Archive for 23 June 2008

Six Semi-Lazy Office-Keeping Tasks

How difficult is it sometimes to step into your office or studio on a lovely summer day? Even if you’re working on fantastic projects with wonderful clients, there’s just something about wanting to linger over that cup of morning coffee on the terrace, porch or in the garden; or taking a long, leisurely outdoor lunch…and not coming back for the rest of the day! Don’t feel guilty about this, after all one of the best benefits of being your own boss is the ability to set your own schedule. Use some of these lazy summer days to do a little light office keeping and get yourself prepped for the typically busy September-December crunch time.

  1. Organize your reference and swipe materials
    If you’re like me you probably have dozens of past issues with pages flagged for reference, or perhaps you’ve even gone so far as to tear out the pages and tossed the magazine, but the loose pages are still waiting to be labeled, filed or otherwise organized. Just turn on some of your favorite tunes, let the phone go to voice mail for an hour or two and set your computer to sleep, then start tearing, sorting, filing and tossing. It’ll take far less time than you think and you’ll feel so virtuously organized at the end!
  2. Do the same for your computer files
    Do you have lots of random .jpgs and other visuals you’ve collected? First, make sure you name them all in a manner that means something to you, not just image544.jpg, because then you’ll just have to open them up again later to know what it is. Once you’ve named them appropriately, sort them into client files, reference files or delete if they’re no longer useful.
  3. Take this chance to clean up your digital inbox
    Delete old e-mails, making sure to save the address to your address book if you need to, download the necessary attachments from e-mails and just keep the attachments. Sort your e-mail inbox into appropriate folders and consider taking an e-mail “holiday” on Fridays throughout the summer…It’s a sure-fire e-mail inbox clutter reducer.
  4. Clean up the rest of your computer also
    Organize your client and/or project files, archive to a CD or backup drive finished projects, run a defragmentation program on your hardware to organize all those background operating files you don’t even know about (this is good thing to do while working on item #1) and make sure to do a little old-fashioned cleaning. Keyboards get gunky, screens get smeared and, if you’re not working off a laptop, the box can get dusty. 

    One of my tricks for cleaning between the keys on my keyboard is to take a plastic knife and tape a section of nonwoven insti-wipe to the tip, changing it out frequently as it really gross what can build up between your keys without realizing it! Gently though and don’t let the wipe start off too moist.

    And, why not give your desktop a holiday…download a new wallpaper for your desktop. Currently I’m loving this great series from Real Simple.  Or just try changing your fonts and color schemes around in your preference manager. 

  5. Refresh your office or studio
    Is there a color scheme or fabric that your currently fascinated by? A designer or project you’ve come across that particularly inspires you? Create a mini-moodboard and place it somewhere in your office for a fun, fresh dose of eyecandy. And summer’s all about light, easy and breezy, right? Clean out your files, clear away the clutter, even if just means sweeping some of it into a box…then give yourself a half-hour a day (say you’re on hold with a vendor) and then work through a layer of the box at a time. There are only three categories: Act On, Toss or File.  

    And if you have a sulky printer, fax or other piece of equipment that isn’t working at 100%, make the decision to either have it repaired or replace it. We all work hard enough…we shouldn’t have to struggle with our own stuff!

  6. Congratulate yourself
    By most standards 2008 has been a rocky year for the design industry. Take some time to acknowledge your successes, maybe over that lazy lunch…Write them down and map out what you’d like to accomplish for the rest of year. And then hey, go ahead and take the rest of the afternoon off!
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23 June 2008 at 3:44 pm Leave a comment


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