Resources and Knowledge for the Small Business CEO
A well-organized business trip for your team can transform your business. It will not only pick up everyone’s spirits because it’s always fun to go on a shared adventure to a new location, but it will lead to new connections and strategic partnerships.
It’s even better if you can organize the trip around an event, either one that you’re attending or one that you’re hosting. This will help structure your trip around a clear outcome.
Here are all things that need to be done to make your trip and event profitable and fun:
Arranging the Use of a Virtual Office
Many major cities have virtual offices. If, for example, you are traveling to California, consider taking advantage of the benefits of Modi virtual offices Irvine. Located in the heart of a thriving business center, it will create just the right image for your business—without the expense of setting one up from scratch. For instance, you can use services like call answering, shared office space, private furnished offices, conference rooms, and phone answering services. Everything will be set up in your company’s name.
Besides giving your team a place to work, it’s also a place where you can invite guests and build business relationships. You can use this office to manage your event, conduct business, and develop new client ventures.
Attending or Organizing the Event
If the event is something you’re attending, say an industry conference, then, your work is cut out for you—all you have to do show up, network, and learn as much as you can from the speakers and fellow attendees.
If the event is something, you’re sponsoring, then it’s best to work with an event management agency This third-party has built strategic relationships with hotels. Consequently, when you tell them about your needs, they will coordinate with the best hotels to arrange accommodation, catering, and breakout rooms for your event. In many cases, they don’t charge you a fee because they will make their money from the hotel who will share a percentage of the group booking income.
Making Travel Arrangements
Good planning is essential for success. Without it, your entire trip will be mired in chaos and confusion. As Peter Drucker once said, “Action without planning is the cause of every failure.”
So where do you begin?
First, gather up all the information that relates to your business trip: the destination, the executives who will be traveling with you, the schedule, the travel details (flights, taxis, etc), and any particular preferences you or your group might have in terms of lodging, food, etc.
Second, once you have a good idea of all the diverse elements involved start making reservations, buying tickets, booking hotels, and so on. If you’re lucky enough to be flying using a private jet charter, you can rest a bit easier knowing that all of the flight details will be handled perfectly.
Third, communicate all the travel arrangements to the executives who will be making the trip, so that everyone knows exactly when and how to prepare for it. Advanced notice will also give you room to manage any surprising scenarios or any change of travel or accommodation plans.
In making your travel arrangements, here are 7 things that you should keep in mind:
- The basic objectives of the business trip and the event.
- How much to budget for the trip.
- If your company organized similar business trips in the past, think about what you can learn from the experience. If you had a conference, but it was poorly attended, then you know that you need to start selling tickets to the conference earlier.
- The relevant personal information from all the executives who are traveling with you so that you can arrange for their tickets and accommodations.
- All travel-related permissions. You will need to make sure that everyone has an up-to-date passport, visa, and vaccination forms.
- In some cases, you may have to consider if your trip will need to accommodate other people—for instance, spouses, secretaries, attending physicians, etc.
- Trips to and from airports are essential to get right so that everyone stays together and travels as a group, or at the least in a coordinated way to your chosen destinations. Also, gather as much information as possible about travel related issues, for instance, business protection basics in the event of an accident, and frequent flyer miles.
In conclusion, organizing travel and events for a business trip involves a lot of details. In order to coordinate everything well, it’s necessary to start planning months ahead.
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
When you organize your business and eliminate the clutter, you will feel reenergized. You will find that you are easily motivated to get straight to work when you don’t have a mess to deal with. You will save time otherwise wasted looking through piles or searching for a missing document on your computer. Begin by establishing a plan. Prioritize your list, set a date with yourself and identify your motivation.
In just 60-seconds, you will learn how to organize your business.
0:60 Create a Clutter-free Desktop
Throw away items you don’t use, like pens that don’t write, old computer disks, and scrap paper. Keep only the supplies you regularly use on your desk. This usually includes several pens and pencils, a stapler, scissors, paperclips, a post-it pad, a note pad, a calendar and a phone message book.
Next, consolidate your office equipment by purchasing multi-function equipment, such as an all-in-one printer, scanner, copier and fax machine. Use letter trays and file sorters to avoid piles. Finally, clear out your drawers and designate a purpose for each one. If your desk has three drawers, consider creating a supply drawer, a personal drawer and an identity drawer, containing items with your company logo on them.
0:46 Generate Storage Space When None Exists
If you have faced the problem of not having enough storage space, you know that everything can become a cluttered, disorganized mess. Storage space can be easily added through shelving, cabinet installation, drawers, storage units, bookcases and file cabinets. Shelves are inexpensive, easy to install and can store books, files, binders, supplies or whatever you need. Cabinets are a more expensive, more permanent option and are nice, because they conceal your materials. Storage units and plastic containers are great for storing products you sell as well as for holding large supplies, like printer paper and folders.
0:38: Manage Your Mail
It’s easy to let the mail pile up, but save yourself time in the long run and deal with incoming mail immediately. Sort your mail as soon as it arrives. Throw away junk mail, forward mail to the appropriate people when necessary, open and separate the rest of the mail and file it when appropriate. Categories for filed mail may include bills, mail that needs to be responded to right away, mail that is not urgent, publications, etc. If you rely heavily on email communication, you should check your email as often as every hour and reply immediately, if possible. Use the folders in your electronic mailbox to organize your email.
0:20: Maintain an Efficient Filing System
Files that you do not use anymore, but may need in the future are best stored in file boxes. File boxes can be stored on shelves, in a closet or at an off-site storage center to save space. Know what you can throw away and what you need to keep. Throw away outdated information. Keep legal documents such as contracts, warranties and tax documents. Organize your files by color-coding, alphabetically, or by type of file. Consider having separate drawers for different areas of business, such as clients, finances and media.
0:11 Maintain an Organized Computer
Keep your computer organized by using helpful software, clearly naming files, saving files to appropriate folders and creating shortcuts on your desktop. Shortcuts should be created for all Microsoft Office programs, the Internet, email and your database. Software you should own includes an up-to-date version of Microsoft Office, virus protection software like Norton System Works, a contact management database, such as ACT!, Goldmine and Microsoft Project.
0:03 Keep Track of Time
Scheduling is crucial. Have a daily plan and stick to it. Schedule your time on a planner. This can be a desk or wall calendar, an appointment book, a handheld device or a computer program. When contacting people, leave detailed voice and email messages, stating exactly what you need so the person will be prepared with the information when they call or email you back.
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Whether you are running your own business and starting from scratch or climbing your way up the corporate ladder, there will come a time when you need to travel to network and spread the message of your company.
Learn how to confidently plan your next business trip and make a great impression on all of your business associates.
Travel the right way
Being successful comes down to two things: your professional successes and the professional image you project to the world. Getting a private jet is one of the ways you can project this image of being an accomplished professional instantly. You’ll for sure have that ‘wow’ factor from the moment you arrive.
Using a private jet is also a fantastic way of getting work done to and from your destination. If you have associates traveling with you, the ample space will allow you to work and be extra prepared.
Find a hotel that meets your needs
The hotel you stay in for your business trip needs to be more than just somewhere you rest your head down. A business trip gives you the opportunity to network and build connections. You’ll be meeting all kinds of new people and you never know where that can lead. This means that you will often end up holding unofficial meetings and lunch dates to discuss ideas.
Hosting these in the hotel bar and restaurant where you are staying is ideal. You just have to run down to the lobby to get things started. No unnecessarily hailing a cab or calling an uber needed. Consider booking with one of the most popular hotels for business travelers — they are popular for a reason!
Alongside this, a spacious room with a desk and super-fast Wi-Fi will enable you to work after hours. This way you’ll always be prepared for those extra meetings. PLUS you’ll be seen as a hard worker and who knows where that can lead 😉
First impressions are everything
Taking note of some of the top tips on business attire online is a great way to make a good impression when meeting new and important people.
The standard of the professional industry is to go with neutral and conservative colors. Think black, white, and pastels. These colors are always a safe bet if you are not a fashionista.
However, sticking to this rule too religiously can lead to you blending into the background (and you don’t want that!). SO be sure to put your own unique spin on every outfit you wear. This could be done by wearing chunky, statement jewelry to draw attention to your face and eyes, commanding the attention of the room. A cool belt or colorful shoes could also make you stand out above the rest.
Also, accessorizing with a bag with a funky pattern can add that pop of ‘something special’ you need.
First impressions are important, so making sure you practice your handshake and how to introduce yourself confidently. This can all help with the overall impression you give. Happy travels!
Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.
The meeting space for HR Tech addicts and nerds of the digital era. Those about hunting either heads or jobs are welcome too. Startup? Go ahead!
For any prosperous small business, business trips are a necessary element which contributes to them growing and developing. Regardless of whether such trips are to the neighboring city or some other country, their significance demands that they would be thoroughly organized both in terms of business and travel arrangements.
Making sure you and your employees arrive at their destination safely, that they have decent accommodation, optimal working conditions, as well as for them to know what to expect requires you to plan in advance which is not that complicated if you follow some guidelines. To help you organize your business trip so that both you and your employees are satisfied with the results, here is a short list of some things to keep in mind.
Share traveling details
Although you are going on a business trip and not on a vacation with numerous activities, there will still be some itinerary that you need to share with your employees so that they know what to expect. Knowing the details about where and when they will be going during the business trip can help them organize not only regarding their tasks and presentations but for instance, regarding the choice of clothes so they don’t come casually dressed to dinner with clients.
Also, it wouldn’t hurt to share with them some templates to help them organize – for instance, a checklist for important items such as cords, adapters, flash drives, devices etc. It would be useful to have certain documents printed and handed out, such as the itinerary, and you can also provide each employee with an envelope for travel receipts and other essential travel or business documents.
Research the most economical options
If you have complete freedom when it comes to arranging transportation and accommodation, it would be best to thoroughly research all possible options, especially if your team is traveling abroad. If the latter is the case, you need to get acquainted with the city and find the optimal accommodation solution in terms of the distances between the hotel and other places you will be visiting.
When it comes to the means of transport, you can look into bus lines and airlines which offer discounts for a group of people traveling. Also, your choice of a credit card can be of importance in this case since different cards can offer different discounts and schemes for travel points. You can also opt for credit card free luggage promotions that can help you cut costs which is important since you are covering the expense of more people. Some credit card issuers throw in additional benefits such as a free suitcase or a night at a certain hotel.
Be clear about your travel policy
Having in mind that you plan for the budget allocations to be the same for each employee, it is crucial they are clear on the transportation choice, the time of the travel, luggage requirements, and other details. It would be good to email them to all travelers in advance so that they have the time to read it properly, especially if it is a lengthy piece of writing.
In case that there are some remote employees or that your travel policy is flexible, your employees need to know the exact amount of money they have at their disposal so they can organize their transportation. If you already have some deals with a particular airline or bus line, you need to also mention that to your employees or to restrict their choice to those companies. Providing them with clear guidelines will help both you and your employees feel more comfortable and confident and that will increase the chances for the business trip to become a success.
Include employee leisure time
If you wish for the employees to be motivated to give their best on this business trip, you need to provide them with some leisure time since you wouldn’t want the amount of work and stress to lead to burnout. A few working days on a business trip can be even more demanding than the same amount of days in the office, so it is good for them to get an opportunity to relax and to see a bit of the city they are in.
You can go about it in a number of ways and besides organizing and paying for them to attend some interesting event unrelated to business, you can also just give them some free time they can spend either exploring the city on their own or resting in their rooms. Another option is for them to stay a bit longer, so for instance, if the trip ends on Friday, they can stay a bit longer as long as they come to the office on Monday, rested and ready to work.
To ensure a prosperous business trip, your employees need to be acquainted with the itinerary and their tasks because you cannot expect high productivity if they are left in the dark. This trip also needs to include some free time for them so they can recharge their batteries and increase efficiency. In addition to that, the more time you spend researching, the greater the chances of finding an economical transportation and accommodation solution so that you get optimal results without spending too much.
Recently, Debbie Rosemont was interviewed as a Productivity Expert for a podcast with Smead. Last week, she discussed how to organize and prepare for business travel and shared strategies that travelers can practice to be more efficient after arriving at their destination.
This week, Debbie continues the discussion about some things you can do to make the most of your time and effort while you’re traveling for business and after you return home.
Keep information organized while you execute your plan
Whether it is sharing, learning or connecting, you’ve already set your goals for what you hope to achieve from your travel experience. Now its time to execute your plan. Part of that is thinking about how you are going to capture notes, ideas and information you pick up on your trip. If you like to keep notes on paper, one solution might be to have a notebook specific to each trip or conference. Another idea is to have a notebook dedicated to conference learning, and insert stick-on divider tabs for each conference you attend. If you have items you need to organize and keep track of such as business cards, travel documents, and receipts, products can be really helpful. Trying to have less paper in your life? Consider electronic tools for capturing, organizing and storing information you pick up or need when you travel. Tools such as Evernote or OneNote are fantastic when you’re on the go.
Hold effective meetings
When you are traveling on business, its important to know how to prioritize and maximize your time. Scheduling meetings in advance, whenever possible, is a great way to make sure you can connect with the people you need to see. Consider reaching out before your trip to compare calendars. Accommodate the other person’s schedule if it’s really important to you – or maybe even choose to sacrifice missing one thing for another. You might want to consider planning meetings over a meal – everyone eats, and breakfast is often a great time before the busy-ness of the day begins. Likewise, time at the end of the day or even just getting outside for a walk are creative, outside-the-box times you might suggest when trying to meet with people who also are also managing busy schedules.
Take care of yourself while you travel
Traveling and busy conferences can take a lot out of you. It is really important to be mindful of your energy. If not, you won’t get the most out of the experience. Be sure you’re getting enough sleep and eating right. Use the hotel rooms black-out shades to keep the room dark and consider covering or turning away from the bed any lit electronics. Try to stick to your normal bedtime routine and timing as much as possible. Consider packing healthy portable and non-perishable snacks from home, and don’t be afraid to mention any dietary restrictions or preferences you may have to servers, conference planners or hotel staff. If you speak up and ask, most can usually be accommodated.
Packing to go home
Think about the last conference or convention you attended. How many things did you pick up along the way that you didn’t bring with you? Tote bags, handouts – do you want or need to take all of it home with you? Maybe you could take a picture and take the information home in another format, or think about what you might leave behind that someone else could use. When you’re packing, take stock of everything and don’t pack in a rush. Make sure to look around your hotel room thoroughly before leaving for the last time. Common spots to leave something behind include behind the bathroom door, in the shower, and plugged into an outlet (chargers). Run through your checklist and remember that packing to go home is a lot easier.
Organized re-entry after travel
If you’re able, try to make the day you get home as flexible as you can, without a lot of commitments. Use the day to download information while it is still fresh in your mind. Capture your notes, ideas, tasks and things you’re inspired to do into your information management system. If you do this as soon as you get back, you’ll execute better. Start the follow-up process. Enter business cards into your contact management system and send out any “let’s stay connected” Emails. The sooner, the better.
Revisit the goals you set out to see if you accomplished them. If not, what is your next step? Maybe if you missed a certain session you hoped to attend you can access a recorded version, or you can follow up with people you hoped to have deeper conversations with. Just because you’re not physically there, you can still connect.
Also, you can begin planning for next year if it is an annual conference. Vendors or organizations often offer limited time discounts on registration or products you can take advantage of for the next year’s event. If its something you know you will want to participate in anyway, it’s a great way to save time and money by planning ahead.
What have you done in the past to ensure a trip you take is both organized, runs smoothly, and worthwhile?
Do you have any business trips or conferences coming up? Please let us know which of these strategies you’ll employ for more organized business travel. If Simply Placed can be a resource to you before, during or after your trip, please don’t hesitate to let us know.
To view the podcast in its entirety, Part 1 and Part 2 are linked below. Wishing you organized and safe travels!
If you travel around the country or world for business, it’s important that you are well prepared before you go. Just like you would when booking a holiday, making travel arrangements in advance and researching the destination you’re heading to can help you feel more relaxed and ready for your trip. With that in mind, here are a few things that you can do to help you prepare for your upcoming business trip.
Prepare Travel Documents
First and foremost, it’s crucial that you prepare your travel documents before you head on your business trip. Whether you’re only going up the road or flying overseas, it’s important that you keep all your required documents in one place. If you are heading abroad, make sure that you have an up to date passport. If your passport is about to expire, you will need to renew it as soon as possible , especially as the application process can take up to six weeks from start to finish.
Where to Stay
After a busy day of meetings and working, it’s only natural that you will want to have somewhere comfortable and relaxing to stay. If you are heading over to Belfast for your business trip, you may want to consider using Dream apartments who provide a range of serviced apartments in the city. With over 100 units dotted across five central locations, having a serviced apartment that’s situated close by to your work can be hugely beneficial.
What to Pack
Just like you would before going on a family holiday, it’s important to know what to pack for your upcoming business trip. Whether you’re going away for the night or for a week or so, it’s always best to pack the essentials only. The last thing you want is to carry around excess luggage, so to begin with, make sure that you pack your business items such as your computer, laptop, reports, and contracts. Personal items that you should bring include clothing, cosmetics, toiletries, and any prescriptions or medication.
Create an Itinerary
Doing your research into the destination you’re heading to can help you stay in the know when it comes to going on a business trip. If you have important meetings to attend, you will need to work out where they are located, and how far they are away from your accommodation. You should also keep note of flight times, rental car company information (if needed), and print out any information that you deem relevant for your trip.
Have Some Me Time
All work and no play can make your business trip drag. If you’re away from home for a considerable amount of time, it’s only natural that you will homesick from time to time, so try and see your trip away as a little adventure too. If you’re off to Belfast for your business trip, there are plenty of attractions to check out. Whether you have a stroll through the city to soak up the atmosphere or check out the Titanic Belfast , factoring in some time for yourself is important.
Preparing your travel documents well in advance, finding somewhere suitable to stay for your trip, knowing what to pack, as well as developing an itinerary to bring some structure to your trip can make the world of difference. Although you’re going away for business, that doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun along the way; try and factor in some time for yourself, so you won’t feel homesick.
A large part of running a business includes arranging business trips, and you probably want them to run as smoothly as possible.
Having a well-organized business trip create a good impression and is going to have an influence on how potential clients see you. We live in a very digital world, this enables us to communicate across different time zones without a worry however, at times it’s still essential to travel to meet clients face to face. If you’re securing a big deal or trying to build a lasting business relationship nothing will beat the perfect business trip.
It’s important to make sure that any business trip is organised to a high standard. You want to feel relaxed and well prepared when you arrive at your destination in order to succeed. Having a well-prepped trip means that you will be more focused and give off the best impression. Preparation not only lets your mind focus it also means you stay on the ball in any important meetings.
Have a look below at some of the areas you should be planning in order to organise the perfect business trip:
Making the arrangements
Planning a business trip throughly is important regardless of if you’re travelling or you’re the business trip manager. You should always make sure you’re fully aware and understand the company’s travel policy. Remember you’re planning the perfect business trip, not the perfect holiday. This means been compliant with any policies is essential. You need to think about how you are getting from one location to the next and everything in between. Whether you’re travelling by ACS , rail, boat or car hire you will need to consider travel times, costs and insurances. It’s important not to forget about the little details, make sure you have all the information about the distance and time it takes to travel between each mode of transport as well as just the main journey. Do you need to book luggage? Do you need insurance? What paperwork is needed? Make sure you always use multiple sources when booking, shop around for deals and always be fully be aware of company budgets .
The more carefully you make your preparations now the smoother the journey will go, think about things like if Wifi is available on the move or do you need to arrive a day in advance because of bad flight times? This means that you’re going to feel more confident and relaxed when you attend those all-important meetings.
Choosing your accommodation
The prep work is only where the planning begins. You also need to ensure you’re choosing the best accommodation to suit your requirements. Try to get accommodation near any meetings in order to reduce the risk of finding locations or things such as traffic getting in the way. Try not to get caught up in booking something that luxurious, you want it to be pleasant but it only needs to serve a purpose, again, remember this isn’t a personal trip. YOu should take distances, local transport and even aspects such as Wifi availability in the hotel when making your decision. You may find that your company has preferred hotels already, this could mean a better deal as they’re normally negotiated in advance. When choosing a hotel make sure you pay close attention to the facilities that are available. You don’t want to find that there is no Wifi availability, it’s not included in the costs or that breakfast is served too late because it’s more suited to tourists. Twenty four hour room service is a nice touch for business travellers so often you can arrive late/early to your destination because of saving costs on travel.
Create an itinerary
For any business trip to be successful you need to have an itinerary in place. It keeps control of the whole trip. From the times that transport leaves, your hotel reservation right through to the names of the clients you’re meeting. Whether you’re organising the trip for someone else or yourself be sure to add in some time for relaxing and cater for any meeting that may overrun or be late. It’s good to share an itinerary with someone else too, so they are aware of where you’re supposed to be and when you may not be contactable.
Have all your travel documents organised
Travel documents are an essential part of any trip, and even more so with a business trip. All the time and effort that has gone into the planning will go to waste if you forget vital documents you will need on your trip. You should make sure you have important documents that include:
- A valid passport for international travel
- Any visas that are required
- Travel tickets for any transport
- Car hire agreements, driving licence, company credit card and proof of insurance
- Photo ID
- Proof of bookings for hotels etc
- Transfer documents
Think about any electronic devices that will be required
For the majority of business trips, you will require some sort of electronic device. Whether it’s a company phone, tablet or a laptop for important presentations make sure you have it on your packing list, and all have insurance cover in case anything was to happen to them. It could also be a good idea to make sure you have any important work saved on a portable device so if any of the items you take with you go missing or are stolen you still have the information you need for any meetings. Don’t forget to take any relevant charges and adapters too, it’s wise to have a handy carry case to easily transport these sort of items. Preparation is definitely key when it comes to this area however, you can often pick chargers and other accessories when travelling through places such as airports or train stations. Bear in mind that the prices can often be higher and it would be classed as unneeded business costs.
Hopefully, this short guide to organising the perfect business trip will help to ensure that your next trip runs as smoothly as possible.
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
Every year, I spend time in January and February getting organized and ready for the upcoming year. My organizing actually starts during the holidays–with every present I receive, I’m thinking “Out with the old and in with the new.” When I receive a gift, I have to decide what old item I’m going to get rid of. This year, after putting away the new china I got for Christmas–and selling my former set on eBay–I moved on to organizing my office. If you’d like to get the new year started right, follow these tips to help you get organized for a successful 2006:
1. Clean, organize and purge your desk. Update your files and replace all torn files. Buy new files, in different colors, and organize them by color: green for financial papers, purple for clients and so on. Be sure to label all the files, and then organize them alphabetically within each color scheme. And never, ever put the word “Misc” on any file–once you file it, you’ll forget what you put in it. If you can say out loud what the file is, you have your label.
2. Be like Santa every day of the week. Make a list and check it twice. There’s nothing more satisfying than checking things off your “to do” list! Make a list every night of all the things you need to accomplish the next day. Do this every night, including the weekends, so you get in the habit of relying on your to-do list to help you get things done.
3. Use only one calendar. Choose the one that works best for you: one on your computer, a handheld one like a PDA, or a paper one on your desk. Then get rid of all your other calendars and use just the one to record and keep track of everything. If you’re maintaining more than one person’s schedule, like your children’s, use different colored inks to record information for each family member.
4. Make a note on your calendar, one week ahead of any event, about what you need to do for that event. Do you need to buy wine to bring to a housewarming party? Do you need to send flowers for your mother’s birthday? Whatever it is, make a note of it in advance so you can stay of top of your tasks.
5. Make a list of your goals. Write down at least 10 goals you want to accomplish in your lifetime. Be specific. Then put the list away and update it again next year.
6. Choose one or two goals you want to accomplish this year with your business. Maybe it’s to make more money or to land more clients. How will you accomplish that goal? What amount of money will you make this year? How will you do it? Type that information out in a clear sentence, put by your bedside, and read it every morning and every night to help inspire you to reach your goals.
7. Get rid of any office supplies you haven’t used in the past year. Return them to the store for credit or donate them to your favorite charity. The less clutter there is in your office, the more happiness there’ll be in your life. If you buy a new printer, donate the old one. You don’t need two printers–the old one is just taking up space. This goes for everything in your office.
8. Start planning now for the next tax year. Label a box “Next Year’s Taxes,” and put it in your office. This box will hold all your tax-related documents throughout the year: bank statements, receipts for business expenses, online statements indicating what bills you paid and charity receipts. At the end of the year, remove the contents from the box and make two piles–business and personal–for your accountant (or for yourself, if you do your own taxes). The box will be the one place you put everything that has anything to do with your taxes. It sure beats searching for the paperwork at the end of the year.
9. Update your rolodex. Clear out all the cards of people you never called last year. I can tell you that if a year goes by and you haven’t contacted them, chances are, you’ll never call them. If you feel you need to keep the information, put all the “maybe I’ll call them one of these days” cards in a file and label it that.
10. Feng Shui your desk and surroundings. If it’s good enough for Donald Trump, it’s good enough for you!
Leslie Jacobs is the owner of Les Is More, a personal organizing business based in New Britain, Connecticut.
B usiness trips can be a stressful time. You have to make sure you arrive on time, in the right place, with all your belongings. It’s better if you’re travelling as a big group for an expo or annual meeting because you can travel together on a charter bus illinois and talk about everything on the journey there. However, if you’re by yourself, it can be way more stressful.
Whether you are a seasoned businessperson or going on your first business trip, you may be looking for a better way to keep all of your documents and work-related items in one place. Once getting off the plane and into your hotel room. You may be overwhelmed by all the stuff that you have to reorganize. This article will go through all of the best organization techniques and products that you can use while you are on your business trip.
Set all of your Documents and Work-Related Items Aside Before Taking Off
This just may be the most important step that you can take to make your business trip easier for you. The better that you prepare your items beforehand, the less that you have to do when you get off the plane. When you finally reach your hotel, you know that the first thing you will want to go is kick your shoes off and relax in the company-paid-for hotel. You will not have the energy to unpack all of your clothes and organize the documents that you need for the next day’s work meeting. Set aside all of your important forms, your work laptop, and any packages that needs to be delivered to the other office you are visiting. Once you do this you can easily put it in your suitcase and be ready to take off.
Get a Compact Carry-On that will Allow you to Store your Important Documents
Speaking of suitcases, what you will need is specifically a carry on that is able to store all of your important work documents. The last thing that you will want to do is show up with a broken laptop or missing papers because of an airlines poor handling. You need to be able to keep your important things close, so you don’t have to stress while you are on your flight. A great product that will help is the soft sided carry on luggage offered by Travel Outfitters. With the great collection that is offered you really cannot go wrong with whatever you pick! After you get your very own carry-on you will be one more step closer to finally organizing all of your business trip documents. Travel Outfitters offers a wide variety of soft sided carry on luggage that come in many colors and sizes.
Get a Document Holder
Another major step in the organizational process is to get a sufficient number of holders to make sure that your work documents to the office safely. The best types to use are the folders that are plastic or vinyl because if there is any spill of even some type of moisture that could possibly get on the paper, this can help greatly. This will also help you organize your documents by day, or by specific meeting. You can even label each folder separately so that you will not lose track of your documents.
Hopefully by just adding these three steps, you can become more organized and make your business trip less hectic. Don’t fall behind! Start on your new organizational strategies today, and good luck!
U.S. bus lines transport people all over the country. (Photo: John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images )
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If you haven’t been on a bus since high school, you might be pleasantly surprised at how advanced modern buses have become. Most touring buses offer comfortable, roomy seats, electrical outlets and even Wi-Fi for your convenience on the road. If you have a large group that wants to take a trip together, bus travel can be a comfortable and economical choice. If you’re in charge of organizing the trip, give yourself at least a month to complete the plan.
Look up prices for a number of different bus lines to find the best deal for your group. National bus lines such as Greyhound and Trailways cover most of the country. Smaller lines such as Megabus don’t reach every state, but can be significantly cheaper. If you have a large enough group, the most inexpensive cost per ticket may be to charter a bus exclusively for your trip.
Collect the cost of the ticket from each group member before making reservations. Much like airline tickets, you’ll have to pay for the bus tickets in advance.
Investigate the rules and amenities for your particular bus line. Find out the baggage weight and number limit, prohibited items both carry-on and checked, suggested carry-on items and any perks such as electrical outlets or Wi-Fi. Share this information with your group members.
Print out the bus schedule for each group member, as well as a list of all rules and amenities. Emphasize to each member that this information is their own responsibility.
Plan group activities for the ride that coincide with your group’s purpose. If you’re a quilting group, pass out small kits for hand piecing. Book clubs can have a discussion of the latest novel they’ve read. Don’t plan to fill every minute of the trip, but offer one or two alternatives to sitting and reading the entire time.
Schedule a departure time 1 hour before the bus leaves. This will give the group time to get organized, and to allow the inevitable late person to show up on time.
- Advise members that if they miss the bus, they may be able to catch it at the next stop and join the group there, if your bus has multiple stops along the way.
Leaf Group is a USA TODAY content partner providing general travel information. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.
A trip can bring your group closer together. (Photo: beach image by Horticulture from Fotolia.com )
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Traveling in a group can be more fun and less expensive than traveling alone. Family reunions, destination weddings and girls’ getaways are just a few favorite group trips. Whatever the reason for your trip, organizing a travel group is sometimes challenging. Careful planning and open communication are the keys to success.
Limit the size of the group. The more people you add, the more personalities and budgets you will need to accommodate. Consider the ages of children and the interests of each person when selecting group members. If the group consists of more than six members, try to organize sub-groups of people with common personalities and interests.
Poll the group members to find a consensus on when and where to travel. Offer three or four specific choices rather than asking open-ended questions. Otherwise, each person might choose a different time and place.
Provide multiple choices for accommodations. Each person has a different budget and a different set of criteria for choosing lodging. Offer at least one each of high-end, moderate and value accommodations that are located reasonably close to one another.
Use the Internet and local guidebooks to create a schedule of group activities. Do not attempt to schedule every moment of every day, but focus instead on offering one or two activities per day. The group will naturally subdivide according to interests, such as shopping or museum touring, making it unnecessary for you to over-plan the trip.
Take charge of financial details for scheduled group activities. Pay all deposits yourself and ask group members to reimburse you. This ensures that all reservations are linked together and avoids shutting out forgetful travelers from group plans.
Create a social networking site for the trip on a service such as Facebook or MySpace. This allows group members to meet, share ideas and make plans. Build excitement by frequently posting schedule updates or photos of your destination.
- Relax and make sure your expectations are reasonable. Your traveling companions are human, and travel can be stressful for anyone. Avoid the urge to “play hostess,” constantly checking in to make sure everyone is happy. Let the trip unfold naturally.
Leaf Group is a USA TODAY content partner providing general travel information. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.
Master to-do list for starting a professional organizing business.
by Geralin Thomas
This is a comprehensive list for new professional organizers starting a productivity consulting or professional organizing business. While reading the list, please keep in mind that there are no right or wrong ways to tackle all the to-dos.
This is your business. You are the boss and the decision maker. Take your time and enjoy this process. I suggest selecting just one or two sections to focus on at a time. Read the entire list before deciding where you want to start and whatever you do, don’t let the number of to-dos on this list intimidate or overwhelm you.
1. Research the Professional Organizing Industry
- Read organizing books and organizing blogs.
- Read blogs posts from homeowners or business owners to learn what kind of organizing challenges people are experiencing.
- Research business advice websites. For some, membership is required.
- Join an organization for networking (like your local Chamber of Commerce), accreditations, coaching, etc. Organizations to start with include, the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO), your local NAPO chapter, and the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD).
- Find a mentor, coach, or business consultant.
- Market research — pinpoint the type of client you’d like to work with.
- Consider developing a niche or area of expertise.
2. Name Your Business
- Create a name for your business and maybe a tagline, too.
- Check to see if the domain is available (WHOis.net, GoDaddy.com, NetworkSolutions.com, namecheap, or do a Google search).
- Check your Secretary of State website to see if your business name is available and how to proceed regarding filing for a DBA (Doing Business As).
3. Financial, Legal, Logistical
- Write a business plan.
- Decide your business structure, also known as an entity (corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, etc.). Educate yourself at your Secretary of State’s website and Registrar of Deeds website.
- Register your business name at any required agencies (city/county for licenses or zoning permits), or use a service like BizFilings.
- Research tax requirements for your state and apply for tax exempt status (if needed) with your state’s Department of Revenue.
- Purchase business insurance (general liability, home & business equipment, errors & omissions).
- Once your registration paperwork has been approved and returned to you, complete the federal SS-4 form and obtain an EIN number before setting up a bank account in your business name.
- With your new bank account, purchase business checks.
- Get a business debit card and/or credit card.
- Set up a merchant account to accept credit cards or a service like PayPal or Square.
- Set up your desk and office space.
- Set up a phone number and appropriate voicemail message.
- Purchase a computer, supplies, and business equipment (scanner, printer, headset).
- Create a signature line for your email, include your area code and phone number.
- Purchase a backup system for your computer (Backblaze, Carbonite, SugarSync, iCloud, etc.).
4. Develop Your Services and Pricing
- Create a list of services you’ll offer.
- Estimate your business costs.
- Define how you price your services and what your rates will be (hourly rate, tiered pricing, package pricing, project pricing, retainer fees, cancellation, shopping and research fees).
- Establish billing policies and a Services Agreement and/or Independent Contractor Agreement (check LegalZoom).
- Purchase and set up accounting software; create an invoice and bookkeeping system.
- Decide if you want to hire a bookkeeper or accountant.
- Purchase a domain name or a few domain names, including your own name.
- Set up website hosting and email.
- Create a logo, symbol, word mark for your business (or hire a graphic designer)
- Get at least one professional headshot.
- Write a professional bio.
- Create business cards.
- Create stationery using vistaprint or your local print shop (letterhead, notecards, envelopes, address labels).
- Design a website yourself or hire a web designer. Either way, you’ll need a website template and website content management system (like WordPress, Wix, Weebly, or Joomla), and content (pages on your site might include: about you, contact info, services, pricing, testimonials from clients, etc.).
- Create social media profiles on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn.
- Get the word out that you are open for business with a media release, social media posts, and forum posts. Call friends/family/clients and ask for referrals, create a brochure or mass mailing, etc.
6. Define Client Experience and Create:
- New organizing client questionnaire known as intake forms or assessment forms.
- Consultation process—set expectations of what’s expected and what’s NOT included in your services; explain your billing process.
- A welcome letter and booking confirmation.
- Feedback form, testimonial, and online reviews (Google, Yelp).
Congratulations! You are on your way to starting your own professional organizing business. With my master to-do list you are bound to feel more confident in your ability to plan your time and your budget. My goal is to have you grow your new organizing business in a sensible, sustainable manner. Next, we’ll work on booking clients who want and need help getting and staying organized. Good luck!
Good business organization can keep your operations running smoothly. Follow these 7 tips to on how to organize a business so your company runs like a well-oiled machine.
1. Define your business goals and plans
Write down your business goals and how you plan to achieve them in a clear and precise way and stick to it. Keep this plan visible to remind yourself of your plan from day to day. Buy an organizer or use software to do this.
By studying and sticking to your plan, you can evaluate your position as to where you stand and make any necessary adjustments to get back on track.
2. Keep yourself and your employees motivated
When you and your employees are happy at work, it shows – and customers notice it immediately. It also improves efficiency and that shows your customers that you and your team are well- organized.
Keep rewarding your employees with any method that you feel works, so as to keep their morale high.
You can also use software like Advance Systems to help you manage your workforce. Tools like this help with business organization.
3. Plan according to business organization needs
There are some things that need to be planned daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. Make a list of these items and schedule them accordingly. Daily planning should be done in the early morning or in the late evening the previous day. Before you go to bed (or even earlier, perhaps before you leave your office), make a list of the top 5 things you want to accomplish the next day.
You can use printed day planners, a simple notepad, or a mobile or desktop application to keep track of your activities.
Tools like Wunderlist, Google’s Tasks, and Apple’s To Do list can make your life easier. And with new products like Google’s Home Mini and Amazon’s Echo Dot, you can have a voice-activated personal assistant to create lists and remind you of meetings.
For other parts of your business, use accounting and product management tools to plan your stock, increase product rotation, and manage your expenses – thereby increasing your cash flow and profit margin.
4. Organize your office items
Clutter affects business organization. Keep your office or store as neat as possible. Store items that you require everyday in the same place so that you do not have to hunt for them every time you need them. Tidy filing systems will make your life so much easier.
Here’s a little tip on how to organize a business that will take you a very long way: when you reduce the visual clutter around you, you will reduce your mental clutter automatically. That frees your mind to come up with creative ideas to get customers and build your company. We take imagination days regularly.
Clear out items that you do not need or have not used in a long time. This will prevent lost time, helping you to concentrate on important issues instead of trivial things.
5. Adhere to your commitments
Keep your promises to customers, suppliers and employees. Making payments on time to your suppliers indicates a well-organized business.
Making deliveries at the agreed upon time to your customers will win their trust and will help you in getting repeat orders, as well generate word-of-mouth advertising.
6. Keep in touch with clients and prospects
Keeping in touch with your customers indicates that you care about them and value their business. Send regular notes or emails about new products and services that you offer.
Even better, send educational material that shows off your expertise. This is different than sales material. Educational content marketing provides insight into industry trends and alerts. This positions your company as a trusted resource, making it very hard for your competitors to steal your clients.
Mail your customers birthday cards or greeting cards on special occasions and holidays. This shows a lot about how organized your business is. Several email marketing tools like MailChimp allow you to store a customer’s birthday and send an e-card automatically.
7. Use that computer
A computer is like having an extra brain. Use it as much as possible. Do your accounting, inventory, delivery scheduling, and even your letter writing on it. It will save you a lot of time and effort – much more than doing these tasks manually.
With newer and faster applications, it is now possible to have a paperless, uncluttered office. Having access to data at your fingertips indicates good business organization. Just don’t forget to make a regular backup of your data.
The more organized your small business is, the easier it will be to operate day-to-day, leaving you more time to concentrate on increasing your profits.
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Travel agents have a tremendous amount of information and business-related materials to manage during the workday. With so many trips and clients traveling to different locations at different times, maintaining order is a big part of the job. Understanding what an agent needs to keep at hand and what is better off set aside can make life easier.
Since travel agents are the point of contact for their clients throughout the travel process, they must be ready to change reservations and fix problems at a moment’s notice. If a guest arrives in Paris and is unhappy with her hotel arrangements, the agent must be ready to move her to a location that is more suitable immediately. Agents should save flight, accommodation, tour and rental car confirmation numbers and supplier contact information along with client and contact names, dates and rates paid on a laptop computer or smart phone so they are always accessible in a worst case scenario. If you aren’t so technologically inclined or you like to backup your electronic files, write down the departure dates for each client on your work calendar and print the info as each trip comes up. Put the info into a folder and carry it with you until the trip has concluded.
Selling on the Move
Travel agents can never tell when the next client will appear. Sales are not limited to the office and can occur at a friend’s home, on the street or over lunch. Being prepared for such eventualities with an organized selection of marketing materials and trip options is a key part of selling on the move. If a client calls you in the evening, the last thing you want to do is say I will get back to you tomorrow, by which time she may have already booked with someone else or online. Have links to your agent price and property lists, airline ticketing site and all other agency accounts on your laptop so they are accessible from anywhere. The more prepared you are to serve customers, the more you will be able to sell and the more pleased they will be with your service. A reliable travel agent is a busy travel agent.
Understanding which suppliers provide you with the best rooms or seats on the airplane or rental car options can make for happier clients and more sales. For example, if you know that every time you book with Acme Hotels, your clients get a small room at the rear of the property, while Smith Hotels tend to give oversize rooms with free Internet, it makes sense to place your clients with Smith. Keep notes on every property and supplier regarding your customer feedback and general experience. Referring to your insider notes can make your services all the more valuable to clients who will begin to see you as the agent who knows all the tricks.
Travel agents often do not receive their commission until a trip has concluded and the traveler has returned home. They must keep accurate records of what is owed and by whom to ensure they are paid. Suppliers like hotels and tour companies will issue payment to the travel agent once they have been paid in full and the clients have completed their stay. Calculate the commission percentage at the time of booking and keep a list of your calculations, along with the dates of the trip. When the trip is over, check that the proper amount has been sent or deposited into your account, and if not, contact the supplier in question. If you work for a large chain agency, your payments may not arrive until the following month, so your calculations should be arranged accordingly.
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An organized business is a productive business. You may not consider yourself blessed with natural organizational skills, but now is the perfect time to get your business and work space organized.
Below are 10 tips to help you do that and get on track in the new year.
How to Organize Your Small Business
Purge Your Office
Even if you don’t mind a little mess and dust, too much clutter can add to daily stress and chaos. Clutter exists because we think that everything is important. With the new year, toss out whatever is outdated, no longer relevant or a duplicate.
- Recycle the broken electronics you may have stashed in a closet.
- Delete all those old voice messages.
- Donate anything you don’t need or use.
- Keep the basics and anything you’ve used in the past year; all else can go.
When your workspace is clean and uncluttered, you’ll enjoy spending time at your desk and won’t waste time searching through junk or moving piles around.
Organize Your Paper Files
One study found that the average person wastes over 4 hours per week searching for papers. Go through your filing cabinets and shred anything that’s out of date or no longer relevant to your business.
If you’re worried you might one day need four-year old notes from a client project, then scan the originals and throw out the paper files to make more room.
Ditch Paper Receipts
Considering the IRS accepts electronic copies of receipts, there’s really no reason for you to continue hanging on to all those tiny paper slips from restaurants, taxis, office supply stores, etc.
Find a receipt management scanner or app for your smartphone (such as Neat Receipts) and make sure your solution lets you export data to whatever expense reporting/accounting app you use.
Use the Cloud for Storage and Sharing
If you haven’t done so already, start using cloud-based tools to share and save documents. For example, Google Drive lets you store up to 15GB for free, while giving clients or colleagues access to collaborate. Other tools include Dropbox and Box.
By housing files in the cloud, you can help clean up your personal storage, as well as save valuable time spent emailing documents back and forth when collaborating with others.
Tame Your Inbox
If your email inbox has become a catchall for every email you’ve received over the past years, it’s time to clean house. It is possible to manage your email inbox so you only see the messages you still need to deal with and everything else is neatly archived for safe keeping. Start with a clean slate by filing away everything you no longer need to respond to.
Next, tame the level of new emails you get each day by unsubscribing to newsletters or other subscriptions you no longer read. Create specific folders where non-essential emails go automatically, so they don’t interrupt your daily flow.
Get the Right Note-Taking Tool
One key to staying organized and effective as a small business owner is having the right solution for jotting down any tasks or inspirations when they strike.
Whether you prefer to use pen and paper, voice recording on your smartphone or an app like Evernote, the most important thing is that the solution fits into your lifestyle so you’ll use it consistently.
Tidy Up Your Social Media Profiles
It’s not just your email inbox and desktop that fall prey to clutter. Your social media profiles can also become clogged and out of date.
First, take stock of where your business has a social presence and drop any accounts that are no longer in use. There’s no point in having multiple Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr and Instagram profiles if you’re not actively posting and monitoring each account.
You can also use a tool like JustUnfollow to weed out any followers who are inactive or aren’t following you back.
Meet with a Tax Advisor
Don’t wait until it’s time to file your returns to start thinking about taxes. Make an appointment with a CPA or tax advisor early in the year.
If your business is still structured as a sole proprietor, now’s the time to think about protecting your personal assets and gaining other benefits through a formal business structure like an LLC or corporation.
Take Charge of Your Books
If you run a small business, you already have some kind of process in place for invoicing, processing payments, recording expenses and tracking projects. But if you haven’t updated your process lately, chances are there’s an app out there to help make these administrative tasks easier and more efficient.
Take a look at your tablet/smartphone app store for a new tool that could help you get organized and take charge of your books in the new year. For example, there’s FreshBooks, Mint, Kashoo, and InDinero to name a few.
Tie Up Any Legal Loose Ends
This is a perfect opportunity to tie up any loose ends you’ve been putting off in prior years. For example, did you file a DBA (Doing Business As) for your business name? Did you get a Tax ID number? Are all your licenses and local permits in order? Did you make any changes to your corporation and LLC and still need to file an Articles of Amendment to record those changes with the state?
What other tips can you offer to get your business organized this year?
Where you work affects how you work. Working in a cluttered, messy, or distracting environment will affect your work, and probably in a negative way.
If you’re like the average knowledge worker, you spend most of your time sitting in front of a computer screen. Even though your work revolves around a computer, your office as a whole should help you to be as productive as possible.
A well-organized office has huge benefits. In the first place, it provides a feeling of control and competence, which leads to higher levels of productivity. Second, the very fact that it’s organized defends against distractions. Your organized office can absorb the incoming work, and position you for success.
Start with a purge
You can’t create a productive workspace without The Purge.
Depending on the condition of your office, the purge could take anywhere from a few hours to a whole day.
The final goal of the purge is to have an office that is completely free of clutter.
Create a catch-it space
Every office needs a place to catch incoming junk.
There are three main types of junk that flow into an office: 1) important documents, 2) stuff you need to keep (jacket, umbrella, travel mug), and 3) trash.
A catch-it space should be set up in the most obvious area of your office. If you have a door, create your catch-it space to the right of the door. If you’re in a cubicle, create a catch it space somewhere near the entrance.
A catch-it space should have: 1) a credenza or tray for documents; 2) a shelf, hooks, or a box in which to place important items; and 3) a trashcan.
Your catch-it space helps you keep your office clean with little effort.
Keep your desktop clear of clutter
The most important physical space in an office is the desktop.
Most people find that they are most productive when working at a desktop that is free of clutter. Other people, mostly creative types, thrive in a setting that is disorderly.
If you have a penchant for the creative and a secret love for the disorder, then do what suits you. Some entrepreneurs, famously including Tony Hsieh, love a messy desk.
For the less inspired among us, a clean and pristine desktop is the best option. Our work styles are reflected by our work surroundings; a clean workspace creates a productive workflow.
Place two document trays on your desk
A two-tray system is the simplest and most effective for handling incoming paper.
The system works like this: 1) new tray, new documents; 2) old tray, documents you’ve opened or looked at, and need to deal with.
All new, unread, or unopened documents go in the new tray. This tray is for the benefit of people who wander into your office to toss stuff on your desk. Point to the tray. The new tray is for things that you still have to deal with. Unopened envelopes, folders, documents–it’s all waiting for you, neatly stacked, when you’re ready for it.
The old tray is for things that you’ve opened but still need to deal with–scan, file, forward, etc. It’s like a to-do list, but at least it’s not scattered all over your office
This is a very simple approach, but it works wonders for eliminating paper clutter from a desk, freeing you to be more productive.
Create two zones
Not all work is created equal. You should approach office organization with this two-zone perspective.
Zone 1: Computer work. This is your traditional desktop. You spend most of your time here, knocking stuff out and getting things done.
Zone 2: Non-computer work. This is where you go to do non-computer stuff. It could be the same desk, but simply another area that is cleared of monitors, cords, and chargers. This is where you go when you thumb through documents, use your iPad, sign papers, scan documents, or stamp envelopes–whatever it is that doesn’t require a hands-on-the-keyboard approach to work.
The two-zone approach to an office helps you both organize your work and your approach to getting the types of things done that you deal with on a daily basis.
Place physical objects into drawers or organizing trays
Most offices need a few supplies. Even Andrew Hyde, the extreme minimalist who stripped his possessions down to 15 things, needs a place to put his iPhone, chargers, earphones, camera, sunglasses, and wallet.
Whether you have 15 items or 500, you need a place to put it all–a place that is out of sight. A desk drawer is the logical place. Avoid the temptation to keep your cute stapler, fashionable tape dispenser, and adorable paper clip holder on top of your desk. For the most part, these supplies need to be stored in an organized and accessible place like a drawer.
Get a bigger trashcan
A bigger trashcan sounds a bit silly, but it’s actually a strategic hack. Here’s why. Most of the paper that comes into an office can be discarded or digitized rather than filed. Filing papers is one of the tasks that takes the most time, and is thus the most procrastinated.
Because a large trashcan is more visible, you tend to think of it more often. When unnecessary paper comes into your workspace, you’re more likely to place it in the trashcan than to stack it in a disheveled paper tower of “No Clue What to Do With It.”
A bigger trashcan also prevents trashcan overflow. One of the worst forms of office clutter is a trashcan that reached its capacity three days ago. Get a bigger can, and you’ll be able to absorb more waste. Make sure to recycle!
Be sure to combine your personal productivity system with your office organization method. Some productivity methods recommend a certain approach to organizing your office.
Whatever your preferred organizational method or productivity system, don’t wait to create your organized office. The longer you wait, the more time you waste.
What methods do you use to create an organized office space?
1) Clean out each desk drawer, to free up even more valuable storage space.
2) Clear off the top of your desk, then wipe off the surface of the desktop.
3) Keep essential items on your desktop (computer, phone, fax, card file).
4) If you work with more than one person create an inbox for each person.
5) Have a master to-do list for each day at your desk.
6) Pre-Sort the mail. To-File, To-Read, To-Contact(write or call).
7) Use a variety of containers to organize office supplies, paper clips and pens.
8) Use a variety of desktop organizers or trays to organize papers that come across your desk.
9) Create a separate drawer for personal paperwork, items, etc.
10) Use storage boxes to store dated files.
11) Purchase Magazine boxes to store booklets, magazines, catalogs you want to keep.
12) Create a file for magazine articles or scan them into your computer.
13) Filing system should be simple easy and manageable.
14) Color-coding your files makes it faster to find information.
15) Do not over stuff folders. It may be time to toss some of the information in the folder .
16) Never overload filing drawer. It will make it difficult to retrieve information in the drawers.
17) Sub-divide larger files with interior file folders.
18) Tab hanging file folders in the front.
19) Return calls in batches. Leave specific messages and the time you called if the person you’re trying to reach isn’t available.
20) Empty workspace of everything but the project you’re working on to cut down on distractions.
21) Keep an assortment of all-occasion cards and stamps in your desk.
22) Keep takeout menus from favorite restaurants so you can order ahead and pick up dinner on your way home.
23) When using more than one checking account, color-coded checks are an easy way to identify each account.
24) At the end of each project or event, organize paperwork and file or store it.
25) Straighten desk at the end of the day and especially at the end of the week so that you can start each morning with a clear desk.
Totally Organized is a professional organizing company devoted to help you make the most of your day and get more quality free time.
Business travel takes you not only away from the office, but also far from your usual routine. When you’re not sleeping in the same bed, eating the same food, or working at the same desk, it can be tough to get into your typical hard-working mindset.
Yet, in spite of the jet lag and the back-to-back meetings you probably have planned, there are some easy steps you can take to adjust, making any work trip a productive one. To learn more, I spoke with four successful road warriors who revealed their secrets for getting down to business quickly, staying focused, and producing great work—even when you’re on the go.
1. Let Technology be Your Assistant
Before you depart, decide which of your gadgets will serve you best on the trip, and pack accordingly. Do you need your laptop for heavy-duty writing projects, or will your smartphone and tablet be enough? Depending on the focus of your trip, you may be able to lighten your load and leave some devices at home.
Whatever you decide to bring, having access to reliable Wi-Fi is essential. Most major airlines offer this as an in-flight service, but double check availability and pricing before you book a flight. For frequent flyers, Amanda Augustine, job search expert for TheLadders, recommends purchasing a plan from a service like Gogo, an in-flight internet service that covers multiple airlines. Of course, you’ll need to work after your flight, too—so make sure to verify Wi-Fi availability at your hotel, conference center, and meeting space.
2. Plan Everything
Even in the electronic age, long-time business approaches still apply. “Before you leave, put a list together of what you need to bring,” suggests Meryl Pearlstein, owner of MDP Publicity. Consider anything you could possibly need—from business attire and office supplies to cosmetics and battery chargers—so that all your must-haves are faithfully by your side, even miles away from home. Many road warriors also like to bring a few comforts from home (like a pillow from home or a favorite comfy sweatshirt) to help them adjust quickly to their home-away-from-home environments.
And since traveling never seems to go exactly as planned, make sure your to-bring list accounts for potential emergencies and delays. If you’re checking a bag, pack a change of clothes, a toothbrush, some makeup, and anything you’ll need for your first day of work inside your carry-on. (Or, learn how to pack more efficiently and take only a carry-on!)
In addition to the essentials, Dawn Wilcox, managing director of the Social Impact Practice at Allison+Partners, likes to keep a folder with her flight schedule and travel details in her carry-on for easy access. On that note, she also suggests always booking a direct flight instead of a connecting one. As fun as an extra six hours in the Las Vegas airport sounds, delays can seriously impact your mood, productivity, and meeting schedule.
3. Communicate to Your Office Before You Leave
One of the most difficult parts of business travel is keeping up with your normal workload when your day-to-day routine is suddenly nothing like normal. So, preparation is key to make sure everything at the office stays on track while you’re away.
Before heading out, meet with your project teams to get status updates and review upcoming deadlines. Augustine emphasizes that it’s extremely important to communicate to your team when you’ll be available by phone or checking your email, and when you’ll be totally unavailable. Also let everyone know how you’d like to be contacted in case of emergency (by text? By emails marked “Urgent?”), so you can address pressing issues between meetings.
Then, set your out-of-office message to indicate a point person for inquiries and set communication expectations (e.g., “If you have a question pertaining to the sales conference next month, please contact Amanda Johnston. I will respond to general inquiries when I return to the office on Monday.”)
4. Get Familiar With Your Destination
Before you actually arrive, find out where you’ll be staying and what’s nearby. Where’s the closest grocery store where you can grab some snacks? Is the conference center within walking distance? Pearlstein suggests figuring out how hard it’ll be to find a cab, particularly at night (if you’re not in a high-traffic area, it might be better to arrange for a car service).
Knowing this information before you arrive will save you valuable time when you get there—so you can settle in and get right to work. (But since you’ll probably still have to make some on-the-fly decisions, load up your phone or tablet with apps that make travel a lot easier, like OpenTable for dinner reservations and Uber for car service.)
5. Set To-Dos to do While in Route
Take advantage of your commuting time to be productive, instead of saving it for your destination. “Make a list of goals for what you’re going to do in transit,” recommends Randi Brill, CEO of Quarasan and founder of Teacher Peach in Chicago. “If you say, ‘I’ll do it when I get to the hotel,’” she adds, you probably won’t get to it—after a full day of traveling, you’ll be exhausted. But, don’t wear yourself out—Wilcox prefers to work during the first three quarters of her flight and then spend the last leg relaxing.
To help boost your productivity in-transit, consider signing up for hotel or airline loyalty programs or business credit cards that offer travel perks. Susan Baroncini-Moe, an Indianapolis business strategist and author of Business in Blue Jeans, uses her airline’s club lounges whenever possible, but “also invested in some high-quality noise-canceling headphones,” which help her work well in crowded spaces.
6. Find Your Focus
Once you land and check in, do whatever it takes to optimize your time and comfort, says Baroncini-Moe. Whether unpacking immediately helps you feel more organized, or stocking your mini-fridge with iced coffee gets you revved up to work, recognize what helps you feel settled in—and do it.
When you’re working in your hotel room, Pearlstein suggests sitting at a desk or table and setting it up to resemble your regular workspace: Unpack your laptop, find an outlet for your phone and computer chargers, connect to the Wi-Fi, organize your files, and arrange any office supplies you need. With your desk ready to go, you’ll have an easier time getting right to work when you pop into your hotel room between meetings.
But no matter how productive you are, it’s also important to figure out how to unwind at the end of a long day. Baroncini-Moe prefers to recharge with some alone time: A quiet dinner, good book, phone call with her husband, and meditation. When you find time to relax at night, you’ll be more alert, productive, and energized the next day.
Finally, “Take advantage of the fact you’re traveling,” suggests Pearlstein. At the end of a trip to Vancouver, during a two-hour airport layover, Pearlstein decided to go on a speed-sightseeing tour of the city, returning just in time to catch her flight. Of course, the main reason for your trip is business—but that doesn’t mean you can’t see the sights, too.
There’s a lot to be said for staying organized. The ability to quickly locate all of the information, reminders, and documents you need is one of the biggest time-saving favors you can do for yourself. With that in mind, our super organized customer success team gathered a list of their favorite apps to keep you organized.
Evernote is a comprehensive, yet easy to learn documentation management system that works on all devices. It stores your text files, spreadsheets, images, receipts, checklists, audio recordings, video recordings, and workflows (whew!) through a tiered organization system. In addition, there are lots of add-ons and apps that interface well with Evernote such as Slack, Outlook, and Salesforce.
Pro tip: You can email documents and correspondence directly to your Evernote. Use this feature to organize all of your client notes, written interactions and signed documents in an easily searchable format. No more sifting through excessive pages or cumbersome CRMs.
Ever wish for an app that helps you stay organized automatically? Meet IFTTT.
Coming from the phrase “If this, then that…” IFTTT is a simple logic-based application that works off of “applets,” or rules that are created for different interfaces. For example, you can program it to update your Facebook profile photo every time you update your LinkedIn profile photo.
As a result of being able to connect to hundreds of other apps, the possibilities are endless. IFTTT can even connect to your appliances or turn on your porch light when your pizza shows up.
Pro tip: Program IFTTT to automatically save every email attachment to a specific folder in your Google Drive.
When was the last time you tried to log into an account or website and couldn’t remember the password? If you’re like most of us, it was probably either today or yesterday. Needless to say, it happens all the time. LastPass is here to save the day. LastPass has users create a master password for their vault, where you add and manage the logins you’ve saved to LastPass.
Pro-tip: Since we all work on the go more than ever, download LastPass on your mobile device so you can access all the credentials you need for every website.
Dropbox is one of the most well-known apps to keep you organized. There are options for individual users and business users. Depending on how technical you are, some of the account options can meet many needs for a growing small business. These features include the ability to remotely wipe a device, enable HIPAA compliance, and integrate various APIs. One of our favorite features is the ability to control shared links with other people outside of your organization.
Pro tip: Set your smartphone photo library to back up to Dropbox. While many smartphones offer a limited amount of cloud space, those fill up quickly with images. Dropbox can ensure all of your important pictures are backed up safely.
5. Google Drive and Google Docs
Google Drive is a super accessible, robust online drive that interfaces with your Google account. You can store documents on it just like any other drive, but access it from any device, be it a public computer, tablet, or your smartphone. Google Drive also lets you choose sharing permissions for your files and folders and invite others to collaborate on documents. You can allow others to view only, edit, or suggest edits on various documents.
Below is an example of how OutboundEngine uses it for group collaboration on documents that need input from multiple people across departments.
Google Docs has all of your essential office suite components (word processing, presentations, spreadsheets, etc.), but puts them into a live online format. This gives as many people as you want editing and management access without the need to constantly save changes. All updates are saved in real time and can be edited and accessed from any device with an internet connection.
Pro tip: Don’t forget about the rest of the Google Drive options! Create and share spreadsheets and presentations in addition to documents.
Spend your time how you want
A huge part of staying competitive and productive is the ease of access. You need to know where your important information is, and the easiest way to obtain it. Use these apps to keep you organized and spending your time the way that you want. In addition, you’ll have a backup system in place when life gets crazy.
While this list of apps to keep you organized can help in specific situations, it won’t take care of all the important tasks your business needs to get done. If marketing is one of the items taking up too much of your time, OutboundEngine can meet this need. Our team of marketing experts