that for generations there were steps that were being taken that were completely unnecessary and those steps needed to be eliminated. This story represents an unnecessary behavior. Then it is time to eliminate unnecessary objects. This will consist of either old clutter that you have had for years or objects that occupy your current space that have no function or value. Eliminate the unnecessary people which are the people that are full of negative things to say. It does not matter who they are talking about or what they are saying, what matters is that they have a negative force and just being around those types of people can really bring you down. You have to choose to limit your time around these people or just stay away from them altogether as you might find that when they leave your presence you feel depressed, upset, or even less productive. Another hurdle that you have to conquer is eliminating procrastination. When the word procrastination is broken down into its simplest form it means forward until tomorrow. Procrastinating means that you are avoiding something and is often linked with perfection. Procrastination can actually trigger physical feelings of insomnia, anxiety, stress, guilt, and headaches. This is all because of the way that procrastinating makes you
feel when you know that there is something important that needs to be addressed and it is just hanging in the balance, waiting on you. Now of course, these feelings lead to other negative feelings such as a loss of productivity, a disappointment in you, and not fulfilling your obligations and commitments. Procrastination goes even a step further and it too has causes that can stem from being disorganized, being in cluttered spaces, nagging people. Feeling overwhelmed, being indecisive, and being a perfectionist are other causes as well as OCD, ADD, and depression. They also suggest sticking with your own level of expertise and delegating the rest for better quality. Delegating the right tasks embrace a more organized and effective workplace. An interesting fact is that a survey was conducted and the results were revealed by officedepot.com which suggested that when a group of 100 employees were asked if they could have any guest celebrity visit their place of business for an entire day, for free, who would they choose? The answer, 33% said they would want the founders of Google to come and give them some technology tips on how to operate and set up their computer systems to be more functional. Amazingly enough, it was not Brad Pitt or Pam Anderson; it was the tech savvy Google founders! Now if that is not a scream for help then what is? If that is the case then employees just might want to become more organized and led into the digital era. For around $100, officedepot.com offers an all in one print/fax/scan product which could make a big difference in the lives of many employees. These are compact and fully efficient products that are easy to function.
Conduct an email survey and send it to all of your employees asking them what you can do to improve their success. How can you help them become more organized and functional? The responses are going to affect your bottom line so it is worth your time to hear them out. In the same survey, 100 employees were further asked if they could choose any one item to make their time at work more pleasant and effective what would they choose.
% of employees who want more ergonomic furniture
35% of that same focus group indicated that they suffer from a sore neck and back occasionally as a result of uncomfortable workstations and chairs. As a result, this could further cost a company more in the long run in health insurance premiums. It seems that perhaps motivation is a big factor in running an efficient and organized company. So who is responsible for motivating employees, generally the managers are. Again, that same focus group revealed that most employees see their boss as a remote, unconcerned delegator. That does not say too much for the organization as a whole. It could also answer a lot of questions as to why employees lack in certain areas, primarily efficiency and organization. If this is the case then it is time to consider what you can do to improve the situation. How can you help raise the motivation within your workplace? First you have to differentiate between morale and motivation and the factors that influence each. Morale is a way of thinking about your job, your boss, your co workers, and your company. It is basically how you perceive them. Of course most managers strive for a high morale as that is what keeps employees happy. If morale is low you will be faced with many problems wit your employees and this will result in a lack of motivation to perform. Lack of performance leads to lack of efficiency as they no longer really care about nothing more than getting their shift in and getting out. It further leads to them not wanting to maintain organization as that would require effort. The vicious cycle just worsens. Motivation is what you should be striving for. It is an internal drive that is present when employees are achieving satisfaction and are recognized for their performance which then is kind of catchy because it makes employees strive even harder which leads to better workplace efficiency and better organization. People also have a tendency to follow by example so if their higher ups are doing right then they will be more likely to follow suit. What is it that you want to see when you walk into your office? Certainly you would like to see a clean surface for you to work where supplies and only active files are at your fingertips. Perhaps an open space for a visitor to sit and an ergonomically correct computer set up? These would certainly make work life a lot better. You should have an ongoing file maintenance system where as you open it immediately has a home. File as you go rather than waiting until there is a big stack. It takes three times longer to file
when you wait than it does if you just file away as you go along. Everything should be within arms distance anyways so it should be a matter of reaching, opening the cabinet and placing the file in it.
Why Are You Disorganized?
Inconvenient layout of space
• • • • •
Homeless items Lack of space Too much stuff Too much to do
IF YOU WERE A STRANGER AND WALKED INTO YOUR OFFICE… WHAT WOULD YOU SEE?
Organization is the Backbone to any Prosperous Company About every five years, most companies will lose around half of their current customers and from that half, most will have left due to poor client care. What exactly is poor client care; it is bad customer service, which exactly the opposite of what is supposed to be going on. How do you keep customers and retain value while your business grows and within the answer to that question lays several components. Consider
that today’s competitive environment is causing all businesses to scramble to win the customer advantage. Businesses are spending billions of dollars on advertising and marketing ploys to attract their market segment. The marketing is working and customers are being driven in by the droves to businesses globally. So you get the customers to your business but were surely counting on more than just a brief visit. Once the customers have arrived it is up to a person or a group of people to make sure that they build a relationship with these customers so you can rely on their loyalty. Now you must create a buzz about your company, a buzz so strong that more and more people show up and now it is not only your expensive ad campaign that drove them in but the buzz is working and creating hype. But remember those statistics, within five years you will have lost half of these customers. You knew what you had to do to keep them; it involved passion, quality, excellent customer relations, and a great product or service. The product or service is great but over time you seemed to have lost the rest and it may have taken your customers a while to catch on or maybe they were so loyal that they gave you the benefit of the doubt for a while. Whatever the case is, they could not stick around forever. Oh, they would have if you would have lived up to your end of the bargain but over time you lost that passion, that great customer service and the quality faded as well. This may have been due to something on your part, if your business is very small. If your business is of a larger magnitude then it may be more difficult to determine the exact people who are responsible but your company’s quality, efficiency, and organizational skills have failed and that is why you will have lost half of your customers. Knowing these figures in advance gives you the upper hand in a sense because it is possible that you can correct the issue before it costs you 50% of the customers that in today’s market more than ever, you need to keep. It is ten times more costly to attain new customers than to keep old ones. Current and former customers are worth their weight in gold so you need to start with a customer loyalty overhaul within your organization, again, regardless of the size. Since customer loyalty is one of those things that you lost, it is time to do an overhaul on that subject, one that you will not take likely and will not soon forget. Organization sits at the top of the list of getting back old customers, keeping current ones, and getting new customers. Your entire business has to be refocused on the needs of your clients. Plain and simple!
GET ORGANIZED AND RETAIN YOUR CUSTOMERS MAKE CUSTOMER CARE PART OF YOUR STRATEGY EMPOWERMENT MAKE SURE THAT ONLY COMPETENT EMPLOYEES DEAL WITH CUSTOMERS KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS HAVE HIGH STANDARDS FOR SPEED AND COURTESY KNOW HOW CUSTOMERS BUY TO MAKE IMPROVEMENTS BE DIFFERENT FROM THE COMPETITION MAKE THINGS EASIER ON CLIENT EXCEED CLIENTS EXPECTATIONS
ENCOURAGE FEEDBACK RELY ON SPEED & ACCURACY TRY TO ANTICIPATE RATHER THEN
DEVELOP A BRAND
ENFORCE GOOD COMMUNICATION SKILLS SAVE CLIENT FROM INCONVENIENCE
ALWAYS KEEP A PROMISE KEEP A GOOD DATABASE SYSTEM
ENSURE IT IS EASY FOR CLIENTS TO CONTACT YOU PERSONALIZE ALL COMMUNICATION S
FULLY UTILIZE YOUR WEBSITE ALLOW CLIENTS TO SPEAK TO REAL PEOPLE
The 50% or better of the clients that you will have lost usually left for one of five reasons and all but one reason can be avoided with the organizational techniques that you have learned during this time. So, assume that if statistics show that you will lose 50% of your client base within five years and 40% can be avoided, that figure is now narrowed down to 40% that you can retain if you change the way that you business is being run. What causes clients to leave?
CLIENTS THAT ARE INTENTIONALLY PUSHED AWAY
CLIENTS WHO ARE UNINTENTIONALLY PUSHED AWAY
CLIENTS WHO ARE PULLED AWAY
CLIENTS WHO ARE BOUGHT AWAY
CLIENTS WHO HAVE MOVED AWAY Obviously you can not salvage the clients that have moved away unless your business does not have that requirement. What you can do is observe the other 40% and start to make the needed changes that are required to retain these customers. If a customer is intentionally pushed away, it is usually because they are too hard to please or because they are what are considered a credit risk. The customers that are usually too hard too please, although they are extremely difficult to handle, for some reason are generally the hardest to get rid of and they still represent a value to your business so allow someone who has the tolerance for this type of client deal with them. Remember if you can not or will not deal with a certain issue, delegate it. Clients who pose a credit risk have to be placed on a pay as you go system, simply eliminate their credit privileges. That is in the best interest of your company as you do not want to lose money. What about clients who were pushed away unintentionally, as these are of grave concern to you? Why were they pushed away and who pushed them away? This is usually a result of an angered client because a deadline was not met or certain goods were not delivered. When this is the case, someone did not do their job correctly which was a fall
out from a lack of organization. This is also something that could have been avoided if the paperwork was not lost under a stack of other paperwork that was supposed to get filed or if it had been on someone’s to-do-list. This category represents another 10% of your customer base that could have been retained. Clients who are pulled away simply put means that you did not do your job well enough and someone else did. That might sound harsh but there had to be a weak link somewhere in order for the competition to be able to break that bond of loyalty. The competition offered something better than you did. Was it quality that resulted from a lack of organization on the behalf of your business? Was it not someone’s job to make sure that your business always stayed ahead of the competition and if so, why was that not taken care of? Clients who are bought away usually are pretty much in the same category as the one above except they were pulled away by a lower price for the same item that you offered. If all of your corporate ducks had been in a row, there is a good chance that the customer might not have been concerned with saving a few bucks because he was a loyal customer. Something or someone broke that loyalty and you can pretty much bank on the fact that it was an employee that did not maintain a satisfactory level of organization within your company. The majority of these customers can be won back but there will not be a second chance ever again. If you can not ensure that the original problem will not occur again the attempt to regain the client would have been in vain. Concerning customers that you have not lost yet rather than ones who have left for one of the above reasons, you need to ensure that they do not leave because you value them very much as customers. So you need to anticipate their needs which could require some research but it will pay off. You are also going to have to make sure that your customers always remain confident of your company. Always be honest, sincere, confident, and always follow through with everything in a timely manner. These are all accomplishable tasks if you have an organized staff leading your business. If you have people leading your company and representing you that have missed deadlines, lost files, were frustrated because they were unorganized which may have led to them be sarcastic with a client, if a meeting was forgotten about, or if an order was not sent out then this all stems back to the original problem. You want to incorporate a plan of action that flows freely, makes sense, and quite simply put, that works a smooth circle of continuance.
Provide Ideas Based On Corporate Personality
Delete Clutter And S tress In Office
Employee Increase Morale
Analyze Process Flow
Create Long Lasting S ystems Eliminate Time Wasters
Now with that smoothly running in a free flow style you can get down to business. The purpose of having a business in the first place is to provide a service or product and to make a profit. Profit decreases with overhead, labor and costs. Recognizing the need for performance improvement and efficient organizational systems are essential to the processes that decrease the cost of conducting business. As a result of the free flowing circle that is formed above, your organization will benefit in the following ways:
Be More Productive
Increase Simplify Perform Your Better Work Line Bottom Your
Now the bigger task at hand and that is deciding exactly how it is that you will go about teaching these new policies and motivating your employees. The graph below indicates how employees seem to retain the most information.
LECTURE 1, 5 1, 10 1, 20 1 1, 30 1, 50 1, 75 1, 90 READING AUDIO/VISUA L DEMONSTRA TION DISCUSSION GROUP LEARNING BY DOING TEACHING ONE ON ONE
Remember the discussion on business guru; Peter Drucker and also keep in mind that about a third of employees surveyed said that if they could have any celebrity/guest speaker in their office for the day they would choose Google founders. Perhaps it is then a good idea to review some of the concepts that Google utilizes that allows for excellent performance in the workplace and further ranks them on top in their league. In business, Google is golden. First of all, Google believes in the philosophy that Peter Drucker endorsed, managing knowledge workers. Although Drucker deemed this term back in 1959, it has shown its face to this day. Drucker claims that knowledge workers believe that they are paid to be effective rather than to punch a clock and put in a certain number of hours. Drucker further believed that effective businesses will strip away anything that gets in the way of the workers receiving knowledge. Google uses ten key principles to make knowledge workers more effective.
THE HIRING DESCISIONS ARE MADE BY A COMMITTEE RATHER THAN ONE PERSON INPARTICULAR. STRIP AWAY ANYTHING THAT GETS IN THE WAY OF KNOWLEDGE WORKERS. CATER TO YOUR EMPLOYEES.
MAKE EVERYTHING A TEAM PROJECT FOR THE BETTERMENT OF COMMUNICATION. WORKING CLOSELY WITH EACH OTHER ALLOWS FOR EASY COORDINATION. ALLOW EMPLOYEES TO HAVE ALL OF THE RESOURCES NECESSARY TO COMPLETE THE JOB WITH EFFICIENCY. ENCOURAGE CREATIVITY STRIVE TO REACH CONSESUS CREATE AN ATMOSPHERE OF TOLERANCE AND RESPECT DATA DRIVE DECISIONS COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY
Departments and teams can improve their performance by using a newer approach to organizational effectiveness. With this system it is possible to achieve operational clarity and organizational alignment to members inside and outside of the business within ten days using this nine step process. This is a systematic process that looks at work from a behavioral perspective. This process has been used in dozens of organizations within the past decade. Managers are always faced with doing more with less; therefore most managers like to explore various techniques. Usually this starts with a structural reorganization in hopes to make it more effective. Because the major aspects of the business are unbalanced, the result is that profit is off, customer complaints are increasing, performance effectiveness is below standard, employee morale is low, and so managers decide to reorganize. Reorganization is usually the first attempt from a managerial perspective. The problem with that is that it is valueless and inside out. The results of utilizing this process include: A Value Proposition
A written map delineating WHAT and HOW the department achieves the Value Proposition; what should be measured to assess and identify needed performance improvements
Identification of the job positions needed for the unit
Job Models for all role/positions showing HOW individuals will perform their work and the skills/knowledge/attributes and competencies needed for employee selection, development, performance review and performance improvement interventions Identification of the organizational work support that is needed for people to get the work done The Work Load—the number of employees needed to achieve the Value Proposition
An organizational chart for facilitating the work
An organizational model that delineates how the group does its work together
An implementation and change management plan to support the changes described in Steps 1-8.
Since most of these attempts have been unsuccessful, The Language of Works Model has risen to the forefront. This philosophy takes into account the principles of good organization. Generally managers are sent off to work out an organizational plan and come back with a finished product. This has resulted in nothing less than chaos. This methodology utilizes the process of identifying work at the individual level and in reorganizations. This provides the tools for workers and their management. This redesigns the entire organization to achieve overall organizational alignment. There, a way was found to define as is jobs and to be jobs, including the skills, attributes and knowledge required, in less than four hours, clients then asked for assistance with organizing or reorganizing their departments. This system has proven that it is possible to develop a track to run on so that organizations can meet their goals,
whatever they are or however complex they might be. Employees can be involved without any interference causing the reach of the common goal. The time spent reorganizing can be spent reduced significantly, which reduces anxiety. Reorganization performed in this manner will improve performance of the company. Human Resources play an enormous role with the organization to improve work performance, effectiveness and efficiency. The value of this philosophy defines what each member is most passionate about, what they are best at and what it is exactly that gives them determination and drive.
The Language of Work Model
The whole business environment suggests that rapidly changing technology has been reshaping the industrial and service world. Manufacturing does not use the same process that it did 20 years ago and through the use of digital technology suppliers can deliver products to customers almost instantly. Basically, a business can be run from a car if you have the right equipment and if you are organized enough. The most well known contemporary company of today is Dell as they are not much more than a call center behind a website. Call them lucky but behind all of that success was quite a bit of organization and efficiency. There is no reason that you can not balance your work life with your personal life without being totally stressed out. You really can keep your customers, clients, and family happy while you are still making some real money. If you own your own business you really can face the challenges that others do not face. You have to get innovative and develop timely strategies that can transform your life and the way that you manage every minute of every day. It can be very hard wondering where to begin and how to handle everything that comes your way. No more stress, no more laying awake at night wondering how you are going to get everything done on time. You will already know what lies ahead of you in the morning because you utilized your to-do-list. You have learned so many new and effective ways to change your life around. Now you know how to deal with your friends and family effectively so that they know how to take your home business seriously. You have learned how to say no and not be rude and most important, without feeling guilty.
Everyone Really Can be Happy!!!
Some of the most commonly asked questions
I spent the time and cleaned my office but for some reason I can’t keep it clean. What can I do?
This is very common for many. As a matter of fact it is likely the biggest problem. The reason for this is that you have not created a good system for paper flow Everything needs to have a place and if things do not get put there then you are going to wind up with a messy and cluttered office. If you do not remain organized there is no system that will help you.
Being that technology plays such an important part of keeping an organized office, how can I make sure that I am using all that technology has to offer?
You are not alone here! Only a very small percentage of people do in fact know how to utilize technology in a manner that makes it work for them. Developing better administrative processes and using technology to help you streamline is the answer to this problem. Microsoft Office products, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook will also help you with other technologies that can make your job easier (i.e., PC banking; Quickbooks for keeping your books; etc.).
Organize Your Time
Organize All Papers
Keep a tidy And Organized Office
Organize Your Files
Organize Your Computer
The key to having and keeping an organized office is utilizing the proper tools and gadgets that are available to make this whole process a lot simpler.
These are some of the things that can help you maintain organization and stay on track. You just have to make sure that you are committed to this and remember to use your time wisely and efficiently. Allow yourself that extra five minutes or so per day to put everything in its place. Stay focused and remembers that every single piece of paper, every file, every disc, and every object has a place and it has to be put there.
You have come so far now, there is no turning back! What once looked like this:
Now looks like this:
Facts on Office Organizing
• The Wall Street Journal reports that the average US executive loses 6 weeks a year retrieving misplaced information from messy desks and files. • Average employees have about 37 hours of unfinished work on their desks and spend 3 hours per week sorting piles trying to find papers for the next project to work on. • American workers collectively spend 9 million hours daily looking for lost or misplaced information. • It costs about $25,000 to fill a four drawer file cabinet holding 18,000 sheets of paper and over $21,000 a year to maintain it. (Gartner Group, Coopers & Lybrand, Ernst & Young)
Weed out the things you no longer need
Move your files, furniture, or belongings to the locations that will best serve you Organize your systems to operate efficiently in your life and with how you prefer to use them.
By creating such systems you will Increase your efficiency and productivity Free more time in your daily schedule Increase company sales and profits Improve business growth
I hope you enjoyed this FREE eBook on learning the essential changes you can make to your home for increased productivity in your home business. Please feel free to GIVE IT AWAY all over the internet for YOUR BENEFIT! What do I mean by this? Well this eBook contains LINKS which can be rebranded with YOUR OWN affiliate links to earn you an income by simply giving it away on internet forums, internet chatrooms, as a FREE download from your site, as a FREE download for visitors to opt-in to your subscriber list and much more. Full and simple instructions on how to rebrand are provided in the ZIP file you opened this eBook from. (Just click the READ THIS FIRST file) Also, you can watch a GENERAL video showing you how to rebrand an eBook
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