When it comes to business truths, an office that is organized is one that is productive. Give your court reporters the tools they need to succeed in their jobs by offering these organizational tips. Keep in mind that solutions that work for others may not work for your firm and that's okay as long as you remember the goal of being organized, you can find what works for you and your team.
Organizing Your Growing Court Reporting Firm
Mastering productivity is also crucial for Oklahoma court reporters who are growing their own businesses or court reporting agencies.
Yes, there are individuals who work in a cubicle or have a desk that looks like a windstorm just blew through who try to convince co-workers or employer that, “I can find anything.” You’re not being honest with yourself, because working in a disorganized environment drains your mental energy for the task at hand.
Even if you haven’t been blessed with natural organizational skills, you can organize your business to be more productive.
Why does organization matter?
Can disorganization be costing your Oklahoma court reporting firm money? Definitely. If you’re a contract stenographer, could your lack of organization be impacting your productivity and earning potential? Yes.
Statistics compiled by SmallBusiness.com highlight the importance of organization.
- 63% of entrepreneurs believe office organization correlates with business profitability
- 83% of entrepreneurs believe being organized is crucial to business success
We agree because when you’re disorganized, everything takes longer and is made more difficult than it needs to be. Disorganization diminishes focus and drains your energy.
Set up a filing system.
Before your firm is overrun with documents, determine the filing system, including process, and train your team. File documents at the end of every day or at least once a week before it becomes a mountain. Then determine a naming convention for digital documents, perhaps even converting existing to this convention. Next, gather pens, loose paperwork, and other desktop items and put them into drawers or bins. Clear paper clutter. Scan documents. File in drawers or the cloud.
If you have an inbox for pending work, organize it by deadline and put in a file in a drawer. Only keep on your desktop, the items you need right now.
In this way, your real life and virtual desks will both be organized.
Write a to-do list.
When you write a to-do list before you leave the office for the night, you are prepared to jump right into work the following morning. You’re taking away the potential for procrastinating on which project to tackle first.
Determine whether you want a virtual or paper-based to-do list. You can even utilize a Google calendar and its “task” feature; this helps keep you organized because you can input client deadlines, appointments and also have your task list visible throughout the day. There is a certain satisfaction in crossing a task off your to-do list, whether it’s paper or virtual.
Prioritize tasks but leave room for unexpected phone calls, interruptions, and tasks that take longer than you planned for. This is especially important if you’re working from home because you’re setting your own schedule; you’ve got to know when you’re working versus when you’re taking care of personal tasks.
Respond to emails when you open them.
It is easy to procrastinate emails – especially those that require research.
The rule of thumb should be “if you open it, you answer it.” Urge staff to follow this rule as it will assure your clients are responded to in a timely manner and will help your court reporter not feel the stress of an overflowing inbox. When you’re looking at answering hundreds, if not thousands, of emails it can be overwhelming and will lead to email avoidance and to clients not being attended to in a timely fashion.
Put a contact management plan in place.
When you’re growing your business, it can be a challenge to manage customers, leads, invoices and other crucial follow-up tasks. Use a contact management system aka customer relationship management system to get, and keep, clients and contacts organized. Find one that will grow with you and that can handle the tasks you may need it to eventually do: invoice, answer customer questions, send quotes and alert you to pending anniversaries and to tasks due for a particular client.
It may make sense to use a free service when you’re just starting out. Try out a few programs to see what suits your needs and your work style. The system you use doesn’t matter as much as corralling that information from the beginning of your business.
The same goes for your bookkeeping. When you’re starting out, using a spreadsheet may make the most sense to track income and expenses, be aware that there will come a time – as your business grows – that you will want to upgrade to a more robust system as it will make many tasks easier and will automate many of your business bookkeeping chores.
Organizing your growing court reporting firm can seem overwhelming and it is tempting to look for an organizational system that works for everyone. The reality is that you have to find what works for you and your team.