15-Minute Projects: Things To Do in a Hurry

Let's face it, time is short. When you're starting or running a business, you don't have a lot of extra time. However, if your office is screaming for some attention, you'll need to make some time to get it back in order. If you're short on time, here are a few projects you can do in 15 minutes or less.

Set Up an Action File    

You'll need 6 file folders. Label them with: Action, Data Entry, Read/Review, Waiting For, Meetings and Travel. (You'll also find this information really useful for the next 15 minute project.) Here are a few ideas on how to use your Action File:

  • Action: Things you need to do, like filling out and mailing forms, phone calls to make or other notes.
  • Data Entry: Business cards to enter or receipts to log.
  • Read & Review: Can be taken with you on trips or kept accessible when you have a few minutes to burn.
  • Waiting For: Orders, customer callback information and other notes you'll need when that important phone call comes.
  • Meetings: Agendas, notes, maps or other paperwork needed at your meeting.
  • Travel: Tickets, itineraries and contact information where you can easily taken them with you.

Clean Off Your Desk

Get a trash can, recycling bin and a letter opener. Start at the top, and work your way down, using the Action File to corral papers. Go quickly, resisting the temptation to get distracted. (Tip: If you have a lot of filing to do, use a small box or basket for those items to be filed.)

File

I hate it too, but it must be done! If you have a basket like mentioned above, this will be a snap. If you loathe filing, set a goal (or consequence) for yourself. I like to take a walk or have a cup of coffee.

Make a To-Do List

This is great activity for the end of your workday. Get out a piece of paper and write down things needing to be done the following workday. Do a brain dump, keeping the next day's schedule in mind. Set it next to your keyboard, so it's waiting when you return to the office.

Make a Weekly Task Template

There are tasks that need to be done on a weekly basis. Things like sending out newsletters, writing a blog post, weekly staff meeting, ordering inventory or bookkeeping. Sit down and write a list of the things that need to be done every week. Then, assign (and spread out) those tasks over the week. Keep this on a clipboard near your desk, and review it each morning (or evening when making your above To Do List). You'll feel more in control, knowing those things won't be forgotten.

Enter Contacts Into Your Database   

Business cards, scraps of paper and emails all contain contacts needed to go into your database. Set a timer for 15 minutes and take care of as many as you can. A scanner can help greatly with this project. Be sure to double check your accuracy so you don't create extra work for yourself from an email address or phone number entered incorrectly. What else could you do in 15 minutes?

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