4 Tips to Staying Organized as an Office Manager

Be Wise, Organize

Organized

Some people love to organize, while others take a more lackadaisical approach to their home and professional lives. Regardless of your natural organizational skills, however, you can find success as an office manager with the following four organizing tips.

or·gan·ized  [ˈôrɡəˌnīzd]

 ADJECTIVE: Arranged in a systematic way, especially on a large scale.

1) Make Organization Beautiful

As Debbie Fletcher points out on the Nimble blog, you’ll follow your organizational system more faithfully if you use beautiful supplies. Whether you like a colorful pen cup, patterned file folders, or a few mementos scattered around the office, try to make your workspace beautiful. Organization will become more enjoyable thanks to the aesthetic beauty you’ve created.

Some offices lend themselves to color and design more than others, but get creative. For example, select a themed mouse pad or bring a potted plant to sit on top of your file cabinet. Maybe you can get away only with customized stationery, as Fletcher suggests, but at least you’ve put forth the effort.

2) Keep Detailed Records

A paper trail doesn’t merely protect a business — it’s also essential for organization. When you write everything down, you can always find notes again. As the office manager, you can take point on record keeping, setting up your own system for recording information and storing records appropriately.

Most businesses now use digital records instead of hard copies. Put shortcuts to your most-used documents and folders on your computer’s desktop so that you can get to them with one mouse click. Don’t let files languish in generic folders. Move them to the correct storage site on your server or shared drives as soon as you create or receive them.

3) Download Organizational Apps

Your smartphone can do more than help you find creatures on Pokémon GO. Download organizational apps that can help you plan travel, arrange meetings, keep track of emails, and build your calendar. Since you probably carry your smartphone everywhere, you’ll always have an organizational device in your pocket.

If you can sync smartphone apps with other devices, such as your computer or tablet, you’ll get more value from the apps you use. Additionally, consider asking other employees to download the same apps so that you can share information and keep track of each other’s schedules.

4) Take Time to Purge

Similar to bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens, offices can become magnets for unused detritus. Obsolete paperwork, depleted pens, unused technological devices, and stacks of sticky notes can pile up on every surface. At least once a week, purge everything you no longer need.

Don’t simply clear off surfaces. Open drawers and cabinets, too, so they don’t stay crammed with unnecessary items. Put away everything you still need so that objects have their own dedicated storage spaces. Leave notes to let other office staff know if they should return items to a certain place or avoid touching specific items.

Keeping an office organized can take work, but honing your organizational skills will help you keep the chaos under control. Use the above strategies to turn your office into a well-oiled machine, and don’t let other staff members throw off your system.

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This article was originally published on CareerBuilder on 10/28/16

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L2L Broad View: Creating New Working Environments

5 Tips and Best Practices for Moving Into New Offices

Moving Day

Every organization’s success is always related directly to their people, and what they do, and how they do it. When you have the right people, in the right places, doing the right things, in the right environment, then you have a formula for success.

But when an organization must uproot their physical location to move to another, leaders need to be on top of the emotional, physical, and psychological aspects of a move and make sure that things run smoothly during this kind of potentially turbulent transition.

Relocating Challenges

Relocating to a new office setting need not be stressful or overly time-consuming. The key to a smooth transition is effective strategic planning that neutralizes and minimizes lost hours and costly downtime. If you are planning an office move soon, you will appreciate the following tips that will reduce the stress of relocation while hitting your budget targets.

1) Create an Address System

Your new office location will likely be configured differently than your present environment. This will make it impossible for personnel to know where all their “stuff” is once the movers do their job. Solve this problem by creating an address system that informs movers exactly where they need to position each item, packed box or piece of furniture.

You can set this system up by creating two sets of floor plans. One set for your existing office and one for the new. With a ruler, pencil in a grid system using letters to represent one axis and numbers for the other.

Every intersection on the grid represents a unique address consisting of one letter and a number. For instance, if you are in NYC, instruct your New York city movers to relocate every item based on its assigned “from” and “to” address. This system will cause every item moved to gravitate closer to where it needs to end up.

2) Label Everything

It is difficult to attempt to comprehend the sheer quantity of office furniture and equipment we have that consists of identical copies of the same item.

Knowing where all these things belong is the responsibility of the office move coordinator who should place labels on everything whose ownership could possibly be subject to dispute later on. Labels should be easily seen by movers and by all means, they should have item relocation addresses clearly marked on them.

3) Allocate Resources Accordingly

If temporary workers that you can hire to pack for you cost less per hour than your existing staff, then you need to think twice about having regular staffers pack and clean up.

The budgeting of resources for your move should take into account lost productivity resulting from using your staff as a moving company. Just double-check to make sure that you are putting all your resources in the right places.

4) Start With the IT Department

Owing to the risks associated with security breaches and network outages, every commercial office relocation plan should begin with the IT department’s needs. There will be telephone system issues, data cabling installation issues, wi-fi issues, and possibly air-conditioning issues that need to be addressed.

Ideally, you will have an IT relocation checklist prepared by, or at least approved by a network engineer. The process of coordinating a move with your data carriers, ISPs, and technology vendors can take two months or more. Be sure that you plan well in advance for every contingency.

Transporting office technology equipment requires special handling and expertise. Your data and high-end equipment will require transit protection. Make yourself aware of your special IT needs and allow yourself time to thoroughly test all your systems and equipment once your systems are reconstituted.

5) Update Your Website, Business Cards and Stationery

Moving an office can induce minor trauma. Settling down and getting down to business once relocated is paramount. You don’t want to wait until the last moment to think about updating your business communication tools.

This includes the company website, management’s business cards and the company stationary. You will want to know how much lead time is required in order to complete these updates so you can plan accordingly.

Leading Success

The difference between a hectic relocation nightmare and a smooth transition into new digs is nothing more than a solid effort in planning. The investment in time that you make drawing up your plans will pay off handsomely when you observe that your employees are spending their time serving customers rather than adjusting to their new environment.

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Robert Cordray

Robert Cordray is a freelance writer with over 20 years of business experience
He does the occasional business consult to help increase employee morale
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Improve Your Team by Developing the HERO Inside You!

Be The Hero

Real heroes don’t really wear capes or have supernatural powers. In the real world, HERO’s are simply ordinary people who choose to respond to a set of circumstances in a way that inspires others. And it IS possible to develop the HERO inside you.

But before you can lead others, you must first learn to lead yourself.

That’s how you develop into a HERO.

The Hero Inside

There are battles inside you that go on every day, and those battles are the reason that you haven’t accomplished as much as you promised yourself you would back on New Year’s Eve. Internally, there is a part of you – a HERO – that wants to succeed and has strong values and great ideas and when you wake up it is your best self that is energized and bold and determined.

Friedrich Nietzsche called it the Übermensch. The term, loosely translated, means “superhuman.”

But your best self, your internal hero, has enemies…

  • Every day your HERO has to wage a battle against distractions, and disappointment, and disparagement.
  • Every day he has to struggle with ghosts of regret or monsters of misfortune.
  • Our history, things that happened in the past.
  • And our experiences, things that happen to us and around us, can sometimes seem devastating.

Fighting Your Battles

Imagine being a recently divorced woman, caring for a 3-month old daughter, forced to go on welfare after losing her job. Those would be hard battles to fight! And even though those circumstances and experiences are dangerous adversaries, they are not as powerful or impactful as our internal response to them.

If we respond poorly, we experience more painful outcomes. We become victims of our own negative responses. 

People, and teams, are not victims of circumstances. They only feel this way when they do not develop and use the HERO within them.

Winning the Battles Within

Too often our internal HERO’s greatest threat is our own fear, or contentment, or excuses, or doubts… those deceitful soldiers that protect the walls of our comfort zone.  And it is amazing what sometimes we can allow ourselves to grow comfortable with.

But if you want to develop the HERO within you and accomplish your ambitious goals, you have to:

  • Exile your excuses
  • Dump your doubts
  • Crash through that comfort zone that has caged you

The HERO Formula

So, what separates the average man from Nietzsche’s Übermensch?

The answer is a simple equation.  H + E x R = O

History + Events x Response = Outcomes

We cannot control our history… or the events that occur to and around us. But we CAN control our RESPONSE to them. And no matter what the first parts of the equation are, OUR RESPONSE DETERMINES THE OUTCOME!

To get something different, to feel something different, to become something different, you will have RESPOND differently!

I offer team building for teachers, for athletes, and for corporate groups that inspire unity and boost morale, but the key to any group’s improvement is each individual within the group claiming responsibility for their response to the history and events around them.

The HERO Attitude

Remember that single mother we imagined above? Well that was J K Rowling, author of the famous Harry Potter series.  She developed her HERO because she decided to choose a positive response to her circumstances.

We cannot control our circumstances.  But we can control our responses. Regardless of the circumstance, we get to choose our attitude and our actions. We can develop a victim attitude and spiral down, or the kind that J K Rowling did and ascend far beyond expectations.

And if you keep a good attitude and take appropriate action consistently, those habits will lead you to accomplishing the goals you have set for yourself.

But your focus must be on changing the equation with a quality response. The world is not going to change  and we remain victims as long as we are waiting on someone or something else to change for us.

Becoming a HERO

So, how does one become a HERO? Commit to responding to your history and your experiences as your best self. Remember, you cannot choose where you were planted – but you CAN choose to bloom there.

Want to improve your organization and inspire team development? Want to improve your family?  Your community? Your workplace? Then develop the HERO inside you. Your example and responses WILL impact others. Whatever your history or experiences, your response to the events you experience will determine your teams success.

So how are you responding to your past and current situations in life, at work, and in your community? Are you mentally stuck in the past and still paying a heavy price? If so, WHY? What steps can you take today to reprogram your responses so that you can get those superhuman results and lets the HERO soar? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Sean Glaze

Sean Glaze is Speaker, Author, Coach, and Facilitator at Great Results Teambuilding
He delivers Engaging Events that Transform Laughter into Lessons
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Leaders: You Do Not Need to Be Nice to Be Kind

Kindness is not softness, it is not weakness, and it doesn’t always have to be nice.

In fact, sometimes kindness requires you to be tough and direct. I have seen the misinterpretation of this word negatively impact many organizations.

Leadership Mistakes

Leaders, in an attempt to be kind, move under-performing employees from position to position in the hopes that they will finally succeed or at least survive. Others allow deadlines to pass without repercussion or avoid having that fierce conversation that is needed in order to drive improvement and productivity.

Many of these leaders have adopted this style of kindness out of a reaction from working with or for a tyrannical ruler. They have witnessed how ineffective fear is in motivating people and driving an organization forward.

However, in an effort to be the antithesis of what they witnessed, they too have become ineffective.

Some are just new to their leadership role and worry about being liked. They lack the self-confidence needed and therefore, spend much of their time trying to please who that work for them.

But, neither of these is true kindness.

Leadership Wisdom

People need to understand where they stand, how they need to improve and what is at risk if they don’t.

Kindness requires empathy, honesty and trust. It means that at times you must be a mirror, reflecting back to a person the impact of their habits and behaviors.

Feedback, constructive criticism and accountability are all forms of kindness. People need to understand where they stand, how they need to improve and what is at risk if they don’t.

Leadership Looking Glass

It means that at times you must be a mirror, reflecting back to a person the impact of their habits and behaviors.

It may be counterintuitive, but letting someone go from their job could be a great act of kindness. For that individual, it very well may be that you are releasing them from the pain of being in the wrong job, giving them the freedom to finally pursue one that better fits their skills.

It could also be that difficult but teachable moment, where someone with a sense of entitlement finally realizes in fact they are not. Although no longer employed by you, they are now much better prepared for their next employment opportunity.

Maybe most importantly, it is an act of kindness to the rest of the organization.

It can be so demoralizing to be hard-working, a driven performer and not see those who aren’t be held accountable for their lack of performance.

Leadership Courage

When we care about others, we don’t want to be the cause of any pain or suffering.

No one relishes having difficult conversations or enjoys taking tough action. When we care about others, we don’t want to be the cause of any pain or suffering. But, avoiding those conversations and failing to take the needed action can be far more damaging in the long run.

Not only damaging to that individual, but also, to the efficacy of your own leadership and to the organization as a whole. Kindness requires that you push past your own discomfort and insecurity to take the needed action that best serves the interest of the company you help to lead.

You do not need to be nice to be kind. But, you must make people feel heard, cared for, valued and respected.

It is also essential that you always act with integrity and honesty and, that you have the conversations and take the action needed to best serve the organization you represent.

If you do all that, you are in fact a kind leader.

Remember: You do not need to be nice to be kind.

Thanks for reading.

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Elliot Begoun

Elliot Begoun is the Principal Consultant of The Intertwine Group, LLC.
He works with companies to Deliver Tools that Enable Growth
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5 Ways Entrepreneurs Use Time Inefficiently

Stop Wasting Time

Becoming an entrepreneur is a dream that many people have. However, it is more difficult than many people on the outside understand.

There are a lot of different things that people who start their own business must do in order to succeed. Learning how to manage time efficiently is one of the most important aspect of owning your own business. Here are five ways that entrepreneurs use time inefficiently.

5 Ways Entrepreneurs Use Time Inefficiently

1) Urgent Issues

Many business owners spend all of their time on the urgent issues of the day. Although it may seem important, many issues that are faced are really more urgent than anything. Understanding this difference is a huge step forward for anyone who wants to improve their time management.

There are a lot of people who want to have more time during the day. If this is something that applies to you, start by concentrating on things that are important more than urgent. Over the long-term, this will make a huge difference in the amount of time you have to use on other aspects of your company.

2) Social Media

Another area that many people waste time in is social media. Many business owners understand that social media can be a great tool that drives in a lot of business. However, many people who own their own business get distracted in what they do on social media.

Instead of doing this, make sure that you set time limits in the amount of time that you spend on social media.

If you are a business owner, you do not have time to waste. If you want to take your business to the next level, this is an essential element of the time management process. There are many people who simply take breaks from social media for several weeks at a time. This may be something that applies in your situation.

3) Worrying About Minor Issues

Worrying about minor issues is something that many business owners deal with. Anyone who has the ambition to start their own business probably has a personality where they want to be perfect. However, worrying about minor issues detracts from other things that you could be working on.

Taking on a mindset that is more long-term is something that is essential.

Anyone who wants to start getting more done needs to quit worrying about minor issues in the business.

4) Not Enough Training

Many entrepreneurs feel as though they do not have enough time to train workers. However, when looking at this over the long-term, influence training is one of the most important aspects of running a business. No matter how talented an entrepreneur is, they need to have help in various areas of their life.

There are many people who are interested in training within various companies. Use the talents of people who are naturally inclined to train other people in order to ensure maximum effectiveness.

5) Valuing Money Over Time

There are many people who say they value time over money, but there are few people who actually practice it. Many entrepreneurs have a really bad habit of valuing their money over their time. Although this will lead to more money in the short-term, over the long-term it will decrease the effectiveness of your business.

There are many people who are unable to build companies that scale.

As a business owner, it is important to concentrate on the process that is going to be used in order to take your business to the next level. Instead of just running around trying to sell customers on your products and services, take some time to get above the issue and build systems that scale.

Although this will take time and energy in the short-term, over the long-term this will lead to more free time that you can use to concentrate on other areas of your business.

So, how many of these five time-wasters are you guilty of? What can you do to rearrange your thought patterns so that you can get out of these type of traps? Do you see other areas in your business that could be changed to be more efficient? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Dennis Hung

Dennis Hung is a Business Consultant specializing in Mobile Technology and IoT
He’s spent most of his career consulting for businesses in North America
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Company Culture Key to Surviving Success

How to Prioritize Organizational Values Above Growth

Company Culture 2

There is a contradiction within most organizations that usually goes overlooked: success can be hazardous to culture.

We tend to overlook this fact because it is so counter-intuitive. If things are going well, we might ask, then how can that be a hazard to anything?

Losing Sight of Cultural Values

Unfortunately, larger or growing organizations can easily lose sight and influence over the importance of their culture. Consequently, this makes refocusing on cultural values a more complicated prospect after they have been ignored or neglected.

David Hassell, CEO of the Silicon Valley-based startup 15Five explains it this way:

Generally, the trend has been you go from small and nimble to large and bureaucratic. I don’t know that that’s the way it has to be, but that’s the trend.”

Hassell’s company works with organizations facing cultural dilemmas; that confusing state when a company has grown, but its culture hasn’t grown and adapted along with it. Business is good, because culture is commonly neglected, even in successful organizations.

Row in the Same Direction

One of the first things [an organization needs to do] is ask: who are the early, founding members?” Hassell says. “Why did this group come together—what is their common vision, their shared values, their world view?”

Hassell’s advice echoes a popular sports analog from the crew world that implores teams to “row in the same direction.” This is fine advice, if your only goal is to move the boat in an inflexible path forward.

But when teams exist as an organization, whether it is a business, a corporation, or even a department, the goal is rarely as simple as just rowing in the same direction. More likely, the team’s goal is to both move the boat and to simultaneously grow it.

This requires things like:

  • Developing talent
  • Investing in technology
  • Growing the team and each team member
  • Taking on more ambitious projects
  • And so on…

We Need a Bigger Boat

This is where maintaining culture, preserving foundational values, gets complicated. The boat is getting bigger, and in time, rowers are replaced with motors and engines. Suddenly you find yourself shouting over a massive, powerful machine for everyone to “Row in the same direction!”

But nobody is rowing. They are all specialized, siloed, and focused on all sorts of segmented goals, driven by whatever motivations they happen to respond to.

Your boat—your organization—may not sink immediately, but neither will it be as maneuverable, as responsive to change, or as resilient in the face of obstacles because it is no longer held together by a healthy culture.

The Culture of Growing-Up

Company CultureOf course, aligning values is easier when an organization is small. But something happens during the scaling process. It feels a lot like success. Or even outright victory.

This is because the things that got you started are paying off. The team is growing, revenues are increasing, and you suddenly have demand for things you didn’t need before.

These are things like:

  • An HR department
  • Employee handbooks
  • Benefits
  • Insurance

As well as justification for investing in others that you’ve always wanted:

  • Specialists
  • An-house design team
  • Remote sales reps
  • Marketing department

The mistake that many organizations and leaders make that lead to the sort of bureaucratic growth on which Hassell laments is to think that a good strategy can overcome any organizational ailment.

Culture Trumps Strategy

Implementing yet another top-down solution doesn’t restore intimacy in communication, repair trust in leadership, or fill any of the voids that a keep a culture healthy and resilient.

Everybody knows that culture trumps strategy every day of the week,” says Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University.

Crow, understands the challenges of taking on a neglected, discordant culture. As part of his role at the university, he decided not just to transform his organization (the school), but to take on something much bigger: the culture of an entire country.

His strategy? The same as Hassell’s advice for startups and young companies: seek out like-minded thinkers and work to attract more people who are a good cultural fit.

Start at the Beginning

I’m not arguing that we need to go in and ‘change culture’ or drive cultural changes across people; what we have to do is find ways to understand our cultural heritages better,” says Crow.

To achieve this, Crow helped facilitate a partnership between ASU Online and the Mayo Medical School, in part to change how future doctors and nurses are trained in medicine.

The ultimate goal? To change how America thinks about health, wellness, and medical care.

But he is tackling this outsized goal the same way that small, start-up companies approach their niche goals. He is doing with a strategic partnership, rooted in a common vision.

Recruit With Wisdom

All the key challenges of leadership such as motivating, innovating, and empowering are directly impacted by the recruitment decisions being made, and the cultural values that inform and dictate how recruiting occurs.

Small organizations have it easier because they are at the beginning of the cultural evolution and they can put the focus on hiring for culture right from the start. But as Crow’s initiative demonstrates, rebuilding an unhealthy culture can start the same way.

Conversations about values, goals, and motives are the building blocks of company culture. It is never too late to initiate these conversations—but it is a lot easier to start having them early on.

So how important is a healthy, strong, and growing culture at your organization? As a leader, what steps can you take to get a clear picture of your corporate values structure and continue to improve them for a better culture? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Edgar Wilson is a Writer, Consultant, and Analyst
He follows trends in Education, Healthcare, and Public Policy
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Leaders: Be a Mirror Unto Yourself

How to Create More Mental Space to Drive Success

Mindfulness

As leaders, we are encouraged to meet people. You know, network, get close to key influencers and difference makers. 

This makes sense. And I do believe a vast personal and professional network is important.”

However, I would suggest that in order to grow, the most important person you need to get familiar with is yourself. Self-knowledge can be transformational.

On Personal Mindfulness

My favorite place to hang out is in my head. I find it an interesting place to be. It can be funny, crazy and, every once in a while, heavy. I spend this time both formally and informally. I consider myself a student of my own mind and the thoughts that it produces.

Mindful MirrorI feel this is a great use of my time. I know there is a real benefit. I am more in tune to the way I will react in a given situation. I’ve recognized the things I meet head on and those from which I retreat.

I’ve learned that a thought is merely a passing cloud and not a real construct from which I must act. Most importantly, I have created space in my head.

I have learned how to catch myself in a thought, before acting on it. The side benefit of doing so is that I take myself far less seriously. I find the workings of my mind and the habits it churns out very funny. Being able to laugh at those captured thoughts has loosened the grip they could have on me.

On Powerful Routines

I have a daily meditation practice. I would encourage everyone to add this to their routine. To sit and watch your mind is far more entertaining than any reality TV show. When you realize that a thought, regardless of how visceral or powerful it may feel, is no more than a wave, rising and falling away, it can be truly liberating.

We you recognize that it is your choice whether or not to feed that thought with the energy needed for it to manifest, it is really powerful.

I find casual “mind time” in a myriad of ways. For example, while driving, walking or just sitting out back. It is my place of refuge, my sanctuary.

I go there when I need to step off of life’s merry-go-round.”

As an introvert, I sometimes retreat into the inner sanctum of my mind in large social settings when the cacophony of conversation becomes too much. Oddly, doing so has also helped me to recognize this behavior. I have become more mindful of this tendency and, therefore, less likely to just check out.

Your Mind’s Own Reflection

I believe that spending time, looking at your mind’s own reflection makes you a better giver of time to others. It helps you listen more fully. You are more aware of your habit driven reactions or those propelled by ego and insecurity.

You become more present, which is a wonderful gift to offer another.”

We are just so frequently not there, in that moment. It is something the receiver will undoubtedly notice.

I have been working on this for years. In terms of catching my thoughts before acting on them, my batting average is far lower than I care to admit. But, I understand that it is a practice because habit energy is hard to break. Creating space and slowing things down is difficult, yet, over time, I see it happening more and more frequently.

I emerge from the time spent inwardly able to more fully meet this moment outwardly. I am more present for those I interact with and a better giver of my time. By being a mirror unto myself, I’ve become more effective in my interactions with others and frankly, I like myself a bit more.

So how are you doing at being mindful with yourself? How could the right kind of “playing around in your mind” help you become a better person who can lead others better? What steps can you take now to settle into a mindful routine that helps you learn, grow, and become a better leader? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Please join our GROW Community. We will share helpful articles, tips, tools and videos. We will never share your email address.

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Elliot Begoun

Elliot Begoun is the Principal Consultant of The Intertwine Group, LLC.
He works with companies to Deliver Tools that Enable Growth
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