The majority of us consider organization to be the single most important factor in creating and maintaining productive work habits. If you are like most individuals, sustaining organization is not the hard part; it’s getting organized that most of us struggle with. In order to assist you, our team of mortgage professionals has shared their best tips on how to get organized as well as a few tricks on maintaining it.
Step 1: Assess your organizational needs.
Before you pick up a single item on your messy desk, take a second to think about what all needs to be organized. Start with the easiest category, paperwork. Identify all the paperwork that flows into your workspace and divide it into categories. For example, most people have a stack of bills, contact information, correspondence, etc. Once you have all of your paper work divided up, come up with a system for keeping it all organized. Maybe you want to have separate folders for each category and store them all in your file cabinet, or maybe you want to divide it all up into a tray table that sits on your desk. It doesn’t matter how you keep it separated; only that each item has a designated spot.
The next thing you want to asses is how quickly you can find things. Do you spend a good amount of time searching for documents, files or stray papers? If you answered yes to the previous question, build a filing system to help keep all of your important documents organized. Having everything in one central location will cut back on the time you spend searching your office and allow you to spend more time being productive.
Lastly, assess your time-management and track your “to-do” items. Some people prefer to use traditional day planners, while others prefer computer-based systems. Being able to track what you accomplish and add new tasks will not only keep your organized but allow your days to flow smoothly.
Step 2: Don’t be intimated by sorting.
Sorting is something we all hate to do, but must accomplish when trying to get organized. The best way to look at it is that you are simply grouping like items and taking away things that don’t belong in the group. For example, if your computer or desk area is covered with sticky notes of “to-do” items, consolidate them. Instead of having 50 sticky notes, type them all into your task tracker. Another way to organize your work area is to have a tray for urgent or immediate documents and one for regular items.
Step 3: Toss what you don’t need.
Hopefully after you have sorted through your workspace, you have found quite a few items that you no longer need. While it may seem easy, this step is one that many of us struggle with. For some reason, we have a hard time deciding what to keep and what to purge. Here are some factors to consider if you can’t decide which route to go:
- Keep financial statements and tax information that may be required by the IRS on file for five to seven years. Anything older than that can be discarded.
- Toss any information that is available online. If you have printed off copies of articles you found online and know that they will remain on the site you found it, throw away the hard copy. If you are unsure whether or not you will be able to find it online at a later date, copy and paste the text into a Word document and save it to your hard drive.
- Transfer contact information to the appropriate place, and then discard the scrap it was originally written on. If you have a sticky not with a clients email address or phone number on it, add them to your address book and toss the scrap of paper.
Step 4: Categorize and maintain.
Once you have sorted through and thrown out anything and everything you no longer need, file it. Come up with your top categories and if needed, subcategories. Take each pile, place it in a folder and add it to your filing cabinet. Before you know it, you will be organized.
Keep in mind the maintaining organization requires you to be diligent about it. If needed, set a weekly reminder in your phone or on your calendar that reminds you to sort, purge and categorize new items.
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If you or someone you know has questions about home financing in Oklahoma or nationwide, contact our Oklahoma mortgage team: (405) 358-3560 or (800) 308-8503. www.OklahomaMortgageBank.com