Originally Posted By: gromicko
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6 Simple Tips for Increasing Sales Through Organization
by Barbara Hemphill
Have you ever found a lead on a scrap of paper after the prospect purchased from your competition? Are you spending time recreating proposals because you can't find the one you wrote a few months ago? Do you run out of the door for an appointment at the last minute because you couldn't find your business cards? Are you feeling overwhelmed and underappreciated? If so, here are six simple steps to help you increase sales and decrease stress:
Make a date with yourself to get your act together. Plan a minimum of three hours when there are no interruptions. Do anything you can to reduce your stress during the process - put on music, grab your favorite beverage, and get plenty of trash bags and recycling bins! Decide on a reward for yourself when you are finished!
Take everything off your desk, except what you must have or do. (A photograph or memento that reminds you of the reason you work is definitely OK!) Practice The Art of Wastebasketry?. Research shows that 80 percent of what you keep you never use! Tossing or keeping is not a moral issue, but a practical one! So how do you decide what to keep? Ask "What's the worst thing that could happen if I didn't have this piece of paper?" If you can live with the answer - toss it or recycle it.
Get the right tools for your business. Half of any job is using the right tool! Put three trays on your desk: (1) In, (2) Out, (3) File. "In" is for new mail - papers you have not yet looked at. "Out" is for items that need to go elsewhere, such as the post office, or to another room. "File" is for papers you need to file outside the reach of where you sit. Eliminate paper whenever you can with electronic tools, such as a contact management program and a financial management program.
Implement The FAT System?: File, Act or Toss. Clutter is postponed decisions?. But here is the good news: there are only three decisions you need to make about what to do with any piece of paper:
File it in a Reference File in case you need it in the future,
Act on it immediately or in the near future, or
Toss - or recycle it.
Create an Action Filing System. Look at each piece of paper on your desk that requires action. Is the ball in your court? Then that is an Action File. Action Files come in three varieties:
Temporary -- tasks that have to be done once, and will come to an end, such as "Annual Review." Sort these by date or by project name in your most accessible desk drawer.
Permanent -- repeated tasks, such as "Prospects to Call," "Calls Expected from Prospects," "Palm Pilot Entry" "Discuss with Manager" and "Expense Reimbursements." Keep these in a file on top of your desk as a visual reminder.
Tickler System - a set of files with the numbers "1-31", then the months "Jan-Dec", and one file entitled "Next Year" - for pieces of paper needed on a specific day. To learn how to get organized for life using this system, click here to find out more.
Create a Reference Filing System. If your existing filing system isn't working, start over! Keep the old papers, and as you need them, merge them into the new filing system. Taming the Paper Tiger software automatically cross references your files and promises to find anything you file in five seconds or less -- AND it creates and prints a file index, as well as a variety of file labels. With its powerful search engine capability, you can retrieve anything you file in five seconds by using a keyword search. Think "Google" - only you're looking in your own files!
Will this system turn you into a perennially "clean desk" person? Unlikely! Messy desks are the natural outcome of a hectic pace. "A place for everything and everything in its place" this adage may not longer ring true but it is half right!
A place for everything means that when you do want to clean up your office it is no big deal! The above tips for quick decision-making skills will allow you to recover your clean desk in a matter of minutes and bring a sense of control back to you.
Now how about trying the system on other parts of your life? It works not only for desks but for email in-boxes, closets, junk drawers, "to-read" piles...the list is endless and only limited by your imagination. Happy Organizing!
Barbara Hemphill is one of the country's leading organizational experts. She is the best-selling author of the Kiplinger book series "Taming the Paper Tiger" and "Love it or Lose it." She is a past President of the National Association of Professional Organizers and past spokesperson for Allied Van Lines. Barbara has been seen on the Today Show, Good Morning America, in the Wall Street Journal, Reader's Digest, Moneysworth, and many more. She has also helped major corporations, such as Staples, Hallmark, Eastman Kodak and 3M, increase their productivity and efficiency. For more information on her seminars and services, please contact: Barbara@productivityconsultants.com.