How to organize your paperwork

Government grants for small business

Small business and government grants resources home
Small business and government grants resources home

How to organize your paperwork

We must all be efficient and productive in today's business world. Being organized helps you handle tasks quickly so that you have more time and space to do what you truly want to do.

1. One-time mail system.

Have an In Box on your desk for new mail/information. Look at your mail once a day. Review each piece of mail once to decide whether to do it, delegate it or dump it. If it adds value to your business or is required for doing business, do it or delegate it. If not, then dump it. If you keep it, then categorize it using the A, B, C system. Use your time wisely.

2. Categories for performing your work.

Set up desk trays labeled A, B, and C. Items in category A must be handled today. Category B items must be handled this week. Category C items are generally filing that must be kept because they have some value, such as invoices, tax returns, and statements.

3. Prioritize your work within categories A and B.

Sort the categories into 1, 2, and 3. A1 must be done NOW, it is "hot" or "urgent." A2 can be done this AM. A3 can be done by the end of the day. B1 is done on Monday. B2 done by Wednesday. B3 done by the end of the week. Make the decision once, then do the work.

4. Filing.

Set a day and time each week for filing. Don't let it stack up. Give yourself space to work.

5. Purge your files on a regular schedule.

For example, purge files every six months. Send these documents to storage. This gives you more space to work.

6. Storing records.

Store documents in boxes. Mark the contents of each box. For instance, clients A-F2002. Mark the destruction date on the box, D = June 02. Base your destruction date on the legal requirements for your industry.

7. Toss out stored documents on a regular schedule.

For example, two times per year, visit the storage area and remove boxes that are beyond the destruction date. Depending on your industry, they may need to be shredded rather than put in the trash.

8. Color code your records.

For example, clients with first names beginning with A-F are in Orange folders; G-K Yellow; L-P Blue; Q-Z Green. This will save you time when you are searching for a file. You can also apply this to AP, AR, Payroll, and Taxes. This can also be done by year. For example, 2002 AP is blue; 2003 AP is purple.

9. Hot files.

Put a red cover on files that you consider "hot." These could be urgent projects, legally or financially sensitive, or important VIP clients. Keep these visually at your fingertips.

10. Use out guides.

If you work with other people and share files, create a check-out system so that files are not lost. Put the file name, taken-by name, and date on a card and place it in an out guide box. When you can't find what you want, check the box to see if your co-worker is using the file. Be sure to remove the card from the box when you return the file.




How to To Overcome Fear

When faced with fear, we often talk ourselves out of taking action. Most of the time, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

1. Breathe!

When we are excited, we get body sensations that can stop us. Stop, take some deep breaths and then proceed. This is especially important to help your voice sound calm when your knees are shaking.

2. Remember, it isnít about you!

When you get rejection, it is usually because the other person doesnít need what you are offering. It isnít personal. They may just be having a bad day. Or if they are genuinely a nasty person, they gave you a break by not prolonging the relationship!

3. Picture The WORST

Can you live through that? We awfulize most things and imagine the outcome far worse than it usually is. Ask yourself, what is the worst that can happen? Most of the time, you can handle it!

4. Master The Topic

If we feel confident in our knowledge, the fear about sharing it with others decreases. Even if they donít see value or agree with us, we feel okay, because we have developed an expertise that gives us confidence in ourselves.

5. Put something at stake or give yourself reward

A reward or penalty that is big enough will motivate sometimes. A sales trainer coached a real estate agent in making regular prospecting calls to write a check for $1000 to his ex-wife and have his secretary send it any day he did not make the number of prospecting calls he said he would.

6. Get a Buddy

Taking on something fearful with another person often will get you through it and keep you from having those dialogues in your head that try to talk you out of it. A coach can also help shine light into those dark areas!

7. Talk about it out loud

Once you identify the fear and talk about it out loud, it will often diminish. Another technique is to close your eyes and picture yourself doing that thing you are afraid to do. Now run through the same scene but do it very fast. Now run through it very slow, next make it silly, make it brighter, make it dimmer. Has some of the fear dissipated?

8. Read something inspirational or listen to tapes.

Play your favorite motivational tape or read something inspirational right before you take action to help your mind focus on what is POSSIBLE rather than what could derail you. Think about how you will feel when you have taken action. Write down the top 10 feelings youíll have when you have done this thing!

9. Use your strengths-take the easy way!

Sometimes we focus on thinking we "should" do things that just arenít our strengths. Take a look to see if you can accomplish what you want some other way. What easy ones can you do first? How can you leverage what you already have without having to tackle an unknown.

10. If you have a frog to swallow, do it quickly

Donít look at it too long. Sometimes, there is no way around the fact, you are going to have to take an action that is fearful. The longer you fret about it, there more energy you waste. JUST DO IT!!!!




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