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Whether you are ready or not, 2015 has arrived, and it’s time to get organized. For me personally, this is one of my favorite topics since I am a little OCD about organization with more than 100 folders in Outlook, countless folders and subfolders in Egnyte, and extensive project tracking grids in Google Drive. While this may sound excessive, I started my organization processes from day one at Egnyte, which means I can access files, contracts, images, you name it, from any time over the last year and a half. Trust me – I actually need to do this regularly.

Getting organized and staying that way are two huge obstacles, and I find it easy to stay ahead of the pile up by taking a few minutes each day to make organization a priority. It boosts my productivity, eliminates wasting time digging for contracts or other files, and helps keep each of my teams up-to-date on where we stand with each project. While you may have your own preference on what works best for your work style, I thought I’d share a few processes I use to keep all of my business files, emails and projects organized.

Start the Day Earlier:

I personally like to get in 1-2 hours earlier than most of my team, but even just 15 minutes can make a huge impact on your day. While it’s still quiet in the office, I go through unopened emails, make my to-do list for the day, and quickly cross off items from my list before the day gets hectic with back-to-back meetings. If you’re not a morning person, simply take 15 minutes at the end of each day before you head out to get ready for the following day or week.

Do a Little Each Day:

Getting organized can be overwhelming if you try to do it all at once. I like to do a little each day to not get a massive “pile” of files and emails to sort through. One trick I do is to create calendar invites to force myself to organize or get caught up on certain projects. For example, I have tasks that need to be done every week, so I have recurring calendar invites to remind me to do them, ensuring all of them are completed.

Another important practice I follow is glancing at emails as they come in. If it has an action item, I flag it; if it’s completed, I either delete it or file it in my detailed Outlook folders by topic. This way, I’m not overwhelmed by hundreds of unread emails, and pressing emails get addressed quickly, while non-pressing ones have a flag/reminder to take action in the near future. In fact, my main inbox never has more than 100 emails, keeping responses and action items manageable.

Rethink Your 2014 Processes

It’s time to rethink some of the processes implemented last year. Are you in back-to-back meetings all day and can’t get any real work done? Meeting with your different team members is essential, but some meetings can be consolidated or completely removed to free up time in your busy schedule. Over the next few weeks, take the first few minutes of each meeting to discuss whether the specific meeting is necessary every week or if it can be pushed to biweekly or monthly, or even better, eliminated.

Collaborate Using Egnyte:

I rely on Egnyte to organize my project files across the different teams I work with day to day. I can easily share my files and folders of analytics decks, request files such as executive headshots, edit blog posts with WebEdit, and access all of my corporate communications materials right from my phone and Kindle Fire while at home, in the office or at trade shows. Egnyte combined with Outlook & my Google calendar are my three “secrets” for being extremely organized.

Use More Apps:

Why do processes manually when there are tools out there to help you? For example, when signing contracts with our many vendors, I use DocuSign to electronically sign documents. I also use Google Drive to share and collaborate on files in real time with teams across our company. As I mentioned in my previous tip, I use Egnyte as my central folder and file organization tool, and I’m so happy it integrates with the apps I prefer to use to get my work completed.

Getting organized doesn’t need to be overwhelming! It’s about committing to a few minutes each day and being consistent on the processes that work best for you. Good luck and happy organizing!

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