Last week we reviewed running your LNC business using 7 tips to help with office management and business organization. These ranged from using password managers to having a business manual to keep you and your team on track. Another big tip is outsourcing tasks to help achieve a work-life balance.
Upgrading Your LNC Business: 7 More Tips
1. Keep Paperwork ONLY in the Office
Haven’t we all taken something important out of the office, only for it to slip into the paperwork abyss, never to be found again? Thankfully there is a solution. Don’t take it out of the office! Not only does this prevent mysterious disappearances, but also ensures you stay organized in your office.
2. Pay Attention to Your Learning Style
If you find yourself frustrated that none of the new strategies and methods you’re trying to implement are working, step back to consider why. Many times, it can be that you have a different learning style than the person who recommended it to you.
For example, you’re a tactile learner who has been unsuccessful at follow-through with the voice memos suggested by a colleague. Or maybe you’re an auditory learner frustrated by the physical to-do lists you keep making. Instead of letting yourself feel annoyed, figure out techniques that fit your needs.
Try creating physical notes and highlight the important tasks, bringing in tactile elements to promote learning.
This system works for me: I jot a note on paper when I think of something I need to do. Then I transfer the note to Trello, and keep track of the items in a list called Quickies. Every day or two I review the list of Quickies so I make sure I am not overlooking anything.
For firsthand experience, I know it is easy to lose a note. An electronic note in Trello stays until you archive it, and you can always make it visible again.
If you’re an auditory learner, maybe voice memos are what you need! The next time someone suggests a great organizational tip, be sure you determine whether or not it is in line with your learning needs. Also, don’t be afraid to search the internet for organization strategies for _____ learners!
3. Invest in Better Physical Storage
As I covered last week, clutter is usually a sign of something just not working. Maybe the only solution you need is more filing cabinets.
Look at your current set-up and decide if you’re attempting to make do with what you have, or if your furniture is truly serving its purpose and doing it well.
The next, fun step is to go explore your options for office furniture. You can go to your local Target, Home Depot, Container Store, Furniture Outlet, IKEA, or thrift store.
4. Change your Chair
Office ergonomics are critical. How can we expect to be productive when our office chair is the same one we have had for 10 years, and at the time, it was just the first one we saw at the store?
Just like finding new office furniture, go around to local stores and test out the different chair options. You should also consider reading online reviews to see what will truly fit your needs.
Once you find one that fits all the criteria with comfort and support in mind, get it! This purchase for upgrading your LNC business will be worth it in the long run, and you’ll be impressed by the decreased back pain and increased work output.
When I went chair shopping recently, I saw chairs with tags that said 3-5 hours or 5-8 hours. I bought a 3-5 hour chair but can tell you it is comfortable for 10 hours. My chair is 100 times more comfortable than the old one.
Keep in mind the interior of the car you’ll use to transport your chair. I had to move the passenger seat of my car all the way forward to accommodate the chair in the back seat. A pick up truck would have been handy but we don’t own one.
5. Get Rid of that Annoying Software
While programs are normally lifesavers, they can also be things we put up with just because they are what someone recommended, or because it’s what you have. The solution to that is to get rid of it! There is no reason to keep yourself chained to something that doesn’t work. Upgrading your LNC business involves using a critical eye to evaluate your software.
When searching for its replacement, do your research. Look at online reviews, watch tutorials on YouTube, and even ask other local business owners.
It might be an unplanned investment but finding new software that isn’t a headache will help streamline much of what you do.
Know that if you decide to make a radical switch, such as going from PC to Mac or vice versa, you’ll face a learning curve. Many of us, speaking for myself, are impatient with this kind of learning curve.
6. Change your Habits
We can’t always blame issues on our space or software, we can be the problem too.
- Are your habits making things more complicated than necessary?
- Do you wait until the last minute to have others, especially ones who are paid weekly, do important tasks?
- Is there poor engagement with your clients – through email or phone calls?
- Do you push things, like returning calls and sending emails, off until the last minute?
- Do you (fill in the blank) and cause undue stress on others or yourself?
- How many emails are piling up in your inbox? (Okay, I won’t tell you my number.)
Whatever your form of self-sabotage looks like, call it by its true name and create a plan to stop it in its tracks. Then, make a plan to cut it out of your life completely. Accountability for this is huge.
7. Use the “Rule of Three”
If office clutter is something derailing your business, but you just can’t find it in yourself to get rid of things because “what if I MIGHT need it?” this strategy will be your best friend. Keep your three favorite items from that category (office supplies, books on a specific topic, etc.) and get rid of the rest.
If that is still a challenge, go back and do it with specific items (pens, binders, notebooks, etc.) and donate three of the items and throw away three.
Did you know that the ink in pens dries up if you don’t use it, and you’ve likely got hundreds of dead pens in your house? I know I do.
I learned this principle when I donated a whole bunch of older pens to my nursing unit. And then I watched my coworkers complain about all the dead pens. Did I volunteer the information that I was the one who brought in the old pens? Nope.
You can continue this process over and over until you have reached a number you’re pleased with. Donating items can feel good. Try to keep no more than three of any item.
This week’s 7 tips focused on decluttering the office and finding solutions to problems with software and space. Try implementing one of these tips each week to see what angle helps you maximize your organization and productivity. Next week I’ll share the final installment of this series, and it will cover some of the best tips yet!
Pat Iyer is president of The Pat Iyer Group, which develops resources to assist LNCs obtain more clients, make more money and achieve their business goals and dreams.