Getting Your Home Office Organized for 2016

Your home office is an important hub of productivity and efficiency. At least it should be. Often people aren’t sure how to organize or where to begin getting their home office organized and this can limit their ability to get things done, so that they can move on to the more important things. With the end of the year fast approaching, there is no better time to get your home office organized for a successful 2016. Usinga professional organizer will make all the difference in the world. Here are key organizational steps to hone productivity and help you manage your time and tasks best.

Dedicate Your Space

Dedicate your SpacePeople are most productive when functioning in a dedicated space aligned with the tasks at hand. It’s unlikely you’ll do anything but exercise in a spin class – the darkness, loud music, and room of other cyclists reflects what you’re there to do. Does this apply to your home office? A key to getting organized for 2016 is rededicating the space. Do this through a simple inventory. Sit down with a favorite beverage and a piece of paper and your favorite pen. Create three columns and in the first, list everything you want to use your home office for: handling family finances, working remotely, a creative endeavor. In the second, write down what the space would ideally include.

By taking time away from the space to visualize it you’ll establish a mental picture of the office that works best for you. Next, head into your office to take inventory. Notice everything from your list that appears and leave it. Items that are not on your list, or do not align with the purpose of your home office should immediately be removed and placed in a room that better serves their purpose. Notice things that are missing? Make a list in the third column. By streamlining what is in your home office you’re one step closer to a better, more organized 2016.

File and Purge

Whether you use folders in a filing cabinet, computer files, or a combination, set aside time to go through everything so that you can file and purge. While doing this, make sure everything has a place. For computer files, look for things that are just hanging around on your desktop or in a section with other folders and no loose files – everything should be in a specific place. With physical files do the same – a car receipt should be in a file with other car receipts and paperwork. Sounds simple but you’d be amazed how many things get just placed aside. And these are impossible to find when you need them.

Some documents should never be discarded. A good rule of thumb to follow is that state and federal agency issued papers, licenses, and deeds never get purged. Another rule of thumb? If it’s hard to replace, don’t get rid of it. Marriage licenses, birth and death certificates, pension documents, mortgage, and other major financial documents also go in the forever file.

Some documents can be discarded after time. While opinions vary, here are the common timelines for keeping paperwork.

– Receipts and warranties should be kept until you no longer have the related item.
– Tax records and related paperwork should be kept for seven years.
– Pay stubs and bank statements should be kept for a year.
– Anything related to the purchase, sale, or improvement of property should be kept for seven years after the sale of the property.
– Medical bills and receipts should be kept for two years after the completion of payment.

Toss the following documents when the new one arrives: social security, annual insurance policy, and retirement plan statements.

The Three Piles That Will Quickly Streamline Your Office

tumblr_nauxasFjRd1tbnkvjo1_500There are plenty of ideas for how to declutter and streamline. A favorite of ours is the three piles. When you go into your home office to start getting ready for 2016 create three piles:

– Toss – Like the name says, this is the pile of things to throw out. From bags to dead pens, receipts you don’t need to three month old to do lists – get rid of them.
– Donate/Give – Did you buy a type of pen and then decide you didn’t like them? Do you have extra notebooks or Post-Its that you don’t need because you’ve gone paperless? Unused, gently used, extra items, gifts that didn’t fit your lifestyle (you really don’t know why you were gifted a kitten calendar but didn’t have the heart to throw it out?) — these should all be donated or given away to others. Bringing a box of office supplies to your office, a local business, or a school will make others very happy.
– Keep – For all those things that belong but maybe aren’t in the right place, or for which you haven’t found the right place, it’s time to make a keep pile and then work on finding perfect spaces for them.

Brainstorm Routines

Think of the routines that would have made 2015 more productive and create a list. Habits have to be formed and often require reworking, but coming up with routines to try, and implementing them starting now, will allow you to decide what to implement in 2016. Here are some ideas for good routines.

Never Leave Your Desk Messy

A simple routine that will revolutionize your productivity if you’ve not already started doing it? Never leave your home office for the day with a messy desk. At the end of each day or evening put everything away, toss what can be tossed, file any papers or computer files, and leave your desk so that the next day you’re starting from a clean slate.

Use a Monthly Calendar To Track Long Term Projects

Whether it’s in a book, on a blotter, or on the wall, a monthly calendar will help you see the progress you’re making on projects at a glance. Start simply with your goal to organize your home office for 2016 and track how you’re doing. Check in with yourself every other day and note how you’re doing.

Avoid Shopping

Buying a tennis racket won’t make you play well if you’ve never played and as tempting as it is, buying new organizational tools like furniture, planners, wall calendars, and software won’t make you any organized. Instead, it’s time to schedule an appointment with an expert.

You’ve laid the foundation and started exploring what may work for you, but a professional organizer will bring your home office, productivity, and time management to the next level. A member of the In Order To Succeed team will assess your style and habits to discover the best systems, routines, and tools for your office. Our professional organizers can purchase, install, and work with you to set up the best organizing system to meet your goals and make 2016 your most productive yet.

5 Inspiring Workspaces from Pinterest

With summer winding down and the work grind heating up, it’s time to revaluate your workspace. We scoured Pinterest for the most inspiring workspaces. Steal ideas from pretty, functional offices, visit our Pinterest page for even more inspiring ideas and tips on the best tech gear to keep you organized and share your favorite tools of your trade in the comments.

You can tell a lot about a person from his or her workspace. Office space and the utilitarian things in it surround us from morning to evening and are vital to an efficient day. Done well, a workspace, whether at home or the office, can be a beautiful, creative place that helps productivity. Here are five inspiring workspaces we found on Pinterest.

New Meets Old

inspiring workspaces

We love this old farm table mixed with high tech devices. The cables and cords are cleverly hidden and there’s open storage space in the desk. It’s the perfect blend of new and old.

Maximizing Space

inspiring workspaces

This workspace created out of a corner is a brilliant way to save space. Lots of covered storage keeps things uncluttered and let it’s position in an open part of the house lets you keep an eye on the family comings and goings.

Maintaining Natural Light

inspiring workspaces

We love open shelving for those that can commit to putting everything in their place. The open shelving lets in a ton of natural light, helping you stay focused and the easily being able to find the office tools you need. This space is so comforting you might have a hard time keeping your kids away from desk.

Art + Art + Art

inspiring workspaces

Make your own inspiration wall for those days when nothing comes easy. A workspace filled with art is an easy way to add color to a white space while keeping everything feeling crisp, fresh and bright. Just try to not be productive in this space.

 Make it a Library Day

inspiring workspaces

There’s something cozy and comforting about a library. Surround your workspace in your favorite books and you’ll find yourself wanting to go to your home office each day.

Need more office organizing help? Contact an In Order to Succeed organizing specialist today.

 

 

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Pinterest: IOTS Finds: Tech Tools

 

How to create a home office out of a spare room

create a home office

Simply put, you need a home office space. You need a spot where you can work undisturbed on regular projects such as taxes, retirement planning, freelancing or even finishing your MBA. Create a home office in that spare room or that extra room that only serves as a guest room once every couple of years. Follow these three tips and you’ll have your ideal workspace in no time.

Work in a Room With a Window

If we’ve learned anything from cubicle culture, it’s that being cut off from sunlight is unnatural and unhealthy. A study by the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne found that workers in windowless environments or “workstations” had poorer sleep quality, slept fewer hours and scored lower on assessments for vitality, mental functioning and social functioning. Lack of natural light disturbs your circadian rhythm, which in turn affects your sleep. Over time, it also can result in health problems that range from diabetes to higher accident rates.

If you can choose your workspace, when creating a home office pick a room with a window. However, you do want to control the amount of light coming in, particularly if your office faces east or west and will get the brunt of the sun. Invest in adjustable quality blinds that allow you to control the amount of light that comes in. If you live in a climate with extreme temperatures, consider cellular or solar blinds that boost energy efficiency. Once you find a type you like, make sure it matches your decor.

create a home office

Get Attractive, Comfortable Furniture

You need furniture that supports your work. First, determine what your primary function will be in that office. Is it working on a computer? Making sales calls? Providing counseling services? Make sure to invest in furniture that helps you get your work done.

Entrepreneur recommends that you choose a chair manufacturer like Keilhauer or Humanscale that designs chairs to properly support your back and spine and balance your pelvis. The article also suggests getting foot rests, an ergonomic mouse shaped to fit your hand and soft keyboard pads to make work less stressful on your limbs.

Best Reviews features five desks that are good for their durability, storage capacity, work surface and price for home offices. Only one was an executive-style desk, and three were L-shaped desks that emphasize computers. The fifth combined a bookcase with a desk. Its top pick, Bush Furniture’s Cabot-L Desk, has these features:

  • A complete organizational system that includes a file cabinet with glass doors, cubed bookshelves and cubby storage
  • Under-the-desk charging station
  • Optional desk extension with matching-height lateral file
  • Polished Harvest Cherry or Espresso Oak finish

Choose Wall Paint That Suits Your Professional Goals

The color of your home office should suit your profession and goals. Sally Augustin, an environmental psychologist and expert on person-centered design, tells Forbes that different colors can be used to gain an advantage at work. For example:

  • Greens are thought to boost creativity.
  • Pink is calming, which is why many team locker rooms are painted pink.
  • White is associated with boredom, or, in some cases like the Apple Store, modernism.

Choose a color that suits your business and inspires you to complete the work you need to do.

Filing 101: Organizing Paperwork

Hopefully, you feel as if you have gained some control over your filing. Even the most paperless office or household requires some filing and that system should support you – not overtake your life. At this point, it’s a good idea to check in and see what is working for you and what is not. The key to any well-organized system is making it simple enough for you to maintain. Below are some tips on Filing 101: organizing paperwork.

Set aside time once a week (15-20 minutes) to stay on top of your filing. Staying on top of your ‘to be filed’ pile will keep you from becoming overwhelmed. While you may feel like you are adding another task to your already-busy schedule, you are actually freeing up the other days. You can let the pile build up all week, knowing you will get through it all quickly. Learning how to organize paperwork is easy when you set yourself a reminder to just get it done!

You may wish to use color to differentiate between subjects/topics. These should be sorted into broad categories, such as “Bills to Pay,” “Kids School Info,” “2014 Taxes,” “Smith Account,” etc. and use simple colors that please you and remind you of those categories. Store related documents together by category instead of by item. So for example, keep all presentations, research, notes on a particular subject together.

Be consistent – choose a filing system that works for you and stick with it, whether it is chronological by date, alphabetical or numeric, etc. Again, keeping it simple will help with this, and will take away the need to think through the process. Figuring out how to organize paperwork should be routine and easy.

Utilize a digital filing system such as Neat or Evernote to manage all of your files and archives in one place. The Paper Tiger program cal also help keep track of paper files. Once you’ve uploaded a document, you can search by keyword and access it from anywhere. And remember – all menus, appliance manuals, recipes, instructions for items can be found online!

Not many people look forward to filing, but it’s a necessary part of life to maintain focus on what you ARE passionate about. Become an expert on how to organize paperwork and don’t let paper pile-ups get in the way of your goals or take up any more time than they should!

Office Organization: How to File [Part One]

When office personnel were asked which task they dislike the most, filing came in as their number one least favorite chore. While filing may not be an exciting or fun office organization function, but it is a necessary task for running an office or household efficiently.

But, hate it or not, filing documents, receipts, and invoices must be addressed in one way or another. So, let’s review how to file with four simple solutions that can make the process simpler and avoid paper pile-ups.

(Note: Although I am a strong supporter of scanning whenever possible to eliminate paper storage we cannot ignore that even the most “paperless” office still will house some files and records that may be neither convenient nor appropriate for a computer or cloud-based scanning solution.)

Shred and recycle aggressively. The first step to office organization is to ask the question, “Does this document need to be filed?” Much of what comes to us by mail can go directly into the shredder. At the time, you open and read your mail, decide whether you’ll need that piece of paper in six months or a year. Be very cautious not to save or file something that you probably won’t need to reference again. If you need to find this information again, can you locate it without much difficulty? Does it contain information you can live without? If the answer to both questions is yes, then don’t set it aside for filing – instead trash or shred immediately.

Map it out before you begin setting up your files. Thinking through office organization with the logic of what you want to store and where you want to store it is a crucial step at the beginning of the process. Write your goals on paper (or type on your computer) so you can review, evaluate, and fine-tune how your new filing system will be configured. Consider what you will place in a particular file drawer or bin, and which records should be grouped together in a particular sequence. I recommend doing this in the form of an outline and creating main categories, which will be your hanging file folders, and sub-categories, which will be interior file folders. This will become your Master File and it will also prove helpful in planning for the purchase of your filing supplies.

Use broad filing categories. Don’t create a new file folder for every type of paper that crosses your desk. Too many file folders are not efficient or necessary. Not only is it tiresome and time-consuming to search through all those folders, there is also a far greater chance of misplacing something by using several different files than one for the entire category.

Keep your most frequently used files close and convenient. I am often surprised when I work with people who don’t consider how much time they spend going back and forth to find files; files housed far from their desk or workstation wastes time for retrieval. When thinking about office organization, take into consideration your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly needs. Desktop File Boxes are a great way to add some convenient file storage to a desk, bookshelf, or cart.

Hopefully, these four tips will help you better organize your filing and understand the basics to get started and staying organized. Stay tuned for more filing strategies.

5 simple ways to make the most of your office space

These are a few simple ways to help you get the most from your office space so that your workplace is a productive environment devoid of clutter.

An adequate amount of office space is key to your productivity, and while it is unreasonable to have crystal-clear desk it is vitally important that office clutter is not disrupting your work. There are many different simple steps that you can take to ensure the place in which you work is de-cluttered hence stress free.

My Storage Pod, a Self Storage business in the UK, has come up with five simple ways to do this.

Don’t Write Everything Down

Writing things down with pen and paper can still be very useful especially as you can take notes quickly and in short hand. However, piles and piles of paperwork can be very unfeasible to work with and it can take a fair amount of time to find exactly what you are looking for. It can be well worth taking notes or copying down notes onto your computer this will mean your work will be easier to read and, if organized properly, easier to find. Google Drive can be especially useful in regards to organizing your work as folders can easily be created and found “in the cloud,” meaning you can reach them from any location.

Utilize Office Storage Facilities

There’s nothing that seems like a waste of space so much as documents kept for legal reasons, such as compliance with Data Protection legislation. If you’re renting an office space to work in, your money might be better spent on space in a self storage facility. The cost of a serviced office is often far higher than self storage, which is more suitable for archiving documents and files you don’t need access to regularly.

Dispose of redundant items

Nowadays a lot of people like to hoard possessions because they will need these items again at some point. It is worth taking the time to consider whether you really need an item instead of placing it in office draws never to be seen again. General clutter that can accumulate in office draws and desks may begin to significantly hamper your productivity. Instead of having the mentality of putting things away and worrying about them later it is worth taking the relatively simple decision of weather you actually need something or not.

Monitor Desk Size and Usage

If you own a large office with many employees it is worth monitoring how many desks are being used and whether the desks are too large. Disposing of redundant desks will create a much greater amount of space improving office safety and conditions. The organization of your desks should also be looked at, for example placing desks back to back (as long as your employees are comfortable with it) can create a huge amount of space in the office which can make room for other facilities or more staff.

Get Creative With Shelving

If you work from home or in a very small office it can pay to get creative, especially with shelving. For example shelving can be extended below the desk for items in long term storage. Custom made shelving can also be important in small work places, this will allow you to tailor your shelving to your exact needs and to make sure you never waste space. Shelving can be shaped to the shape of files and electrical appliances you use to again ensure that no space is wasted. Another way to get creative is using a pull out desk draw, this is a chest of draws with a top draw that pulls out to reveal a desk whenever you need it.

Guide to Bespoke Training for your workforce

If you own a business and you are planning on investing in a bespoke training, you have to think about many various factors. First, consider how to develop your business and relate this in workforce development. As businesses grow, you will greatly need to focus on this factor. Basically, it is only by having effective and skillful employees in which your business can achieve success. But what should you consider to make preparations for workforce training.

Here are important factors to consider for your workforce bespoke training:

1. Potential

Observe your employees and determine if you want to make the most of your employees’ potential. Maximizing their potential will eventually direct to a more effective and useful employees. Through this, a bespoke training can be a perfect solution if you wish to have more efficient employees, initiate changes to your business and enhance the skills and abilities of your employees.

2. Type of course

Also, you have to think about the type of course that your employees will take. However, with numerous options, you need to focus on the training program that will best suit your business and on which your business will benefit. The training courses include:

Business skills.
Business.
Marketing.
Office support.
Personal assistant training courses.
Sales.

3. Results

Basically, every business that has attained success is motivated by its accomplishments. Hence, investing on any training course for your workforce will surely offer you possible revenue, capacity to connect and negotiate with new and existing customers, and opening new business and creating sales leads.

4. Practicality

Through the training course, you will be able to see your workforce thrive in a truly sensible manner. In addition, methodology is necessary where your workforce will be capable to:

Carry out a thriving performance in the world of business.
Focus on things that are actually important like efficient customer based training.
Obtain positivity in as much as their performance in the workplace is a concern.
Be well informed with the modern training schemes and strategies.

5. Tailored

Regardless if you have a huge company with thousands of employees or a very modest payment processing solution like the EMV Merchant Processing Cincinnati, there are some training courses accessible. This will effectively go with your particular needs, provide you the bespoke training as well as practices that your business needs, and give an individually planned training to your employees.

6. Experts

Prior to committing your business in any training course, you also have to think of the teaching level. Be sure to know the skills of the professionals who will undertake the training courses. It is also important to know what your employees will expect from the training course. In addition, it is necessary to know the kind of support materials that the trainers will actually use for the term of the course.

7. Cost

You have to plan for your budget. If you think it will be costlier on your part, why not negotiate with a proper company or provide several workshops than a

You have to plan for your budget. If you think it will be costlier on your part, why not negotiate with a proper company or provide several workshops than a long-term program.

When considering a bespoke for your workforce, there are things that need to be considered. If you truly want to have efficient and competent employees who can help your business grow, then a bespoke training can be a very good help.

Denise Caron-Quinn is now an Evernote Certified Consultant

Evernote is a remarkable productivity tool that offers cloud-based storage, flexibility, and multi-platform support. We’re pleased to announce that In Order to Succeed Founder, Denise Caron-Quinn, has become an Evernote Certified Consultant. Having completed the comprehensive Evernote Business training, Denise is recognized as an Evernote expert. She can help show clients how to quickly get Evernote Business set up for their team and guide them towards maximum productivity.

Benefits of Working with an Evernote Certified Consultant:

Custom-designed workflows tailored to meet your needs
Guidance on how to best deploy Evernote in your business
In-person assistance to ensure fast adoption of Evernote among your team
Access to a personal go-to expert when you have questions
From small tasks to major projects, Evernote is where you’ll achieve your best work, day in and day out. As one workspace that lives across your phone, tablet, and computer, Evernote is the most productive office for modern teams.

Getting Started with Evernote

Interested in trying Evernote?

Sign up for an Evernote account and get one month of Evernote Premium for free

Contact us to get started using Evernote for you or your team.

Denise is looking forward to attending the Evernote Conference: EC4. Please join her and use code EB25 for 25% off registration fee.
Evernote Business Certified Consultants

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5 Tips to manage emails

Is your email running your life? Here are five tips to help you manage your inbox so it doesn’t manage you.

Merge accounts: to the degree to which you are able to do so, to avoid having to check multiple inboxes.
Mute emails: when you are one of many on a distribution list. This way anyone who hits “reply all” won’t reach you.
Be an aggressive unsubscriber.
Delete immediately any email that does not require you to unsubscribe, respond or is basically just not important.
Sometimes it is sufficient to fit your message in just the subject line and leave the body of an email empty. Fight the urge to over-communicate and hopefully others will follow your lead.
Respond to everything within one day: any email that requires you to do anything besides delete immediately should be taken care of within 24 hours. After 24 hours people start to get annoyed and may send you more messages. It’s not always possible to make a full reply immediately, especially if it’s a low priority request that you can’t delegate. But when a request or notification is read, simply ask if they can connect with you the next day. By putting the onus on them, they’ll remind you or manage the problem themselves. If it’s something you really have to do, just type back, “I got this. Stay tuned.” Then flag it to deal with when you are ready.
Establish a routine: Set aside time during your day to focus on your inbox. Maybe you check and respond to emails for 30 minutes in the morning and then again for 30 minutes at the end of the day. Figure out the best time for you to manage your inbox and then stick to it so it doesn’t manage you.

Tips to establish and maintain an efficient work environment

Establishing and maintaining an organized home office is the best way to ensure you’ll be able to stay productive no matter how chaotic your work becomes. Here are tips to establish and maintain an efficient work environment.

Establishing Order

Give yourself a clean slate – or, in this case, desk. Dispose of everything nonessential. Ease into the elimination process by getting rid of junk mail, outdated sticky notes, and any other plainly unnecessary items. Next, although the desk may already look better without the old junk, sort through everything else and ask yourself, “Do I absolutely need this?” If you hesitate or don’t know, there’s a good chance it doesn’t belong on your desktop; instead, store it in a nearby drawer or cabinet.

Focus on one area at a time. Each day, choose one drawer, a stack of papers, surface, or cabinet to organize. Otherwise, trying to tackle a whole room at once will lead to unnecessary stress and most likely be less effective.

Anything within arm’s reach should be something you need immediately. An ideal setup might include a lamp, monitor and keyboard, one notebook, two pens, a mug or drinking glass, and a telephone (family photo optional). Keep the personal items to a minimum. A desk covered in non-work-related material is an inevitable distraction.

Give everything a home. It is helpful to label these places if only until returning everything to its own spot becomes instinctive. An item should “live” as close as possible to where it is used, and only frequently used items should occupy the prime real estate of the spaces nearest to where you work.

Don’t try to fit too much into one place. Stashing all of your office supplies in one drawer is not organizing.

Toss dried-out pens and markers and never keep office items that are missing pieces, in poor condition or broken. It’s usually easier, faster, and cheaper to replace such things. Bring to storage any surplus items rather than cramming them into your desk or cabinet.

Rather than filing, consider eliminating completely anything that is out of date and no longer relevant.

Maintaining Order

Condense your notes-to-self. Keep one notebook at your desk at all times where you can jot down thoughts and reminders so they aren’t scattered on various sticky notes and/or pieces of scrap paper. An alternative to such a notebook is an electronic application such as Toodledo, which will go wherever you go, and can be updated on your smartphone or iPad real time as needed.

Dedicate at least 15 minutes at the beginning and/or end of each day to going through the papers on your desk in order to maintain an organized workspace. Work toward establishing a paperless office to the degree that you are able by utilizing products such as NeatConnect along with apps such as Evernote.

Resist the urge to pile. Open the mail immediately and separate it into categories, without necessarily even reading everything. Trash any unwanted mail and keep your bills in an allocated file or container. Keep anything requiring attention in an “action” file.

Keep a constant eye out for anything outdated, useless, or unwanted lying around that can be disposed of to make room for the new.

Keep your floor as neat as (or neater than) your desk. You should be free to roam about your office without worrying about tripping over or stepping on bags, shoes, or coats. Utilize wall space (but not too much!) by adding hooks for coats and umbrellas. A drawer or cabinet can be used to store bags and extra shoes.