Increasing productivity and getting through an ever-growing to-do list is a constant battle for most small business owners. Common roadblocks include an excess of emails, too many meetings, or struggling to manage an overbearing workload. However, one of the biggest barriers standing in the way of your productivity might surprise you – office clutter. Use these easy office organizing tips to minimalize your work space to help increase the efficiency and productivity of your small business.
As the amount of objects on your desk and in the office grows, each piece of stimulation competes for “neural representation”, meaning your focus is pulled in several directions. Clutter around us not only has been proven to compete for our attention – affecting our ability to focus and process information – but it can also increase stress and have significant impacts on productivity.
Identify the issue and get organized
The first step to office organizing is identifying the source of clutter. Do you have excess documents, papers, collateral or reports lying around or crowding your desk drawers? Scanning tools like the ScanSnap iX Series transform that would-be clutter into digital files. Cloud-based organization features allow you to store directly to Evernote, Google Drive, Google Photos and Box to create a digital filing system. The Fujitsu ScanSnap also has built in features like OCR (optical character recognition) that allow you to add keywords and create searchable files.
In a recent survey, Fujitsu found that consumers are increasingly choosing a paperless lifestyle. 84% reported feeling more secure with digitized copies of important files, while a whopping 62% shared they had frequently lost important paper documents that they wish they had digitized beforehand. Millennials identified most strongly with the concept of digital minimalism and felt that a simple digital organization process for files was crucial. This is a predictor that the trend of going paperless in the office will only grow as millennial-aged employees move into management and decision-making roles in the coming years.
Take stock of what you need, and what you should eliminate
One helpful tool you should invest in for your small business: a shredder. The final step in digitizing your life is to actually throw out the physical papers. Does your office have magazine or newspaper subscriptions? Opt for the digital versions and you’ll be amazed at how much space is saved.
Is there a mail overflow issue at your company? Another tip for office organizing is to create a quick filing system that allows you to upload invoices and other important files to the cloud. This helps organize your needed documents and identify what you can automatically trash. Encourage your clients to adopt paperless billing and ensure your office utilities and other bills are set to the paperless option.
Storing excess office supplies? Another easy way to declutter your small business is by setting up recurring subscription purchases via Amazon. That way, you’ll only have the supplies you truly need at any given time.
Streamline your workflow
Are you still using notepads, sticky notes, or paper agendas? Not only does this take an unnecessary toll on the environment, but it can also be an ineffective strategy. Instead, free apps like Evernote and Wunderlist can help you create a digital to-do list synced between your devices with mobile, wearable, tablet and desktop applications. They allow users to collaborate with others on a team, set reminders and organize personal and work tasks in one place. Write down each task, deadline and meeting in real time.
What other ways can you eliminate clutter and practice minimalism in your workspace? The improvements in your work, productivity and, ultimately, mood will certainly be worth your continued efforts in office organizing.
The SmallBizRising Blog is designed to be an educational content hub pulling information, best practices and practical advice for the small business owner and features topics including accounting, marketing, technology and more. Be sure to subscribe to stay up to date with new content as it is posted. The blog was created by The Neat Company and receives contributed content from a group of contributing companies that provide technology, services and solutions to small businesses.