office clutter http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/13316/all en-US From Clutter to Clean: Make Your Desk Awesome http://www.wisebread.com/from-clutter-to-clean-make-your-desk-awesome <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/from-clutter-to-clean-make-your-desk-awesome" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/feet_up_on_desk.jpg" alt="Man with his feet up on his desk" title="Man with his feet up on his desk" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="150" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Clutter will swallow you alive if you don't control it. Stop tuning it out and start dealing with. Trust me, you don't need that to-do list from October. If you did, you would have done all that stuff by now. Whether it's the job, the boss, an upcoming project, or facing down your afternoon commute, you might find yourself feeling seriously stressed out during the workday.</p> <p>The good news is it's possible to reduce your stress right at your desk &mdash; just follow these easy de-stress tips to find your workstation Zen. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/creating-productive-workspaces">Creating Productive Workspaces</a>)</p> <h2>Organize a Clean Workspace</h2> <p>You can't take your boss out with the recycling, but you can remove the clutter in your workspace to create a more relaxing environment. Is your desk so cluttered that it makes you want to cry? Take some time out to organize, shred, and file everything.</p> <p><img width="605" height="454" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u14/cleandesk.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Photo by </em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mjhagen/"><em>Mingo Hagen</em></a></p> <p>Take advantage of vertical space to post reminders, but automate everything that can be automated by using your email or phone-based calendar to keep track of tasks, appointments, and meetings. Is your computer desktop a mess? Spend an hour or so creating new folders and filing things where they belong. Don't just do it on the fly &mdash; try to find a real folder structure that makes sense to you.</p> <h2>Adjust Your Monitor Settings</h2> <p><img width="605" height="403" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u14/monitor.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Photo by </em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/moneyblognewz/5298202720/"><em>MoneyBlogNewz</em></a></p> <p>If you work on a computer all day long, make sure that your screen resolution and refresh rate are optimal for you. If you find yourself squinting at your monitor, maybe you need to set the font size a little larger. If you have the ability to customize the look and feel of your operating system's settings, use a desktop background that you enjoy and choose colors that you like (but that aren't too hard on the eye &mdash; so no Hunter Orange).</p> <h2>Get Personal</h2> <p><img width="605" height="403" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u14/photo.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/people/jram23/">J'ram DJ</a></em></p> <p>Everyone has a different purpose in life, a different cause that drives them to succeed. For you, family photos might inspire you to work, even when you feel tired and stressed out. For others, it might be helpful to look upon beautiful landscapes, flowers, or even posters of famous athletes or musicians. Take images of whatever it is that inspires and relaxes you and <a href="http://www.lifescript.com/life/money/work/cubicle_decor_ideas.aspx">place those images in plain view</a>. As long as it doesn't fly in the face of workplace rules, <a href="http://officecubicless.com/2011/05/20/decorate-cubicle/">make your workspace your own</a>.</p> <h2>Take a Sound Break</h2> <p>What kind of music relaxes or energizes you? Jazz, heavy metal, classical, alternative? Pinpoint the tunes that you find relaxing or invigorating and make a point of listening to them for a few moments every couple of hours. If you don't have your own office space, headphones can transport you away from it all for just a few musical minutes. Listen to your favorite song on your break, if you have to &mdash; just get those notes tumbling around inside your brain.</p> <p><img width="605" height="454" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u14/hp.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/nikonvscanon/715473620/">David Blaikie</a></em></p> <p>You may find that a little background noise can help you relax while working. You can purchase meditation CDs and play them quietly (or listen to them on headphones). Saving your pennies? Simply do a web search for &quot;relaxing sounds&quot; and listen to the free MP3s that are available online.</p> <h2>Get Green</h2> <p>Indoor plants can and give your workspace a sense of serenity &mdash; assuming you don't kill them all. Houseplants are cheap, adore fluorescent lighting, and will help you breathe easier at your workstation. Choose plants that are pleasing to your eye &mdash; whether you like cacti, bonsai, or bamboo, be sure to find potted office mates that you enjoy looking at and that you can easily take care of.</p> <p><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/carbonnyc/3235981059/"><img width="605" height="403" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u14/foliage.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <p><em>Photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/people/carbonnyc/">David Goehring</a></em></p> <p>If you aren't a fan of plants or simply have a notorious black thumb, then skip this idea altogether &mdash; after all, plants can get dusty and clutter up a space as much as anything else.</p> <h2>Just Get Out</h2> <p>Not everyone works in an office, of course. Working retail often means little personal space to hang photos or keep cactii. If your &quot;office&quot; is more of a warehouse floor, and you need an escape, try to make a point to leave the premises when you can. Even a walk around a warehouse district on your lunch break is healthier, and a better stress relief, than sitting and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/massive-list-of-things-to-do-while-watching-tv">staring at the TV</a> in the lunchroom.</p> <p><img width="605" height="403" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u14/warehouse.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Photo by </em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/people/toolstop/"><em>Mark Hunter</em></a></p> <p>Then again, if the TV really helps you zone out, then that can be your escape as well (especially during lousy weather!).</p> <h2>Stretch and Breathe</h2> <p><a href="http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/stretching-exercises-at-your-desk-12-simple-tips">Stretching while you work</a> is easy and counteracts the damage that you do your body through repetitive daily movement (or lack of movement). Try some simple <a href="http://www.thestretchinghandbook.com/archives/desk-stretches.php">stretching exercises while seated</a> or stand behind a chair and <a href="http://www.yogajournal.com/practice/231">stretch your muscles</a> using fluid movements.</p> <p><img width="605" height="403" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u14/seagull.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Photo by </em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidspinks/"><em>David Spinks</em></a></p> <p><a href="http://nccam.nih.gov/health/meditation">Meditation</a> has received plenty of press for its <a href="http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/meditation-heals-body-and-mind">health benefits</a>, like improving immune system function and lowering blood pressure. Well, you can take <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/meditation/HQ01070">meditation into the cubicle farm</a> and help make your day less stressful. <a href="http://www.guidetomeditation.org/meditate-at-work">Meditation in the office</a> doesn't have to involve loud chanting or piles of cushions and burning incense. You can meditate at your desk without making a sound. Like stretching, deep breathing and mind focusing exercises can help you concentrate on the tasks at hand, no matter how boring.</p> <p><em>Does your workplace make it hard to relax and concentrate? Do you have any tricks for finding a sense of peace and quiet amidst work chaos? Please tell us in the comments! </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/from-clutter-to-clean-make-your-desk-awesome">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-finding-legitimate-work-at-home-opportunities">Tips for Finding Legitimate Work at Home Opportunities</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-kinds-of-emails-to-purge-from-your-inbox">5 Kinds of Emails to Purge From Your Inbox</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-not-to-delete-your-emails">5 Reasons Not to Delete Your Emails</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-a-deep-declutter-can-improve-your-life">12 Ways a Deep Declutter Can Improve Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-organizing-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Easy Organizing Changes You Can Make Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Organization Productivity clean desk handling stress office clutter Fri, 23 Dec 2011 10:48:14 +0000 Andrea Karim 825735 at http://www.wisebread.com Winning Workspaces—7 Tips from Professional Organizers http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/winning-workspaces-7-tips-from-professional-organizers <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/winning-workspaces-7-tips-from-professional-organizers" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/winning-workspaces-7-tips-from-professional-or...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/winning-workspaces-7-tips-from-professional-organizers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000009691095Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As work becomes <a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/creating-productive-workspaces-1">more mobile</a>, it seems that our physical spaces get less and less attention. We&rsquo;re all on the run and instead of taking core principles of organization with us, we sometimes leave them behind completely. Whether booting up at the airport, hotel room, remote office or finally landing back at home, good organization can optimize any workspace&mdash;and boost productivity.</p> <p><strong>1. De-Clutter</strong></p> <p>The first step in creating any functional, organized, and efficient workspace is cutting the clutter. We constantly fight &ldquo;object creep&rdquo; in our lives&mdash;finding space to store items, arranging them, looking for them and cleaning around them. It&rsquo;s time to pare down, scale back and focus on arranging our workspaces around well-designed, multifunctional items that serve us well. Rid your workspace of things you don&rsquo;t use and start to ask yourself, &ldquo;What is essential? What things help me do my job and what things am I constantly battling?&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>2. Focus on Task and Flow</strong></p> <p>Next, it&rsquo;s time to channel Henry Ford.<b> </b>Start to organize based on use and workflow by thinking of your office as a series of distinct stations along a small assembly line. For each station to work independently, it needs its own set of supplies. Reams of paper, ink cartridges, a stapler, letterhead, envelopes, and stamps go near the printer. Boxes, large mailers, tape, a postal scale, and a large table for packing might make up the shipping station. Consider where each station should be in relation to the others and in relation to the space. No matter how large or small, an office arrangement based on use and workflow operates better.</p> <p><strong>3. Designate a Drop Zone</strong></p> <p>Let&rsquo;s face it; even the most organized people misplace things from time-to-time. Typically, we lose items we handle the most&mdash;keys, mobile phones, wallets, glasses, etc. To help avoid the time-consuming hide-and-seek, create a drop zone near the entry to your office. Reserve a large bowl or basket as a catch-all for the essentials. When it&rsquo;s time to grab and go, you&rsquo;ll know right where everything is.</p> <p><strong>4. Create a Priority Area</strong></p> <p>Designate a separate &ldquo;in-process&rdquo; area for those projects, orders, or tasks that need immediate action. Keep all related paperwork, files, and background information on-hand for easy reference. This approach helps you quickly see what requires your attention and makes it easier to dive in and catch up when you have a block of time or just a spare 15 minutes.</p> <p><strong>5. Make it Easy</strong></p> <p>No space will stay organized if you don&rsquo;t make maintenance easy. Avoid the top two pitfalls that overzealous organizers fall victim to: complex filing systems and inconvenient storage choices.</p> <p>Simplicity and accessibility are watchwords to keep in mind. When possible, choose broad filing categories that won&rsquo;t leave you debating how to organize your documents. For storage, opt for clear, easy to access containers and bins so you can see what&rsquo;s inside without the need for labels.</p> <p><strong>6. Embrace Simplicity</strong></p> <p>Simplicity goes beyond how we arrange the objects our workspaces. It also includes the objects themselves. Go minimal by choosing items that have multiple functions like multifunction printers, all-in-one PCs&mdash;even rolling filing cabinets with padded tops that can serve as extra seating. Give yourself permission to finally purge items that don&rsquo;t work, can&rsquo;t be fixed, and are just a hassle to use.</p> <p><strong>7. Bug Out</strong></p> <p>For last-minute mad-dashes to the office or short-notice trips, create a mobile &ldquo;bug out&rdquo; bag that contains all the essentials: an extra phone charger, Ethernet cable,<b> </b>jump drive, zip-locked toiletry kit, energy bars, etc. If you&rsquo;re prone to last-minute packing or work for a business that thrives on fire-drills, a little preparation can go a long way.</p> <p>As we all look for more efficient ways to manage our work and our businesses, let&rsquo;s not forget what&rsquo;s all around us. Working smart isn&rsquo;t just about better hardware, faster software, and more mobility. Taking a step back from the virtual and refocusing on our physical environments can increase productivity and help us work better with far less stress.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/winning-workspaces-7-tips-from-professional-organizers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-finding-legitimate-work-at-home-opportunities">Tips for Finding Legitimate Work at Home Opportunities</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-stay-motivated-on-the-job">6 Ways to Stay Motivated on the Job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-things-to-do-during-your-commute-even-if-you-drive">10 Smart Things to Do During Your Commute (Even If You Drive!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-to-make-working-from-home-a-success">10 Tips to Make Working From Home a Success</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-time-by-spending-it">10 Ways to Save Time by Spending Time</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Productivity Small Business Resource Center office clutter office organization organization tips small business workspace workspace organization Fri, 23 Sep 2011 20:07:30 +0000 Kentin Waits 705933 at http://www.wisebread.com Spring Cleaning for Your Business Records http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/spring-cleaning-for-your-business-records <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/spring-cleaning-for-your-business-records-barbara-weltman" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/spring-cleaning-for-y...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/spring-cleaning-for-your-business-records" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000012809466Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If time is money, then over the course of a year you can save serious dollars by reducing the time it takes to find a file &ndash; just cut the clutter. In fact, a recent <a target="_blank" href="http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/p-touch-means-business-survey-reveals-offices-waste-more-than-177-billion-per-year-looking-for-lost-items-101465149.html">study</a> found that messy desks cost American businesses $177 billion each year in lost productivity. With Spring just around the corner, now is a great time to clean out those old files and papers that are cluttering your office and delete unnecessary files and email that are cluttering your computer.</p> <p><b>What to Toss</b></p> <p>There's bound to be a lot to toss, but don't toss too much. Determine what papers and other information you need to retain and what you can dispose of to minimize clutter and save storage space.</p> <p><b><i>Check Company Policy</i></b></p> <p>It&rsquo;s a good idea to create a record retention and disposal policy for your business. Your policy can include a schedule for regular purging of papers that no longer serve your operational, fiscal, legal, or other needs.</p> <p>You may require the retention of <i>all </i>email and customer correspondence, just in case of future inquiries or lawsuits. For items that must be retained, consider better organization for the materials, such as new file systems or a digital archive for paper receipts and other documents that you scan and burn to DVD.</p> <p>You should retain all contracts, leases, and other agreements; even those that have expired can serve as guidance for future agreements. You must keep all minutes of corporate meetings and resolutions forever.</p> <p><b><i>Determine Legal Requirements</i></b></p> <p>Before purging, be sure your spring cleaning doesn't run afoul of the law. A handful of states, including Illinois, Maryland, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma, have adopted the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.lawsource.com/also/usa.cgi?usm#A">Uniform Preservation of Private Business Records Act</a>, which requires businesses in those states to retain business records for a minimum of three years from the date of the document's creation.</p> <p>You should keep tax returns and related documents for a minimum of three years, which is the usual time in which the IRS and your state can audit the returns. It&rsquo;s wise to keep a copy of the return and proof of filing (a certified receipt for a paper-filed return or the acknowledgment for an e-filed return) forever because the government has an unlimited period in which to audit a return that it believes has never been filed. The rules for retaining tax records are spelled out in <a target="_blank" href="http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p583.pdf">IRS Publication 587</a>.</p> <p>You usually have to keep employee-related documents, such as job ads and application forms, time sheets, I-9 forms, employee files, and records of workplace investigations of accidents or other employee-related incidents, for a minimum of four years in case of examinations by the IRS or your state (e.g., related to unemployment benefits or workers compensation claims).</p> <p><b>Proper Disposal</b></p> <p>Today, tossing out old papers may not be as straightforward as adding them to the trash. Certain documents require proper disposal; sensitive documents should be shredded and computer data should be thoroughly erased. Use special care when disposing of:</p> <ul> <li><b><i>Employer records containing medical information</i></b>. Various federal laws are strict about the confidentiality of this information.;</li> <li><b><i>Customer records containing credit card information</i></b>. Again, there are laws mandating confidentiality and steps that must be taken if and when such confidentiality is breached.</li> </ul> <p>Special disposal requirements may apply to certain businesses, such as medical practices, financial services companies, and law firms. In fact, businesses large and small are subject to <a target="_blank" href="http://resource.shredit.com/industry_listings.aspx?Id=6">a variety of state and federal laws</a> regarding proper document disposal.</p> <p>If you are doing a big Spring cleanup, you may want to consider hiring a shredding service. The cost of this service may be less than the value of the time you would otherwise spend operating your office shredder.</p> <p><b>Bottom Line</b></p> <p>A little effort spent on a Spring cleanup can pay off in increased productivity. And it just might make you feel better about your workplace!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/barbara-weltman">Barbara Weltman</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/spring-cleaning-for-your-business-records">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">10 Things All Successful Freelancers Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-inspiring-people-who-each-paid-off-over-100000-in-debt">5 Inspiring People Who Each Paid Off Over $100,000 in Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kill-boredom-with-these-34-fun-and-productive-projects">Kill Boredom With These 34 Fun and Productive Projects</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center business records file disposal office clutter productivity record retention small business Wed, 16 Mar 2011 21:02:00 +0000 Barbara Weltman 499394 at http://www.wisebread.com