Organization of any kind comes easy to some and not so easy to others. Most real estate agents are juggling many different clients at one time and find it hard to think about organizing anything other than their time to manage their clients.
But when you calculate the amount of time that is wasted or lost due to not only a disorganized office or inefficient filing system, but also possibly your closet or bathroom drawers, you might want to rethink how disorganization in both your personal space and office space can affect your bottom line.
The thought of actually tackling an area and organizing it can be overwhelming but I have witnessed dramatic increases in agents’ businesses when they do take the time to put their office and personal space in order.
The key is to make the process of organization easier and NOT tackle too much at one time. Small projects add up to big changes quickly if you are consistent with your efforts. Here are some recommendations for getting your personal and business space in order.
Office– The number one space that has the greatest effect on an agents’ businesses is their office space. Having their office in order with functional furniture, equipment, and organized drawers can help an agent feel and be more productive. An office space needs to be a space where the agent can have both quiet and privacy and inspiration so it is a place an agent actually wants to spend their time. Have things in your office that you love. My office has leopard print wallpaper, large zebra art, a plush white area rug, pictures of people I love and my favorite purple – yes purple!- leather chair. What do you have in your office that inspires you?
Files – Files in your office need to be color coded to save you valuable time when looking for and filing your papers. I recommend that you divide your files into two categories, work files and personal files. Your work files need to be divided into Potential Clients, Current Clients and Past Clients. Color code each of these categories and it will make your life easier. When creating your filing system for the first time make sure that you get all your office supplies ready before you begin. There is something very satisfying about organizing your files into new file folders and hangers, especially when they are color coded.
Drawers- Drawers are an easy place for us to throw things that don’t have a “home”. Everything in your office needs a “home” or a place to be stored when not being used. When cleaning out your drawers make sure that you first empty everything out of the drawer that you will not need any more. Then you need to empty the drawer and wipe it out (baby wipes work great) and start with a fresh slate. Only put back into the drawer those things you need and buy small dividers to sort things like pens, clips, staples, white out, paper clips, etc.
Room and Closets – When it comes to your personal space there are usually two things that need to be organized and it is usually either your room or your closet.
When organizing a room the first thing you need to do is edit everything out of the room that you no longer need. By removing what you don’t need you actually allow more room to work with. Although it may sound dramatic, one great thing to do is remove everything out of a space and only put back what you truly need.
I recommend five categories for editing:
- What you need
- What you want
- What you can live without
- What you can throw away
- What you can give away
Once you made your edits, the first thing to do is remove the giveaway pile and the throw away pile from your work space to give yourself some space to work. Then put the “what you can live without” pile and put it aside until you have completed the room or closet. If after the room or closet is clean you have room to put those items, either put them in a bag or a box to the side and review that box again in three months to see if you are now ready to part with it. The remaining piles are now only what you need and want and that is what should go back into your room or closet.
After you have edited, move onto space planning. Before you put anything back ask yourself where you want things to live. Too often we put things where we have historically put them without really thinking of the best place for that item. In the end, everything needs to have its own home. Begin putting things back in their new home. You may determine there are items which no longer fit in that room. If so, store these in an area that you can easily access. In my own home I have extra boxes in my garage for items in each room that I want to be able to access but don’t need to access daily. I call those my “monthly” or “annual” boxes as I usually access them either once a month or as little as once a year. It is a great way to minimize clutter and still know where everything is.
So whether you have an office to clean, a drawer to sort or an entire home to address, it all starts with one first step. Make a list of all the spaces, rooms and drawers that you want to transform and make a plan. Don’t tackle a room if you have an hour, start with a drawer per hour or a closet over a four hours period but if you want to tackle a room put a side a full day. The key is to NOT tackle it all at once; small consistent effort is going to get you a lot further than trying to exhaust yourself in one day.
Remember your production can take a hit when your space is out of order because you don’t feel as confident and organized. Begin organizing that drawer or room that is plaguing you and I guarantee you it will carry over into your work effectiveness!