Even though it’s typically called spring cleaning, the New Year is a great time to clean off your desk and start fresh for 2014. This time of year isn’t just about having a resolution, but also having an empty slate with which to get started and to run your business without any unnecessary clutter. Here’s how to declutter your Louisville virtual office, figuratively and literally, for 2014:
Create a Paper System
Even in a virtual office, it’s tough to eliminate all the paperwork. The paperless office, as hard as you may try, may only exist 98% of the time. The other 2% may include receipts, government paperwork, applications, bank statements, your planner or to-do list. Not every business in the world has gone paperless, and until everyone does, you won’t be entirely paperless either.
So, get rid of the paper clutter with a paper system. This could be a simple folder or binder where papers can be kept, or it could be a bit more organized with hanging files or baskets that are labeled. If you already have a pile of papers that need to be organized, then go through those papers first before creating your system. This way, your system can be tailored to the papers that you already have, and you’re not wasting time and materials creating a system that doesn’t the types of paperwork you work with on a regular basis.
It’s one thing to have a great system that keeps your desk and your files organized. But, it’s another to ensure that you don’t have too much stuff, that your papers and other necessary work tools don’t overload the great system you created. Therefore, set limits. When you can’t fit anything else into the file cabinet, spend the time to make room by throwing away what you don’t want or need. Do the same with the folder or binder you keep with you daily, as well as your tech tools. Your smartphone and computer hard drive are finite also, so you want to set a limit on the amount of stuff you keep on your devices. Besides, if you’re too close to capacity, then your devices may run slower than normal.
Don’t Forget Virtual Clutter
Speaking of technology such as apps and email, let’s get to virtual clutter. There is such a thing and it can slow you down unless you remove the clutter. Cleaning your virtual clutter would mean removing apps from your smartphone that you don’t use, organizing your desktop so there are fewer files and icons, and even going through your email and deleting messages you don’t need anymore. A virtual office is supposed to help you be more productive, but the space can only do so much if you’re wasting time finding the right app or searching for the right file on your computer. Your virtual work tools need to be organized too.
Yes, this would include your email too. Inbox zero is difficult to reach, but that doesn’t mean taking the time every month or every quarter to respond to forgotten email and to get rid of the old ones isn’t a bad idea. If you can find the time, then creating an organization system for your emails (so it isn’t clutter) could add to your productivity.
Why wait for the spring, especially since the snow and the polar vortex have kept many of us indoors? Stay warm and clean up now! This way, you can start fresh even before the snow melts.