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Summer slowdown? Aim to catch up a bit

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It seems everyone is on vacation — everyone, that is, except you. How are you expected to work while the phone isn’t ringing, the e-mails are slowed to a fraction of their usual pace and getting answers to questions takes significantly longer? For A-type personalities, a.k.a. entrepreneurs, this time of year can be really frustrating. But the lazy days of summer don’t have to equate to lazy days at work.

Despite hearing this complaint from some colleagues and feeling a tad of it as well, the reality is, not everyone is on vacation. There is still lots of work to do — even if sales efforts are stalled because the decision makers are in fact away vacationing. The slower time actually presents an opportunity that only comes twice a year — once over the Christmas and New Year’s holiday and again in July.

Having uninterrupted time can be a huge advantage. Early summer is the perfect time to get organized, review strategic plans and tweak your marketing efforts.

To start, let’s get your office organized.

How many times during the year do you wish you were able to actually get through the accumulated information in your office and purge your files? Well, now is your chance.

Where should you start? In the past, I’ve hired a professional organizer to get my office in order. Once the systems are in place it’s much easier to maintain. Plus, if you have difficulty getting started on your organizational journey, a professional organizer is a huge help. If that’s not possible for you, then here is some expert advice.

According to professional organizer Betsi Simmons, the first step in effective organization is to identify what is working in your office flow and what is not. From there you can identify ideal case scenarios and take action to move you closer to your organizational goal — whatever that may look like for you.

Next, Simmons recommends clearing all the garbage out of your office. Box and remove everything that is not needed in your office. Especially for people who work from home, it’s not unusual for items that belong in the other rooms of the house to creep their way into your workspace. Doing those steps first should give you a much cleaner slate from which to start.

Once everything that is in the room is supposed to stay in the office, collect like items and put them in zones. For example: all books should go in one spot, all office supplies in another, client files in one section, while financials and business support files go in another. The most effective organizational flow will have you going to one logical area to get all stationery, another to access all computer disks, all professional development in another area and so on. The clutter comes when each item doesn’t belong in a specific spot that makes sense and is easy to find. Placing stamps and envelopes together makes sense. Putting pads of paper with computer back-up disks in a pile and throwing a book on top doesn’t.

Creating a system may take a day, but the time savings in knowing where everything is will pay dividends come the busy fall season.

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