Getting Organised in the Office; 5 easy tips

Getting Organised in the Office

Regardless of whether you’re working on a short term project or a longer ongoing piece of work. Such as planning and implementing a new marketing campaign. You really do need to stay on top of the paperwork, keep your electronic files in order and keep your working time flowing effortlessly and you can do this by getting organised in the office.

My 5 Tips to getting organised in the office are easy to implement.

Organise your workspace

My office is the spare bedroom in my house ~ the box room, and it’s the size of a postage stamp; you really couldn’t swing a cat…or you would do harm to the cat if you tried.

I haven’t got the room for multiple filing cabinets and if one document is left unattended and strewn on a surface the whole room looks untidy and cluttered. The size of the room was key to getting organised in the office… My office.

This doesn’t mean that my desk is free from paperwork, notepad and essentials; it isn’t. I only keep the things I need close by me involving that specific project and everything else I’m not using or needing is filed away. I don’t have to wade through unnecessary clutter when I start a piece of work as it’s all to hand in easy reach of my fingertips.

This is easily achieved by making sure your desk is tidy and filing is complete when you finish work at the end of the day.

Paperwork; what to keep and what can go

The chances are no, you are never going to need [fill in the blank] again. But ask yourself two simple questions to clarify:

Do I need this for reference in the future? If it’s the case that you might, then scan the document and store it electronically.

Do I need to keep this as a legal obligation? I.e. Deed of sale, contracts, agreements, employee records, identity documents. If in doubt contact HMRC or Gov.uk and ask them, they will reassure you.

As an example, for my bookkeeping service; I am licensed to operate as an ASP (Accountancy Service Provider) and I am legally bound for MLR purposes to keep Identity documents for 5 years after the client has stopped using my services. I have a lever arch file for the purpose of storing those identity documents, and they are also scanned and placed in an electronic file.

Use a Planner

It doesn’t matter whether you use your phone, an electronic calendar or a paper diary. Just make sure that when an appointment or a piece of work comes in you schedule it in your planner straight away. All electronic data should be synchronised automatically, so you only have to make sure the paper copy is entered.

I’m old school and have a paper master diary, which I use daily. I just love to flip through the pages to see what deadlines I have looming. Key dates and deadline dates for pieces of work are then transferred into my electronic calendar.

I am currently supporting numerous clients’ as their Virtual Assistant; I’d be lost without my calendar and diary. If I just relied on my brain to store key dates, I’d be sure to get in a muddle and I no doubt wouldn’t have happy clients. My clients all have their own set colour in my electronic diary too, so at a glance I can see who I’m working with at say 10 a.m. on any given day.

If you want to know more about organising your diary, read my blog PA your Day.

Make and work through a to-do list

No job is too small, no task insignificant enough not to be added to your to-do list! I know not everyone is a list maker like me and some consider writing a to-do list to be tedious and a waste of time. I couldn’t manage my day without one.

Ask yourself; How many times have you popped to the supermarket to get say: get washing up liquid to then get home a few hours later with a full weeks shopping, minus the washing up liquid! And the same can be said for your work tasks. You may have it in your head that you need to phone James ASAP about something first thing in the morning, and then at 9 a.m. your phone rings or you receive an email and boom you’re thrown a curve-ball which throws your schedule out for the day. You get to 7 p.m. and ‘phone James’ pops into your head, but by that time in the evening it’s too late! If you had it on your to-do list it would have been a visible reminder. Even if it means, postponing it for another 30 minutes. It’s still a visible reminder.

Also the sense of satisfaction at crossing off completed tasks is immense ~ or is that just for me?

Your Desktop is not a file storage area

Organised desk top
This is my Desktop, yes even that is clean and uncluttered. The thought of saving documents to my desktop gives me the shudders! It’s a bad habit. You are placing your business and personal documentation at risk. Data is far harder to recover when it is not stored within a drive on your computer. So always save files to a specific folder on your C-drive.

It’s fine to keep a shortcut on your desk-top or pinned to your taskbar as that is all they are, they are a ‘shortcut’ but never save files to your desktop.

Just follow these 5 easily implemented tips and you could quickly bring order back in to your work life and make sure you stay or are getting organised in the office.

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Karina Bailey

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Written by Karina Bailey

Karina is the real person behind the Virtual Assistant. I support local small business owners, helping to relieve their admin stress and concentrate on their core business. When not at my desk working I can be found in graveyards, researching my family history. Dancing the Salsa and listening to local bands.