How often do you think “if I was only more organized” when looking for something you have misplaced? Keeping organized is one of the biggest challenges for business owners and really almost anybody.
- Newsweek reports “The average American wastes 55 minutes a day (roughly 12 days a year) looking for things they own but can’t find.”
- “The typical executive wastes 150 hours a year (almost an entire month), searching for lost information. For someone earning $50,000 a year, this loss is equivalent to $3,842 annually” says Forbes ASAP
- US News and World Report says “Average Americans spend one year of their life looking for lost or misplaced items.”
The above stats are probably doubled (or at least the frustration level) if you are a small business owner who doesn’t have a staff. You might figure that a small home office would curtail the problem, but often it just means that things tend to migrate to other areas of the house and, if you’re mobile at all, that just makes it even worse. Is that file in your car? Did you leave it at Starbucks?
The key is organization and there are a plethora of organizational tools available to small business owners that can help. I love technology and I’d like to share some of the tools I’ve found handy in my life and business.
4 Home/Office Organizational Tools Everybody Needs
- A scanner – I use the Neat scanner and it comes with some software that makes organizing easier. There are plenty of other options and most printers these days come with a scanner option. This can help reduce paper clutter and you can drop your scanned files into a cloud-based filing system to be able to access them from anywhere.
- Cloud-based files –Google Drive and Dropbox are both very useful. Mac users have iCloud. This is really handy if you do presentations outside of your office or do a lot of networking.
- A tool for organizing notes – Rather than 1000 sticky notes all over your office, file those little gems somewhere like Evernote, so they will be organized and (again) available pretty much everywhere you have an internet connection (and even on your smartphone)! Evernote will let you scan business cards and search the database easily.
- Lists – if you’re like me, you make lists. To-do lists, lists of things you want to blog about, etc. Keeping those lists organized can be challenging. Try To-Doist, Workflowy or Remember the Milk or something meant for task management like Asana.
The nice thing about most of these tools is they have at least a free trial (if not a free version) so you can try them out and see if they work for you.
As much as I embrace technology, I have to confess that I still love an ‘analog’ planner. I know a number of people who swear by Google Calendar or some other electronic planner, and I do use Google Calendar, but I really like to actually WRITE in a planner.
I know there are a lot of planners to choose from, so I did some research and narrowed the list down for you. Now all you have to do is select what you will use your planner to keep track of for you and make the purchase.
- The Passion Planner – Helpful if you have a lot appointments or meetings and good for breaking down big goals into smaller action plans.
- Dream Big Life Planner – This is a recent Kickstarter project (that got fully funded). If you’re someone who needs help getting and staying focused, this is a good choice.
- Leonie Dawson’s Workbooks & Planner – These are actually more of a “system” than just a planner. There is a “biz” workbook, a “life” workbook and a weekly diary/planner. Great way to gain focus AND have fun. This is my fav. Here is my affiliate link.
- Day-Timer – a tried and true classic. Many layouts and very practical for those who are more focused on keeping track of appointments and data than dreaming/creative endeavors.
It’s easy to say you don’t have time to spend getting organized, but the question really is “do you really have six (or more) weeks a year to waste because you’re NOT organized?”
In the end, which system you use to keep organized is less important than just having a system in place. Get more business tips from me by clicking this link.
How do you stay organized? Feel free to share your time-saving tips!