How the holidays are the perfect period to tidy up paperwork

The Christmas festivities have died down, the wine is all by a memory, and the beloved Christmas music has been taken out of the CD player for another year. The busyness of Christmas Day is starting to recede from your memory, and before you know it, thoughts have returned to work.

But before you knuckle down to answer emails, or plan for the year ahead, there is one area of your business that really needs your attention, and this is the perfect time to do it. Paperwork!

For many it becomes the bane of their lives. Papers shoved in folders, piled in countless trays or left haphazard around the room and desk are not only untidy and disorganised, but can actually cost your business time and money! We all know how busy our working lives are, and sometimes it just doesn’t feel like there is time for sorting out paperwork, as our time is always being nabbed by the newest client, the loudest client, the urgent emails, and the ‘must do’s’ on our to-do lists.

Follow this easy step guide to sorting out your paperwork, and you’ll be set to go from the first week of January; free to keep building up your business:

Decide on a system that works for you. There is little point in touching a single piece of paper if you don’t know where it is going to be filed. Label them consistently and clearly if using the paper route.

Put all paperwork together in 1 pile. Trying to sort your papers into piles for filing are made harder if there are already piles all over the desk. This way, you can take the 1st piece and work through the pile one at a time.

Establish a tray system. The most basic system could be 3 trays – In tray, In Process, Out Tray (my fiancĂ©e’s aka bookkeeper’s favourite way!). The system starts with new things coming in, a new job, a bill, something from your to-do list, which then goes in the In Tray. The In Process tray is for any paperwork that you are using for any current projects or jobs. And the last tray is for jobs or tasks completed, that still need filing. You can add any other trays you feel are necessary to ensure a smooth flow of work, keeping that paperwork as tidy for as long as possible.

Tidy up your office space. Take a good look at your desk. What things do you regularly use, and which things do you hardly touch? Find somewhere else for those things you barely use. Tuck cables away. This might even mean putting away office equipment you don’t use very much, or finding a new home for it in your office. Things like printers, fax machines all take up space on your desk, leaving you less room to actually work. Invest in as many wireless devices as you can such as keyboards, a mouse to help to keep cables to a minimum.

Once you have everything tidied up and organised, you can set aside a period of time, weekly, to deal with all paperwork, meaning this time next year, you don’t need so much time to get organised!

Now that your office is tidy, and your paperwork is filed away neatly, there is no chance that accidental spillage of tea will ruin any precious pieces of paper!

Tidy desk, tidy mind!

Article written by: Emma Williamson
Owner of: Make a Cup of Tea Website: www.makeacupoftea.co.uk