How to avoid a chaotic office
“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” - Albert Einstein
Now, I am sure that you have heard people say that an empty, or tidy desk shows a lack of imagination and this assumption has led to some serious research: In a study published in Psychological Science, a team of researchers headed by Kathleen Vohs found that working at a tidy (or as Einstein would say empty), desk influences people to be more conventional, more generous and to make healthier choices. But, perhaps more interestingly, working at a cluttered desk positively influences people’s creative thinking ability.
Over the course of the study, the researchers conducted several experiments that placed participants in either a clean, neatly organized room or a cluttered, messy room. When asked if they’d like to give to charity, the participants in the clean room donated more often. When they were allowed to take a snack as they left the experiment, the tidy room participants choose healthy snacks more often. So despite Einstein’s quote, there are some benefits to a tidy desk.
I love admin and dislike chaos so I keep my office tidy and my workload organised. However, a lot of people find dealing with the essential day to day tasks involved in running a successful business boring and unproductive - and this is why they employ people like me to do it for them!
I believe that a disorganised office can be stressful and create barriers which prevents a business owner from seeing the bigger picture. So, if you are someone who hates having to spend a day in the office filing and sorting through clutter, here are some tips which hopefully will make your admin tasks a little easier and help to keep your desk tidy:
The To Do List
As I have mentioned previously, I think lists are important and my first job on a Monday morning is to write down all my tasks for the week. By creating a list, you can bin any scraps of paper you have used to make notes and also remove all those Post-It notes from your computer screen!
The best part of a ‘To Do List’ is the satisfaction I get crossing off items when they have been completed!
An Online Calendar is a great tool
For regular work such as posting updates on client’s websites or producing monthly newsletters, I use Outlook Calendar to remind me when these jobs need to be done. When a reminder pops up in Outlook, I either deal with it immediately or set it to ‘snooze’ until I have time to complete the task.
This means that I do not need to use a desk diary or again, a number of scribbled notes to remind me when I need to do a task.
Set aside a specific time, perhaps twice a day, to answer & send emails and do the same with your Social Media platforms. If it will take you less than 2 minutes to action an email then do it immediately. Otherwise add it to your to-do list and then get back to your current piece of work.
Great piles of paper or 100s of emails waiting to be dealt with can be overwhelming and make you feel reluctant to start work. So, when you have actioned an email or dealt with a piece of paper, don’t leave it sitting in your inbox or on your desk, file it away immediately. That way you can see the progress you are making as you go along.
3 great apps which could help to streamline your work:
1. Trello is a virtual pin board filled with cards which you create. Open a card then add comments, upload images, or attachments, add labels and create checklists and you can share it with colleagues. It is fun to use, keeps clutter off your desk and it’s free.
2. XERO This is online accounting software for small businesses. You can use it for bookkeeping, invoicing, bank reconciliation, payroll etc. Upload sales invoices to Xero and then you do not need to keep a paper version of the document. Purchase invoices and receipts can be scanned and uploaded and then filed away – but not under the coffee cup on your desk!
3. Toggl If you bill by the hour, this is a great tool for tracking the amount of time you spend on a project.
I hope you find the above tips helpful and you never know, if you follow them you may end up enjoying spending a day in the office! If you would like help with any aspect of your admin. do get in touch with me I would love to hear from you.