By Nina Doiron
It is a Feng Shui belief that clutter can cause noise and distraction and prevent positive energy from entering your home or place of work. So let’s get our workspaces organized so that we can invite positive energy and greater prosperity for the year ahead.
Because real estate professionals are self-employed entrepreneurs, we need to have systems in place to ensure we are as efficient and effective as possible. Clutter is an easy problem to solve if you have a system. First, you need to design your office space to have designated locations that hold only those things that are necessary for you to successfully do your job.
If your business produces or acquires a lot of paper, set aside 10 to 15 minutes at the end of each day to declutter and file documents away. If you cannot do this daily, set aside an hour or two at the end of each week. It is important that you have an easy, effective and efficient filing and organizing system that you will commit to, so it becomes habit. An organizing professional can set the right one up for you. Then, even if you don’t like to file yourself, you can hire a student or seek the help of your children to put things in their proper place. There are all kinds of different systems and you just need to find the one that works best for you.
Where possible, go paperless. This means printing less and asking for digital copies where possible, including for invoices and receipts. Even when you are given a paper version of something, scan it and shred the hard copy. Keep a backup if it’s something you will need later, especially for taxes.
Going paperless does not mean your work ends. You still need to manage your digital documents. Set aside time each week to read less urgent materials, act on them as needed and file them into their appropriate digital folders so that you can easily find them when needed. Digital clutter is just as bad as papers piled on a desk.
Don’t forget to set a security code on confidential documents and back up your hard drive just in case.
A cluttered desk prevents you from working effectively and keeps positive and creative energy from flowing freely. We have a friend whose desk gets piled so high with papers, he operates his computer mouse on top of the piles. I also once had a client who had three different offices in her home. As each got overly cluttered, she would move to a different space.
Your desk should be clean and cleared at the end of each workday and should take no more than five minutes to get done. Put documents in a drawer or tray even if they’re to be filed later. Gather up pens, paper clips and anything else you’ve used that day. This will ensure that at the beginning of each day, you’re ready to create and produce anew.
Trays and baskets
Use trays and baskets to store and organize your desk and overall office space. Label them appropriately so that you or anyone working with you will know exactly what to do with the documents later. However, trays and baskets are not meant to be permanent storage solutions. They should be used as temporary spots until you can file away the items contained in them. Do not allow your trays and baskets to reach the point of overflowing. If they are, it’s well past time to sort through them and either discard or file the contents.
Office spaces are typically small. Don’t be limited by square footage and table surfaces. Go vertical and use wall space for storage. Use brackets to suspend computer monitors off your desk. Consider installing bookshelves and floating shelves. Further organize the shelves with baskets and dividers to keep things neat and tidy. Shelves will also provide you with additional space for a few trinkets and photos that bring you joy, or maybe a small plant to bring life into the office. When you spend a third of your day in your workspace, you should feel happy to be there.
Keep important messages visible by installing a cork board and/or a white board. This will take the notes off your desk where they can easily get lost. Remember, these boards will need to be maintained as well, and should not be overflowing. Once the action listed has been taken, be sure to remove and discard the note accordingly.
If you are lucky enough to have a closet in your office, use the floor space within to store your filing cabinets and other office supplies. Add shelves above for additional storage. You can even hide printers and scanners in the closet as most areas are Wi-Fi enabled now.
Don’t forget the closet door! Hang some wall file organizers inside the door for additional sorting and storage space. At the end of your workday, just close the closet door and your office will be clean and tidy.
With so many digital gadgets in our office spaces, cord management is a real problem. Not only do they create an unsightly mess, they can be tripping hazards and dangerous for young children. Make sure cords are appropriately tucked away or wrapped neatly behind the desk. There are a number of cord management solutions available on the market. There are even desks that will enable cord management within them. However, the most inexpensive solution is to use twist ties or zip ties to bind all the cables together. And before binding them, make sure you add a small label or tag to easily identify each cable when needed.
Identify your office needs and search online for the organization solutions available. The ideas are endless. If cost is an issue, dollar stores also offer many cost effective and amazing products these days.
Did you know that there’s a new Facebook support group for real estate professionals?
Realtors in Cahoot is a place where real estate professionals can share, collaborate, learn and look for support to grow their real estate business.
There is only one simple rule to join…the basic rule of engagement in this group is respect. Members are encouraged to ask questions and share advice. Collaboration is strongly encouraged. No negative nellies are allowed. The motto of the group is “rising tide lifts all boats.”
If you would like to be part of the closed group of the real estate professional community, click here.