working smarter – it’s a process, not an event

As I sat here thinking of what to write about, I came up with all sorts of things that I “know” but don’t necessarily excel at practicing… so… what came out of that? A selection of things that we can hopefully all relate to – the stuff you know you “should” do, and the reality of forcing yourself to do them… regularly.

My wise mother and mentor has always told me that in order to be fiscally successful, there needs to be some focus on HOW the money is made. That means – INVOICE YOUR CLIENTS!!! If you’re like me, you are not all that fond of telling people they owe you money… you’d give it all away free if you could live on air… so I’ve had to train myself into setting aside a few hours a week and devoting it to INVOICING.

The followup to that, of course, is bookkeeping. My preferred cure… Find an accountant! Well, that’s not necessarily fiscally sound either, so get out your Excel™ manual and learn how to build yourself a tracker, at the very least, of who’s paid and who hasn’t, and what you’ve spent money on… come tax time, you’ll thank yourself. (or, better yet, use this awesome tool – that’s what we do now.)

Now, moving on from money… what does your desktop look like?

Your virtual one AND the one below your keyboard. Again, if you’re like me, it’s covered in all sorts of stuff – but you know exactly where everything is and if some kind soul comes in thinking they’re helping by tidying up, YOU’RE LOST. Better plan? FILE! Every 2-3 days I take a deep breath and push back my chair, and file/sort/throw away the reams of paper surrounding me. I put away all the cd’s that have found their way out of the rack, the pens that have hit the floor, the stack of bills that need attention, and wipe away the coffee rings. I always feel better.

Clean up your computer.

Go through your favourites every couple weeks and ditch the ones that should never have gotten into the list in the first place. Reorganize them so they’re easier to find when you DO need to find them. Reorganize your Windows™ Programs list (off the start button). Cut it down so it doesn’t pop up and cover your entire monitor. Take out the junk that’s made it’s way there when you installed/reinstalled those last 20 freeware programs…

Stock up on supplies.

Go nuts! Can you have too many pens??? No! You deserve a 10-pack of Bic™ FineLiners, don’t you? Get paper. Get printer cartridges. Have the essentials on hand so that when you’re in the middle of that really tight deadline on the monster project, you are prepared!

Clean out your email!

Do you have 4000 emails sitting in there? What are the chances, really, that you need them ALL?? Be ruthless! Get rid of replies that say “thanks” or “great, I’ll get right on it!” – and nothing else. Toss out those spams that you thought you might read some day, just for the heck of it. Move the ezines you like to keep and RE-read into a folder of their own, and delete the rest. Don’t forget about your SENT ITEMS folder… it’s probably the biggest of them all!

Scan and defragment your hard drive.

‘Nuff said.

Run a virus check. If you haven’t set yourself up to do it automatically at 3am on Mondays (or whenever)…then do THAT.

Do the dishes. Really. You’ll feel less overwhelmed after a long hard day in the office if your dishes are stacked in the CLEAN rack!

Learn something new – chances are good you do that without trying, but it’s a good thing to put into the routine nonetheless… and that’s where I’ll end for this issue.

Make it a successful week!