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 Ease into the elimination process by getting rid of junk mail, outdated sticky notes, and any other plainly unnecessary items.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Rather than filing, consider eliminating completely anything that is out of date and no longer relevant.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.

Organize your home office to get more done

Is your home office a mess with papers, sticky notes and pens all piled up around your laptop or desktop monitor? Are there cardboard file boxes stacked in the corner with and without labels?

If this sounds like your work space, whether it’s in a corner of your living room, the den or the spare bedroom, you need to get organized and quickly.

Physical Organization

If you have to wade through a sea of stuff to get to your chair each day, you need to remove some of the clutter. Royale Scuderi of LifeHack recommends taking some time to go through everything in your home office and getting rid of anything you don’t use to do your work every day.

Knick-knacks, extra furniture, broken or unused equipment, like an old fax machine, need to be dealt with. Toss them, donate them or send them out to be fixed.

Organization Tools and Equipment

After you remove the clutter, be selective about what you keep in your office, and put everything in a place that makes sense. Tools that help keep things neat and organized include a label maker, filing system and desktop organizers like baskets and magazine racks.

  • You can start by labeling things in a logical manner with a good label maker.
  • Then, put things in work zones such as files and books in file cabinets and bookcases, supplies in closets and drawers, and calendar, pencil cup and telephone in a corner of your desk.
  • Get in the habit of putting things away as soon as you’re done using them.
  • And finally, organize paper flow with an inbox, a to-do box, a to-file box and an out box so paper is always going where it’s supposed to instead of piling up or falling to the floor under your desk.

Business Strategy Organization

One of the first things you can do to organize your business process is to review your business plan. This helps you focus your priorities and understand the things you need to do for your business. After you get your focus, use some tech tools to cut down on manual processes and instead try to automate them.

• Get a card scanner so every contact is captured digitally in a database. This makes sales letters and other business correspondence semi-automated because you can instantly bring up contact information instead of looking for a card.

• If your printer doesn’t have a scanner, get rid of it, and get one that does. Scan things like vendor requirements, customer contracts, articles and other business documents so you can easily access them.

• Instead of a paper calendar and planner, put everything online with programs like Outlook or Evernote. When you open your email each morning, go into your calendar to check your schedule, appointments and to-do list.

• Move your files to the cloud so you won’t have to worry about computer crashes, viruses or fires. Or better yet, work in the cloud for even more organization and security. If you are new to cloud computing, check out Top 10 Cloud Storage for reviews and comparisons of different cloud providers.

Tax Tips : Self-Employed Taxpayers

If you are an independent contractor or run your own business, there are a few basic things to know when it comes to your federal tax return. Here are six tax tips you should know about income from self-employment:

  1. Self-employment income can include income you received for part-time work. This is in addition to income from your regular job.
  2. You must file a Schedule C, Profit or Loss from Business, or a Schedule C-EZ, Net Profit from Business, with your Form 1040.
  3. You may have to pay self-employment tax as well as income tax if you made a profit. Self-employment tax includes Social Security and Medicare taxes. Use a Schedule SE, Self-Employment Tax, to figure the tax. Make sure to file the schedule with your tax return.
  4. You may need to make estimated tax payments. People typically make these payments on income that is not subject to withholding. You may be charged a penalty if you do not pay enough taxes throughout the year.
  5. You can deduct some expenses you paid to run your trade or business. You can deduct most business expenses in full, but some must be capitalized. This means you can deduct a portion of the expense each year over a period of years.
  6. You can deduct business costs only if they are both ordinary and necessary. An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your industry. A necessary expense is one that is helpful and proper for your trade or business.

Visit the Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center on IRS.gov for all your federal tax needs. You can also get IRS tax forms and publications on IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Additional IRS Resources:

IRS YouTube Videos:

IRS Podcasts:

The above information was provided in a press release from the Internal Revenue Service. For more help on preparing your taxes and organizing your files contact professional organizing firm In Order to Succeed at info@inorderotsucceed.com, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Room to breathe and work: tricks to enhance a small office

Room to Breathe and Work: Tricks to Enhance a Small Office

The goal to live and work in smaller spaces and use space more efficiently is a great idea – it conserves energy, keeps us more organized and ensures that we can manage tasks well in just about any home or office building.

When it comes to setting up a small workspace, there are tricks in decor and furnishings that can help make the area feel bigger without adding square footage. Whether you work from a home office or you’re assigned a tiny cubicle, aspects such as lighting, paint, furniture choices and others will make a huge difference and help you feel more productive.

Furniture

The last thing you need is furniture that takes up so much space that you feel packed like a sardine into your small workplace. You shouldn’t have to squeeze between a desk and a chair to get to your door. Try these tips instead.

  • Get furniture to perform double duty, such as a seat that opens up to storage or a desk with leaves to pull out when you need them and tuck away when you don’t.
  • Invest in a backless office chair. It creates more visual space and your posture might even benefit.
  • Try to find pieces that neatly hide everything in cubby holes, drawers and generally away from sight. The less cluttered your space is, the bigger it will feel.
  • Avoid dark, clunky pieces of furniture in favor of a sleek, modern look.

Wall Color

If the walls feel like they’re closing in on you, fight back with some clever design tricks.

  • Light, airy paint makes a world of difference. And solid white walls aren’t your only option, so go ahead and get creative. Shades such as beige, light blues and greens and yellow are all great for expanding space.
  • Another trick concerning paint is to go monochromatic with the ceiling, trim and baseboards, choosing a slightly different tint of the same color for each. If you paint the trim and baseboards a lighter tint than the walls, the walls will look like they are farther away.

Lighting

Light is the easiest way to keep the eyes moving around a room and create the illusion of space.

  • Try lamps in four corners.
    Banish darkness and make every inch of space count with plenty of lamps.
  • Use natural light if possible.
    The view of the great outdoors will make your space seem much larger, so go ahead and make the most of your windows. You might even want to leave them unadorned, with no blinds or drapes. But if it proves to be too distracting, a sheer curtain will allow light while keeping you focused.
  • Try adding emergency light fixtures
    While planning for the lighing for your room, you can also think of adding emergency light fixtures in that. These type of lighting fixtures provide 90 minutes of emergency lighting during an evacuation emergency procedure. They are very durable, affordable and reliable.

Decor

Perhaps you’ve never thought about decorating a workspace as you would a house, but a few simple tweaks will enhance the space.

  • Pick a single color scheme.
    Your space will feel larger if you strive for visual organization and one way to accomplish this is grouping items by color. Whether it’s stationary, paperweights or pens, try to keep your room harmonious for best results.
  • Take it easy on the patterns.
    Busy patterns will confuse the eye and make your workspace shrink. Opt for solids in bright, sunny hues instead.
  • Use mirrors.
    Wall-to-wall mirrors might not be your style, but a strategically placed mirror opposite of the doorway will make the space seem much larger.
  • Put unsightly cords together.
    Don’t cover your floor space in wires; corral them into a cable box and tuck them away from sight.
  • Add shine when possible.
    Keeping surfaces clean and dusted will help them reflect and make the space much larger.
  • Don’t forget about the vertical space.
    There’s a reason so many people fit on the island of Manhattan – everything goes up instead of out. Take that same concept into your workspace by installing higher shelves. You may also want to place focal points such as artwork near the ceiling, in order to draw the eyes upward.
  • Keep the floors covered in a light rug.
    Don’t throw a dark rug at your feet – and don’t hesitate to place a rug lighter than the color of your floor. Make sure the rug’s color coordinates with the walls and other decorative accents.

Remember, physical space can equal mental space, and your personal work space is a great spot to practice making the most of every inch. Before you know it, you’ll feel more creative and productive with your newfound breathing room.

Garret Stembridge is part of the team at www.extraspace.com, a leading provider of self-storage facilities. Garret often writes about storage and organization topics for homes and for businesses.

5 Ways to get organized before tax season

Taxes are challenging, especially when you’re self-employed. Use these five tips to streamline your tax process and save time this coming year.

1. Maintain an organizational system to save time

Since you need the same basic documentation every year, even the simplest steps to getting organized will save you time. Begin by reviewing the list of needed materials, which includes receipts and forms demonstrating all income and expenses (e.g., W2s, 1099s and interest statements from stocks and bonds). Review all bank statements for deductible expenses, such as business lunches, business cards, office flowers and professional training. As Intuit notes, the IRS often takes a closer look at solo entrepreneurs, especially those that take a home office deduction. Get your records in order now so that they’re ready in the event of an audit.

2. Track down information to minimize delays

As you get organized, you may discover you’re missing documents. Get on top of this now by calling clients, reaching out to your bank to get duplicate bank statements, reviewing your bank and credit card accounts for discrepancies and so on. At this time, determine how to handle any expenses that are both business and personal. If you bought a new truck to haul supplies but also use it for grocery shopping, do your best to evaluate its personal use vs. professional use now. Any information you need to prove your business use, obtain at this time.

3. Understand how to classify contractors and employees

As a solopreneur, you may have hired a part time or temporary employee—and this person needs to be classified properly for tax purposes. Generally, you’ll be using a contractor so you do not have to withhold tax money. If you try to get by with a contractor who should be an employee, you can run into trouble. Have that person complete a 1099 form so you can report her earned income to the government. If you use Intuit payroll services, you can easily complete the needed paperwork and send it directly within the system.

4. Start saving for your SEP tax

Solopreneurs are subject to a self-employment or SEP tax, which is around 15.3 percent. In essence, you are responsible for paying your own taxes since no company is withholding income and sending it to the IRS for you. Consider using a money tracking app like Mint to establish a savings goal and automate regular savings. This way, you can pay your taxes without cutting into your cash flow.

5. Seek help early

If you’re confused or short on time, look for an accountant who specializes in solopreneur taxes. You’re best off finding an accountant before mid-April, so she can devote the full time needed to your finances and maximize your deductions.

For more tax organizing tips visit In Order to Succeed on Facebook and on Twitter.

5 Simple Tips for Uncluttering Your Inbox

Long gone are the days of “letter mountains” where the only reasonable way to cut through the clutter was paper shredding. Digital has taken over practically all forms of communication – funneling everything into one place: our inbox.

Between social media updates, work correspondence, and personal emails, we’re getting a larger and larger influx of emails daily. How can you tame the disorder of the typical Gmail inbox in 2013? The following five tips should get you started:

1. Unsubscribe!

Maybe you’re still getting campus news emails years after graduating or maybe you forgot to say no to a company’s newsletter when making a purchase. Either way, a lot of us are subscribed to newsletters and ads that do not interest us. Think of the time you’d save if you never had to see this junk again! Most of these emails contain unsubscribe links near the bottom of the page. If they don’t, you always have Gmail’s “Mark as Spam” feature.

2. Take advantage of customizable tabs.

While changes to tools we use so frequently, such as Gmail, often seem aggravating at first, the new tabs in Gmail can be quite useful in un-cluttering your inbox. With tabs like “social,” you’ll never have to sift through Facebook updates to find work emails or bank statements again!

And, since these tabs are optional, you can always revert your inbox to its previous settings. You really have nothing to lose.

Also, consider integrating apps into your workflow to keep files out of your inbox and in the cloud.

3. Utilize stars and folders.

Maybe you received an important email this morning that you need to set aside until you have time for it. Rather than letting it get lost in the abyss of your inbox, star it! Then, regularly check your starred mail by clicking “starred” under “more” on the left side of the screen. Once an email is taken care of, you can un-star it.

Alternatively, create your own customized folders for important messages. For companies and practices like real estate law, organizing files, transcripts, records, and documents is essentially the glue that holds everything together. If you get a particularly large number of important emails, creating folders that you regularly check are a good alternative to stars. And if you really want to be sure you’ll look back at an email, mark it as unread.

4. Create a designated “email time.”

In the 21st Century it’s easy to fall into the trap of constantly checking your email 24/7. Many of us would start to panic if we were “disconnected” from our email for only several hours. Life as an email addict, while it may seem efficient on the surface, is a very inefficient lifestyle. You can never get big projects done without constantly taking breaks to check your email, even when you have no important messages waiting for you the majority of the time! Organize your routine so you have one or several designated times during the day when you check your email and type up any necessary responses.

5. Consider other communication methods.

Remember the phone’s original purpose: making calls! While email is perhaps a more stress-free method of communication, think of all that the information that is lost and the misunderstandings that can arise when your recipient can’t hear the tone of your voice!

Think about companies that have recently emerged over the past 10-15 years to fuel the digital world. These practices are new and confusing to people who’ve grown up working without all the digital interference. A company offering SEO cannot explain everything in a few emails or on a PDF. They must make calls to educate new and/or foreign organizations.

And when you need a response right away, a 20 message email conversation is much less efficient than a 10 minute phone call or IM conversation.

Author: Jesse Aaron is a professional blogger with a passion for homebrewing and recommends using quality metal for any homebrewing project.  Follow Jesse on Google Plus.

How to Declutter Your Inbox

Long gone are the days of “letter mountains” where the only reasonable way to cut through the clutter was paper shredding. Digital has taken over practically all forms of communication – funneling everything into one place: our inbox.

Between social media updates, work correspondence, and personal emails, we’re getting a larger and larger influx of emails daily. How can you tame the disorder of the typical Gmail inbox in 2013? The following five tips will tell you how to declutter your inbox:

1. Unsubscribe!

Maybe you’re still getting campus news emails years after graduating or maybe you forgot to say no to a company’s newsletter when making a purchase. Either way, a lot of us are subscribed to newsletters and ads that do not interest us. Think of the time you’d save if you never had to see this junk again! Most of these emails contain unsubscribe links near the bottom of the page. If they don’t, you always have Gmail’s “Mark as Spam” feature.

2. Take advantage of customizable tabs.

While changes to tools we use so frequently, such as Gmail, often seem aggravating at first, the new tabs in Gmail can be quite useful in un-cluttering your inbox. With tabs like social, you’ll never have to sift through Facebook updates to find work emails or bank statements again!

And, since these tabs are optional, you can always revert your inbox to its previous settings. You really have nothing to lose.

Also, consider integrating apps into your workflow to keep files out of your inbox and in the cloud.

3. Utilize stars and folders.

Maybe you received an important email this morning that you need to set aside until you have time for it. Rather than letting it get lost in the abyss of your inbox, star it! Then, regularly check your starred mail by clicking “starred” under “more” on the left side of the screen. Once an email is taken care of, you can unstar it.

Alternatively, create your own customized folders for important messages. For companies and practices like real estate law, organizing files, transcripts, records, and documents is essentially the glue that holds everything together. If you get a particularly large number of important emails, creating folders that you regularly check are a good alternative to stars. And if you really want to be sure you’ll look back at an email, mark it as unread.

4. Create a designated email time.

In the 21st Century, it’s easy to fall into the trap of constantly checking your email 24/7. Many of us would start to panic if we were disconnected from our email for only several hours. Life as an email addict, while it may seem efficient on the surface, is a very inefficient lifestyle. You can never get big projects done without constantly taking breaks to check your email, even when you have no important messages waiting for you the majority of the time! Organize your routine so you have one or several designated times during the day when you check your email and type up any necessary responses.

5. Consider other communication methods.

Remember the phone’s original purpose: making calls! While email is perhaps a more stress-free method of communication, think of all that the information that is lost and the misunderstandings that can arise when your recipient can’t hear the tone of your voice!

Think about companies that have recently emerged over the past 10-15 years to fuel the digital world. These practices are new and confusing to people who’ve grown up working without all the digital interference. A company offering SEO cannot explain everything in a few emails or on a PDF. They must make calls to educate new and/or foreign organizations.

And when you need a response right away, a 20 message email conversation is much less efficient than a 10-minute phone call or IM conversation.

Author: Jesse Aaron is a professional blogger with a passion for homebrewing and recommends using quality metal for any homebrewing project. Follow Jesse on Google Plus.

Workin’ It with Awesome Apps!

Everyone knows that applications have improved our personal lives, but they can also drastically improve our work lives as well. Many applications available for smartphones today can contribute directly to employee productivity and success, and sometimes even to client satisfaction. Companies that rely heavily on mobile devices will find the installation of these applications can greatly affect what their employees are able to get done with the time they have.

ClouD Explorer

ClouD Explorer allows users to sync certain files among their computers and other devices. Anything placed in a ClouD Explorer folder will sync between the user’s computer or Google Drive and will be accessible via the user’s smartphone. This app is an excellent way for employees to quickly sync their documents between their work and personal computers and to pull up the documents they need while they’re mobile. The service is only 99 cents and each employee can have their own account.

GoPayment by Intuit

GoPayment by Intuit is one of the leading applications available for taking payments through a smartphone. Signing up for the service through Quickbooks offers you a free credit and debit card reader that is compatible with BlackBerry cell phones and others such as iPhone and Android. Businesses can purchase extra card readers at a low price. GoPayment by Intuit, as well as other smartphone-friendly merchant processors, is extremely useful because it allows employees to take payments in the field and on the floor. This increase in efficiency comes at virtually no extra cost because the service itself is extremely competitive. In addition to this, the GoPayment subscription service can be used as an ordinary merchant processor and card numbers can be manually keyed in at a slight cost increase. Transactions can also be automatically entered into a company’s Quickbooks file for fast and consistent accounting.

Skype

Skype has become the main application for those who need video conferencing on the go. Skype offers face-to-face conferencing, instant messaging and voice calls. Businesses that require their employees to occasionally call in and would prefer to conference with them visually will find that Skype is one of the best and easiest ways to do so. It can also save on long distance calls for businesses that involve a lot of travel due to the fact that it operates outside of the phone’s calling plan. The instant messaging feature also makes it easy for employees on computer systems to quickly send messages to those who are out of the office. Skype is available for the BlackBerry, iPhone and Android.

BetterNote

An essential companion to meetings, BetterNote makes it easy for anyone to take notes anywhere. Not only can this be used by administrative staff members, but it can also be used by upper management to organize the information gathered from a discussion. This app supports multimedia formatting and has a very simple, intuitive interface that leaves nothing to chance. Note takers can organize their notes with tags for easy searching. This app supports large files and portrait or landscape modes. The best part? It’s free.

Workin’ It with Awesome Apps!

Everyone knows that applications have improved our personal lives, but they can also drastically improve our work lives as well. Many applications available for smartphones today can contribute directly to employee productivity and success, and sometimes even to client satisfaction. Companies that rely heavily on mobile devices will find the installation of these applications can greatly affect what their employees are able to get done with the time they have. Here are some awesome apps to look into.

ClouD Explorer

ClouD Explorer allows users to sync certain files among their computers and other devices. Anything placed in a ClouD Explorer folder will sync between the user’s computer or Google Drive and will be accessible via the user’s smartphone. This app is an excellent way for employees to quickly sync their documents between their work and personal computers and to pull up the documents they need while they’re mobile. The service is only 99 cents and each employee can have their own account.

GoPayment by Intuit

GoPayment by Intuit is one of the leading applications available for taking payments through a smartphone. Signing up for the service through Quickbooks offers you a free credit and debit card reader that is compatible with BlackBerry cell phones and others such as iPhone and Android. Businesses can purchase extra card readers at a low price. GoPayment by Intuit, as well as other smartphone-friendly merchant processors, is extremely useful because it allows employees to take payments in the field and on the floor. This increase in efficiency comes at virtually no extra cost because the service itself is extremely competitive. In addition to this, the GoPayment subscription service can be used as an ordinary merchant processor and card numbers can be manually keyed in at a slight cost increase. Transactions can also be automatically entered into a company’s Quickbooks file for fast and consistent accounting.

Skype

Skype has become the main application for those who need video conferencing on the go. Skype offers face-to-face conferencing, instant messaging and voice calls. Businesses that require their employees to occasionally call in and would prefer to conference with them visually will find that Skype is one of the best and easiest ways to do so. It can also save on long distance calls for businesses that involve a lot of travel due to the fact that it operates outside of the phone’s calling plan. The instant messaging feature also makes it easy for employees on computer systems to quickly send messages to those who are out of the office. Skype is available for the BlackBerry, iPhone, and Android.

BetterNote

An essential companion to meetings, BetterNote makes it easy for anyone to take notes anywhere. Not only can this be used by administrative staff members, but it can also be used by upper management to organize the information gathered from a discussion. This app supports multimedia formatting and has a very simple, intuitive interface that leaves nothing to chance. Note takers can organize their notes with tags for easy searching. This app supports large files and portrait or landscape modes. The best part? It’s free.

When In Doubt Shred It: Clearing Out the Family Files

Cleaning out the clutter in your home is always a good idea. Mountains of papers can overwhelm your home office if you don’t deal with these documents. Simply throwing old papers in the trash, on the other hand, is never a good idea. Your trash can become an identity thief’s treasure. MSN reported that identity theft affects 11 million people per year and costs an estimated $54 billion annually. Identities are commonly stolen by snatching a person’s personal information online, which, thanks to the rise of social media, it has made it easier than ever to obtain a person’s personal information.

High-tech methods are not the only tool in the identity thief’s tool box. Dumpster diving is still a common method for identity thieves to find targets for their next scam. Among the key dumpster diving facts reported by CNN is that dumpster diving is the main source for finding personal information in 1 percent of all identity theft cases. It might not sound like a high number, but failing to shred sensitive documents can easily put you at risk of falling into that group.

Where do you begin when it comes to shredding? Here are a few suggestions on what you can do with documents that contain your personal information:

Save Important Records

Some documents are not meant to ever be shredded. You should hold onto and file away records that offer evidence of important past events. This includes financial statements, medical documents, proof of ownership or purchase on major assets and proof of identity documents.

Tax returns and related documents should be retained for a minimum of three years. Monthly credit card and bank statements need to be stored for at least a year before discarding. Loan statements should be kept until the loan is paid in full. Medical bills need to be saved for a minimum of five years and as many as 10 years. Receipts for major purchases, such as jewelry, should be filed away indefinitely for insurance purposes. Privacy Rights Clearinghouse suggests, when in doubt, to keep important records for a minimum of 10 years.

Store Sensitive Information

Putting records containing important personal information — from birth certificates to wills – under lock and key is the best deterrent to potential identity thieves. A good option is to purchase a locking file cabinet or safe and put all of your sensitive documents in one location. You can also scan those documents onto a secured hard drive or flash drive, but retain physical copies of certain records – such as a birth certificate – in a safe place.

Any document that contains personal information, such as bank account numbers, social security numbers, date of birth and your address, should be shredded immediately if you do not need to retain it for your personal records.

Eliminating Electronic Data

Simply moving documents to your computer’s trash folder and emptying it isn’t good enough when it comes time to replace it. A better choice is to wipe your hard drive clean and reinstall your operating system. The best method for erasing data if you plan to recycle a computer or resell it to another party, according to Tech News Daily, is to physically remove and destroy the hard drive itself.

Obsolete mobile devices are a little more tricky. You can use apps designed to wipe your tablet or smart phone and restore it to factory defaults. Still, the best course of action is to physically destroy the mobile device so it is non-functional. If you plan to discard old CDs and flash drives, break them into smaller pieces so they cannot be used.

For more tips visit In Order to Succeed on the web and follow In Order to Succeed  on Facebook and on Twitter.