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One Resolution That’s Easy To Keep

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Fewer people than ever are creating New Year’s Resolutions but that doesn’t mean they can’t still be kept.  One of the best resolutions for a small business or entrepreneur is to be more organized.  With tax time rapidly approaching, you may be scrambling around to find all of your carbon copies and receipts that are sun-faded to the point of being blank pieces of paper.

You can be more organized and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.  Here are some time-savings tips and tricks to get your business (and yourself) off to a better start.  And more importantly, these are easy things you won’t get tired of doing!

  • Make a list: List off all the things you do in a week and how much time you spend doing them.  Take an hour and see what is wasting your time and what projects could be combined.  Say, you get your morning coffee at 8am then post office at 10:45 then off to lunch at noon and don’t forget the trip to the bank at 4:30.  Can you get your coffee on the way to the post office?  Can you go straight to the bank after the post office?  Think about ways to save yourself time and you’ll find that you’re saving money.
  • Use a filing cabinet: Sure you have lots of stacks for your papers and you know you saw that receipt by that magazine last Friday when you were searching for those forms but keeping everything in clearly defined folders in a filing cabinet will save you tons of searching time.  The best part is: the beginner entrepreneur can save money by keeping an eye on for a free one.
  • Use a naming convention: When you actually do step 1, did you see that you spent 3 hours a week searching for the location of specific files on your computer only to give up because they may have been deleted?  Naming conventions work just like a filing cabinet for your documents on your computer.  Here’s an example:
    • tax2010_Home
    • tax2010_CoffeeShop
    • receipts2009_BusExpense
    • receipts2009_HomExpense

If you’re like me at can’t bring yourself to take the time to properly name all of your folders, this can be a great way to quickly and easily find what you want.  Our eyes are accustomed to alphabetical order and you’ll know exactly where you should be looking for something if you stick to it.

  • Keep it professional: If you leave a voicemail or have a long telephone call, send a follow up email for your records; even if you only send it to yourself.  If your emails start to get too inundated with personal chatter, you have multiple forwards of fuzzy kittens playing the piano, or threats against your happiness for the year if you don’t pass it on, politely opt out from future forwards or ask your well wishers to only send to your personal email account.  Then, check it or don’t; but do it after 5.
  • Stick it to it: You have an online calendar, email notifications, paper desktop calendar, wall calendar, cell phone notifications, spiral notepad, legal notepad, that little notepad you got for Christmas from your kid, but do you have sticky notes and a white board?  One of the easiest ways to organize your thoughts is write everything down on a white board and update it as you go along.  Use sticky notes to keep your thoughts organized.  Draw out your plan and move your steps around the board.  You’ll be surprised at just how helpful this can be.

There are many more ways to get yourself more organized for the year to come but these should help get you started.  Unlike the latest and greatest diet pills and super drinks, you really will notice a difference over night.  Remember, the road to success begins with a single step.. or sticky note, as it were.

January 5. 2011 by Lacy Sereduk. All rights reserved 2011

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