My computer consultant was at my office recently optimizing my Mac. Opening up my email, he said: “OMG, your inbox is clean!” Then he looked around my office. “Are you really this organized?” I am. And it saves me so much time and hassle while I easily focus in on the things that pay off.
You can do this too and it’s worth it.
Stuff is distracting. If your office and inbox are overflowing and you don’t like it any more, keep it clean with these five smart moves:
1. Start with a clean slate every day (clean inbox, clean office, clean desk). If you need help getting to ground zero, bring in an office organizer to help you catch up and put systems in place.
If you have hundreds or thousands of emails in your inbox, do yourself a favor and set aside a hour or day to clean it out, then keep it clean. It’s amazing how much time this saves and you won’t keep missing important things. If there’s an email you want to keep that doesn’t require action, set up a mailbox to store it. I have mailboxes for my current clients, members of my team, and other important things.
2. Set aside the last 15 minutes of your work day for planning. Do this before you are mentally toasted. Write down three high payoff actions you’ll complete tomorrow and locate anything you’ll need to get that done. Then clear off your desk. Don’t just stuff it in drawers, file it away so you can put your hands on exactly what you want when you want it. If your business is paperless like mine is now, you’ll have electronic files that are easy to access.
3. Set only 3 phone appointments each day. Leave the rest of your day for emails, return calls and working on your biz. If possible, do your 3+ high payoff actions first thing in the day. That way you’ll feel good about what you accomplished every day.
4. Download your email only 3x each day – once in the morning, once at noon, once before planning hour. If you’re waiting for something urgent, look for that email more often but leave the rest for later. When you do focus on email, aim to reply to or delete everything. Be ruthless. Good intentions only last for so long. If you have to keep an email for later, put it in a “Pending” folder in your email program and set a time to go back and clear the pending emails each week.
This works! It keeps top-of-mind things in front of you and everything else is out of your face.
5. Have one day each week set aside for outside-the-office appointments. Fridays are my day for the doctor, dentist, massage, etc. Cluster appointments whenever possible.
Now you’re ready to seize those great opportunities and enroll great clients!
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