Brought To You By Emily Parks
Productivity Consultant at Organize For Success, LLC...
Helping You Make Every Minute Matter!

Monday, March 29, 2010

When Your Office Is On The Run

If you have a mobile office, it absolutely must be efficient. Use these organizing tips to keep your necessary supplies at your fingertips and your mode of transportation neat as a pin.

Use an on-the-go filing system to get papers under control... For travel by automobile, one cost-effective option is Real Simple's Portable File Tote, available at Target or online. However, if you prefer, your local office supply store should have a wide array of portable, lidded file boxes in addition the opton of a simple plastic crate. Label hanging file folders with broad categories, and slide important papers into the correct spots. If traveling by air or train, invest in an expandable briefcase. Very important... Always make sure to have extra folders and labels so you can create new files on the run as needed.

Keep office supplies contained and handy... Stock a small, lidded, plastic box or a small Ziploc bag with essential office supplies, like pens, sticky notes, note cards & envelopes, stamps, return address labels, correction tape, paper clips and a roll of Scotch tape. Don't forget business cards, brochures and other promotional materials. If not in that same bag, keep pens and pencils in one of your automobile's cup holders. Always pack your supplies in the same area of your box, bag or auto organizer, and keep everything together... For auto organizers, I recommend the Case Logic Front Seat Mobile Office Organizer, the Sunshine Kids Travel Pal or the High Road Front Seat Organizer, all available from Target's website. Before leaving home or your physical office, give your in-vehicle storage solution a quick once-over to make sure it is completely stocked, and take a moment to fill in any missing items or those running low.

Be smart in recording expenses... Dedicate an envelope to hold business-related receipts, emptying it once each week. Don't forget to keep a mileage log tucked into your visor, door pocket or glove box for tax purposes. Cardinal Brands sells a great, 3.25" x 6.25" Vehicle Mileage with Annual Summary log that can be found on its website or through Office Max, which is an especially great option for recording mileage due to its compact size.

Don't forget to say "thank you"... Always have a box of "thank you" notes and envelopes on-hand to write while on-the-go. Also, since you'll have postage stamps and return address labels in the aforementioned plastic box or bag, always make sure to have your address book (or method of looking up people's addresses), too. If you want to personalize your postage, just like you can get professional-looking, pre-printed return address labels, you can order stamps that include your business' logo from Zazzle's website, delivered directly to your home or office.

Utilize technology for improved efficiencies... If you have a laptop computer, store as much information on it as you can, like phone numbers, calendars, client information and important documents. Or, if not your laptop computer, any "smart phone" cell phone will work, too. This will limit the hard copy materials you'll need to lug around, but make sure that you back-up your electronic files and information regularly.

Keep reading material together in one file... When you receive a new magazine, thumb through for the articles you'll want to read and add them to your "to-read" file. When you find yourself waiting for an appointment or the next leg of your travels, take that opportunity to catch up on the latest industry news or clean unnecessary information out of your briefcase.

Consider some specialty car organizers... There are visor organizers for CDs, auto litterbags for trash, auto tray tables and back-of-the-seat organizers for cleaning wipes, tissues and an extra bottle of water. Case Logic is an excellent and well-known brand for these items, and their items can be found online or at Target stores nationwide.

Make sure you don't forget your brilliant ideas... or the "to-do" list items that randomly pop into your head... or that great comment made on the phone call you just wrapped up... or anything else that is filling up your mind. Stash a small, hard-cover or spiral-bound notebook to catch those moments and details. On the other hand, to keep your eyes on the road, tote a mini-recorder, use the voice record feature on a "smart phone" or call your own voice mail to leave yourself a reminder message.

Toss it out and tidy up each day... Keep a nylon or plastic garbage bag in the vehicle so messes get cleaned up as you go. Simply take five minutes at the end of each day to empty the bag and tidy up the entire vehicle. This small investment of time will prevent the need for a longer clean-up later.
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