Spring is in the air again and for many that means time to clean up. However, Spring Cleaning isn’t just for your home. You need to annually air out your business to lay the foundation for a productive and fertile business year ahead. It’s easy to get behind on filing and organizing as the busy days of the year add up. That’s why it’s important for every Entrepreneur to devote a weekend each year to cleaning out the previous year’s clutter. Spring is a great time to do this as so many are filing their taxes, rounding up and eliminating paperwork and preparing to move into the busy summer ahead. It may take an investment of time over a day or two to properly clean out the old but it’s worth the time and attention to set the tone for the new.
Here are three organizational tips every Entrepreneur can follow to spring forward in 2014.
De-clutter Your Paperwork
Springtime for many will mean tax time, or at least personal taxes. That means a lot of paperwork, statements and accumulated documents that are ready to be removed from your active filing cabinets. All of the 2013 paperwork and files should be moved into your 2013 labeled banker boxes and either stored away or sent to the accountant’s office. Pack them up and start to make new files for all your anticipated reoccurring paperwork to keep your cabinet from becoming morbidly obese. There’s nothing worse than looking for a document from last month and having to search through a cabinet or file with documents dating back to 1988. Also, if the documents are things that can be shredded, get rid of them. Don’t be a paperwork hoarder. Old phone bills, utility bills and other non-essential documents especially ones that could be replaced from printing an online duplicate like bank statements or credit card statements, should be shredded to maximize space. Keep the files and paperwork you actually need, properly organized and stored and you’ll save a lot of time in the year ahead.
Update Your Software Programs
How many versions behind on software updates are you? Running the latest software for your website platform, Smartphone, computer operating system, email and anti-virus security is key to business productivity. During the incredibly packed days, Entrepreneurs will often skip the updates to save time. No one likes to sit and wait for an update and its restart when you’re in the middle of a working sprint. However, all that outdated software can cost you. Important security updates that get skipped leave you and your system vulnerable. Smartphone and operating system upgrades that are missed will leave you with incompatible documents or lagging response times. Don’t risk getting behind with all your software updates. Batch task this process and devote an hour to updating all your platforms to their latest system updates. It’ll save you time and effort in the long run.
Create Or Update Desktop And Email Folders
You know that a stack of incorporation papers and invoices in a pile on your desk is a bad business idea, so you’ve created filing systems to organize and protect your important documents. Are you applying that same logic to your important soft copies? If you have more than ten or twenty emails in your inbox or that amount of uncategorized documents littered across your desktop screen, it’s time to devote a day to organizing. Keeping labeled files you can back-up for your email and documents will save you a lot of frustration and time. Losing important emails or files means a lot of wasted effort trying to search through your computer. Also, with a crowded inbox you can be missing important emails that require your response or even get your email so packed that incoming and outgoing messages are blocked. Then it’s a manual task of clearing space to get back your server data necessary to email correspond again. That can be irksome when you’re on a deadline. Take the time today to devote a few hours solely to organizing your desktop files and email inboxes. Better yet, use your virtual assistant or a qualified office staffer to help do it for you!
Adam Toren is an Award Winning Author, Serial Entrepreneur, and Investor. He Co-Founded YoungEntrepreneur.com along with his brother Matthew. Adam is co-author of the newly released book: Small Business, Big Vision: “Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right” and also co-author of Kidpreneurs.
Follow Adam on Twitter: @thebizguy