How you run your business can be just as important as how you serve your clients.

Simplifying the work environment by creating organized workspaces and efficient paper flow can increase productivity and reduce stress.

Adopting effective systems, establishing routines, and setting proper boundaries are just a few simple steps that can help you function more productively.

Here are some suggestions for creating an organized work environment:

1.  Start each day by reviewing your To Do List (see # 11).  Cross items off as you complete them, and remember to give yourself a pat on the back for each one complete!

2. Create a “Tickler” file to remind you of pending matters, and check it each morning.

3.  Create an Inbox.  It is the best place to receive incoming paperwork.  You may need to remind others to use it, but they will soon get in the habit.

4.  Keep desk items that you use regularly within arm’s reach. This might include a calculator, stapler, pens, pencils, etc.

5.  Control interruptions and set proper boundaries.  “Drop-by” visits and extended “coffeepot chatter” eat up valuable time.

6.  If you are easily distracted, remove all items from your workspace that are not related to your current project.

7.  Use your calendar faithfully. Jot down meetings and appointments. If you are uncomfortable with electronic options, use a small desk calendar or planner.

8.  Set up a Contact List on your computer (or card file) for important phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses.  Keep it updated

9.  Set aside blocks of time each day to read and respond to emails, make or return phone calls, and to file paperwork.

10.  Prepare agendas for scheduled meetings and follow them.  Be aware of unproductive tangents and side conversations.

11.  At the end of each day, review your To Do List. In order of priority, transfer items not completed onto the next day’s To Do List (see #1).

12. As you turn off the lights at night, give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done!