This is a great week to take some time to prepare for 2012. We can schedule in a little down-time to catch up on the things that we haven’t had a chance to do all year. Maybe that is just taking some time to rest! Many businesses will take this week to catch up on paperwork, de-cluttering the office and closing up the books for the year.
This whole process of closing out one year and beginning a new year can run smooth as clock work when your space is organized and your systems are in place. Before you start preparing for your 2012 goals give your home office a check-up. What paperwork is looming in a file box (or on the floor)?* What systems have worked for you this year – and what systems need to be tweaked or re-vamped totally.
Tweaking a system can be a great option to save time, money and a whole lot of headaches. One of the best changes that I made in 2011 was to begin using my android cell phone to help me track my mileage. I installed the mileage tracker application to my android phone and it has made it extremely easy to manage my car mileage for tax purposes. It takes just a few minutes in my car to document my beginning mileage and a short explanation of where I am going. This is a huge time-saver for me and I’ll soon be downloading it into an excel spreadsheet as my documentation for taxes.
I am also finding that a lot of small business owners are in need of tweaking their filing systems. Having the basic files set up the will enable you to manage daily paperwork can be the easiest and simplest way to stay organized. It is so easy to just convince yourself that you will do the filing later. By the time that an inbox is over-flowing and papers are stacked into wonderful neat and tidy piles throughout the office, the whole thought of tackling the paperwork becomes too much to consider. Now, it will take hours of time from you day – and who has hours to dedicate to paperwork (better yet, who really wants to)?
Take some time this week to tweak your systems. Remember to keep the necessary files that you use on a daily basis handy on your desk. I recommend using a vertical filing system that is graduated. Having the graduated slots to store your daily files makes it easier to just drop in your paperwork. This eliminates the need to thumb through files to get to the one that you need. You’ll be able to see what you need immediately. This would be used for things like your current client files; a dedicated place to put your paperwork which needs to be filed and generic files for papers that are important to you and your business. It will take less room on your desk and give you the ability to file papers away immediately, vs. stacking them in an “inbox”. Of course, keeping paperwork under control takes discipline. It must be handled every day (or at least every week)!
*The floor should never be used as a filing system!