The new year is here and if you haven’t already gotten into the groove, it’s time to get your new year off to a running start with things that will support your efforts.  Usually, we don’t think about this one key piece of the puzzle, but no matter who you are–business owner or not, stay at home Mom, or if you work a regular 9-5, you need tools and systems to get your year off to a rolling start and help keep it rolling throughout the year.  Imagine having your goals and a written plan to carry them out, but nothing to support you in your daily steps toward them.

This is the time of year for resolutions, fresh starts and the like, but we don’t think about getting things in order and people are typically scrambling this time of year to get off to a good start after a hectic holiday season, but there are ways of avoiding that scramble–at any time of the year.  Your business or work setting as well as your home should run like a well-oiled machine. The best thing you can possibly do to support yourself is to set up systems to streamline your tasks.  Your business or work environment should have systems in place for every area: filing, sales, accounting, payroll, etc.  The same applies to your home environment.  Each system carries out processes that contribute to the environment as a whole, ultimately leading to increased productivity.

To begin to get your systems in place, start by looking at what’s working.  This question might not be so easy to answer, because usually if there isn’t anything wrong, we can’t see what’s there.  If there is a system in place that’s working, leave it in place but look to see what improvements might be made to that system.

Next, look at what’s not working.  This question will be easier for you to answer than the first.  If something isn’t working, get rid of it and create a system that does work; one that will support you.  For example, your filing system should include three types of files, reference, action and archive.  Not having a solid filing system in place and using it is one of the top things that will waste your time.  Once you have a solid filing system, have processes in place that keep your system in top condition and continues to support you.  To give another example, set up a schedule for purging your files and for archiving.  Know when you want to remove things from your reference files and archive them and how long you need to keep them in your archives.  Statistically speaking, people waste 1.5-2.0 hours each day looking for things.  That translates into 7-10 hours every week of wasted time just for one person.  Think about the money that’s wasted just on looking for things.  Not having systems in place can break you and negatively impact your bottom line.