Stop what you’re doing, and look around your office. Right now. (Don’t straighten those piles of paperwork!) How does it look? We’re a couple months in to 2018, and whatever fresh, good intentions you may have had on December 31, you might not have kept up with into February. It is just about time for Spring Clean, 2018? Just maybe!
This morning my desk had 4 pens, a huge pile of blank backflow reports, a box of small stationary cards, a pair of reading glasses, and 4 different beverage containers (hey – I like being hydrated). Not a huge mess, but noticeable clutter none-the-less. It infringes on my stress, so it was time for that spring clean. My spring clean, luckily, took about two minutes, which is what yours can take each year if you keep on top of the clutter and needless paper.
My backflow reports aren’t ones I’ll ever physically be filling out myself – they’re a pile of papers I scanned last week to set up as electronic copies. I filed those away. I dropped my pens in the drawer with the stationary cards. My beverages? They’re still there, but they’ll be washed out this evening before I end my workday. Some office spaces -or worktrucks- may be a lot more messy. How can you beat down those piles of paper, get rid of any junk, and start next week with fresh eyes and a clean office? Spring Clean, of course! Let’s get to it!
Clean up the obvious
This seems obvious, but start with as clean of a slate as you can. Is there a pile of paper next to the shredder? Shred that paper, and then immediately take it out to your recycling. Soda cans by your computer can head right out that way, too.
Put away all but one pen away and clean up things like phone chargers. Are you working from a home office? Don’t let home stuff creep in to the office if at all possible – put those items in their correct rooms!
Identify what those piles of paper are
Ok. Next Step. Go through those piles of paper, those post it notes. Sort them into distinct piles. I’d suggest the following piles: Completed, Take Action On, Awaiting Customer, To be Assigned Out. This is pretty straight-forward.
Set aside the Completed pile; you’ll be filing that stuff later.
Now, address the Take Action pile you created – if there are things that will take less than two minutes to deal with,do it right now. Don’t put it off. Now set those things in the completed pile. Put aside the rest of the Take Action Pile now – these are to be dealt with after Spring Cleaning, as part of your regular day.
The pile deemed To be Assigned Out should be things that are to be dealt with by other employees. It could range from a phone list that needs to be entered into your database by your administrative assistance to magazines articles you want to give out to your techs to read. If at all possible, assign them immediately so that it’s not something you need to remember to do at a later date. The goal of Spring Cleaning is to get you to a clean starting point, not just re-organize piles.
Awaiting Customer is self-explanatory, but should only be things that you’ve already contacted the customer about. Don’t file these until they are resolved. Keep these on your desk. (You better paper clip them though!)
Finally, file the Completed pile, or put them through the shredder. Lookin’ better already, isn’t it?
What’s the desktop of your computer look like?
If you really want to spring clean your office, your computer can’t be looked over. Sure, it doesn’t take up a lot of space… but how long does it take to find what you’re looking for? How about that email you keep meaning to respond but it’s 3 pages deep?
Spring Clean those Emails
Just like taking action on that 2-minutes-or-less pile, reply to emails that need just one to two minutes. Many emails are like this! You just have to sit there and type a response.
Archive old ones that aren’t useful. Unsubscribe from junk mail you don’t want to receive, and bulk delete any junk mail.
Do any of your emails line up with the pile of papers awaiting a customer response? Put any of those papers into the Completed Pile.
Now, your inbox should be a lot cleaner, and it’s easy to see what you need to take action on over the next several days.
Is your desktop cluttered with random files? Computers have folders as an option for a reason – it makes things much easier to find, just like in a clean room. Clean up your desktop by creating folders and putting files in them so they’re easier to find.
Consider using a service like Dropbox if you need to access files from a home computer as well. I also can direct you to a really good cloud-based software for backflow testing businesses if you’re interested…. hint: It’s us. 🙂
Take the time to dust surfaces and vacuum or sweep the office, and take out any remaining recylcing. Make things physically cleaner, not just tidied-up. A sparkly clean place to arrive on Monday morning will allow you to tackle that Things-to-do pile with a fresh mindset.
Now, you’ll have a distinct pile of things you need to deal with, a pile that you’ll continue to file away as you receive customer replies, and an email box with specific emails to reply to. The best part is you’ll also be able to breathe a huge sigh of relief!
Interested in how we can help you get rid of that pile of backflow tests? Give us a try – 30 days free, no strings attached!