I am pretty sure we all know at least one person whose office and work space looks like a tornado just came through… But, to our surprise, they know exactly where things are and would be completely lost if things were actually organized and cleaned up… They know their own mess…
However, in order to operate effectively and efficiently, the better organized the workspace, the better. There are numerous resources out there advising on how to organize paperwork (what to keep, what to eliminate), what boxes, binders, filing cabinets to buy that will not only be effective but will also add to the décor of the space… And I might revisit this topic at some other time, because there really is a lot to talk about.
But what about the database and information stored on our computers? Again, if all the files and folders are well organized, and the information is complete and up-to-date not only in the information easier to find (which saves you time searching for it), it also speeds up the computer.
So, here are some basic tips on how to manage your most basic database:
Categorize. Create categories based on similarities (bookkeeping, marketing, customer relations, business development, operations, etc.). Then create applicable subcategories, as many as you need. Organize them either in alphabetical order, by date, by to-be-done, in-progress and completed. Just make sure it is consistent and that it works with your business and business model.
Keep it up to date (not only the operating systems and software). It is important to keep all the documents up to date. When you update one, delete the old version (unless you really need it). Create sub-folders for previous versions, and include the date of an update in the name of the file. Also, update contact information of your customers, vendors, etc. as soon as you learn about any changes.
Be diligent and consistent. This is important when entering contact information. Do you type in 1st Street #1, or 1st Street, Suite #1? Area code in parenthesis, separated by a dash or a dot? All these little details make a difference when looking the information up via finder.
Utilize calendars and reminder tools. They are great tools to help you stay on top of your to-do list. Once a task is completed, delete the reminder. If a task needs a follow-up, create a new one.
Back it up. Either on an external hard drive or in a cloud, or both. Back it up.
There are many more and I would love to hear what are some that work best for you and your business.