Guest blogger: Allyson Perkins
I have seen many teachers have specific binders for each student for each subject to keep track of progress and grades, making it very easy to pull out during parent teacher conferences.
It is a 2 tier rack-spinning carousel that holds binders. There are sections on each tier, in which would store my binders – by child and by subject. I really like the fact that it has an option of being on wheels to make it easy to move around the classroom, or put stationary in a corner somewhere.
This is the beginning for me of The Ultimate Classroom!
An office is much like a relationship — demanding, changing, challenging — the information flow never seems to stop: paper in/paper out, filing, email, phone, fax. And, that goes for a business office or a home office.
I’ve worked in fast paced offices and am now very thankful to be working out of a home office but I’ve maintained my habit of declutter and organization and I think it is especially important from a home office. Why? Well, I don’t want to file socks in a client’s business folder or have the dog eat my proposal. But, the real reason (at least for me) is because there is no physical separation from home and home office. You can be in a room dedicated to your business but it is still in your home, so the essential thing is to be organized and not cluttered and to really simplify the process. I learned to simplify when working at a management consulting firm in NYC and I’ve brought those habits to my home office (minus the commute). It really is about working smarter and saving some time for yourself.
So here are a couple of things that have saved me from filing socks and saving business proposals from the jaws of my chihuahua:
I hate to file but I’ve learned that I have to there’s no way around it. I use a SteelWorx 10 Pocket Wall Organizer because I like my desk to be relatively clear, except for what I actually need (pen, pad, coffee cup). The wall organization is a great concept for someone who is visual (like me) and doesn’t need to have piles of paper on a limited workspace (like I did). I have those 10 pockets divided into WORKING and PENDING. I use Portafile Boxes and PocketFiles for closed projects, receipts, and just about everything else. I can easily label the boxes and put them into my shelving unit. Both products are durable and they can be wiped down.
Time management – don’t those words send chills up your spine? You’ve heard about time management skills from your teachers, from your employers and it puts you into a state of inertia, doesn’t it? It’s only semantics.
Don’t stress out – prioritize. To me, prioritizing is about saving some time for me. We all have multiple priorities – so just take a deep breath and make a determination – task or fire? It’s one day at a time and some days are longer than others but it works.
So whether you’re in an office or in a home office, office organization is a transferable skill – you know the process, you know the strategy, you know cubicles and the walls.
And, remember these words from Ernest Hemingway: Life is Messy Enough – Your Desk Doesn’t Have to Be
I’m an office products geek – I’m proud of that, too. I write with nice pens, I use quality paper, I like my office to be setup so that I don’t have think about where something is when I need it. Consequently, I don’t use manilla folders.
“Come on, now”, you may be saying to yourself, “Are they really THAT bad?” Yes, they are. They rip. They look dirty. They look used (and many times they are – over and over again). They all look the same. Oh sure, I can use color file labels to delineate them but that’s treating a symptom, not providing a cure.
I need folders – I not only use them for filing but I use them as the presentation folder for handouts and I can tell you that I absolutely, unequivocally love Ultimate Office’s PocketFile Folders. $15.95 for 25 multi-color pocket folders that I can re-use, clean with a window cleaner between uses, visibly see what’s in the folder and make a statement with my own presentations is well worth every dime. (My first packet of pocket folders has lasted me 3 years and that’s with several office moves, a few home transitions and every day use.)
The multi-color isn’t just pretty, it’s functional for filing – whether you’re analytical or creative (translated to organized or messy) – you still understand color and the fact that the folders are clear allows me – or anyone – to grab exactly what they need rather than shuffling through those dirty, ripped manilla folders.
Andrea Canfield – Office Products Geek and Guest Blogger