For those of you who didn’t receive or read last month’s newsletter, this is a continuation, Part II, of my article “Set Yourself Up for Success When Working From Home”.
The following are some great tips to follow to be more productive and efficient when working from home.
1. Work Center: The first thing I would highly recommend is to create a centralized work center:
• This area should contain everything you need 90% of the time.
• These items/supplies/files need to be accessible.
• It would be best if you can set this up so that what you need is within arms’ reach.
o If that’s not possible always make sure to have what you do need before starting your work to avoid unnecessary distractions, interruptions or delays.
2. Connect: While working from home, we don’t have the same opportunities to build and maintain the personal connections that we would normally have when working with the same people in person. Therefore, it is extremely important to be vigilant about staying in touch with clients, colleagues and other associates.
• Do something every day to maintain relationships and form new ones.
o You can call, text, email. Send a note via facebook or Linked-In.
• When it’s appropriate and safe to do so, meet with people face to face.
o In the meantime, use whatever works for you, i.e., zoom, facetime
3. Contact Management System: Having a way to funnel all of your contacts and other pertinent information into one place allows information to be easily tagged and retrieved.
• On-line contact management systems and CRM’s have become increasingly more popular and there’s a good reason. It works! I use a CRM in my business daily and in so many different ways that I can’t imagine running my business without this tool. The possibilities are endless. Some of the ways that it can be utilized:
o Data Bases:
I have data base lists for: my clients, one for vendors, one for each of my networking groups.
Ability to run reports for just about anything: income by day, month, year and/or client; who referred business and when.
4. Paper Processing Center: Whether your office is the kitchen table, a converted closet, or a corner suite, you need a quick and easy way to handle paper.
• Until you’re completely paper-less, it’s a good idea to have one place for paperwork, i.e., an inbox. Incoming items like meeting notes, business cards, bills and items to read should be placed in your inbox, rather than dumping them in a pile on your desk.
• It would be great if you had a trash can and shredder located at this designated “place” to avoid the build-up of unwanted paper (flyers, solicitations)
• Create and implement a simple filing system.
o The most important thing to remember is that whatever system you create should be practical to YOU.
o The key to an efficient system is your ability to find and retrieve your files quickly.
It is imperative that you name/label your files so that you can easily find what you need when you need it.
• Keep your current project(s) and active file(s) in a vertical¬ desktop file holder or file drawer within easy reach.
• Schedule File Time:
o No one likes to file paper but, it is a necessary evil. Set a weekly appointment on your calendar to go through your inbox and process the items inside.
Keep in mind your inbox is a holding spot that’s meant to be emptied. It’s not a file cabinet!
5. Master Calendar: Too many of us use several calendars, or sticky notes, and invariably lose information, dates, appointments and contacts in the madness.
• Decide on what calendar system best serves you and use it consistently. Remember there is no right or wrong way.
o When you find something that you like, use it for at least three weeks to see if it works for you.
Whatever you choose, you must be willing to use it consistently.