Are you a person who thrives on organized chaos, or do you find that physical clutter leads to mental clutter, too? If a disorganized workspace is causing you stress, there’s no time like the new year to get organized, clear out the clutter, and make sure the space where you run your business is designed to help you succeed.
Here’s our five-step plan for a clean workspace to start the new year right.
Create “eBay-Only” Space
If you work in a small space, or out of your home, it’s helpful to designate an area that is “eBay-only.” Even if it’s a subspace within a larger room, having a space dedicated to your work helps you mentally separate your business from other aspects of your life, and it signals your brain that when you’re there, you’re working—not streaming Netflix or catching up with friends on Facebook—and prepares you to focus on the tasks you need to accomplish. There’s another perk of a dedicated home office: it’s tax deductible.
Dedicate Space for Each eBay Activity
Within your eBay-only space, create a smaller area for each activity. After all, the supplies you need to list an item aren’t the same as what you need to photograph or ship an item, so why you should you try to do all those things in the same space? Even if your eBay office is compact, you can still carve out a small area for each task.
Dividing your space into activity-based stations helps eliminate operational distractions so that when you’ve set out to do a specific task, you have all the tools to do it and nothing that will take your attention away from it. A few spaces to consider:
Clean Up Your Physical Desktop
Once you’ve set up your listing workspace, it’s time to get it organized and decluttered. Make sure that everything on your desk is something that’s useful or necessary for your business. We recommend limiting the items on your desktop to:
Protect and Organize Your Inventory
Without inventory, you don’t have a business, so make sure you prioritize a safe, clean space to store it. Many sellers recommend storing inventory in plastic bags or boxes inside numbered plastic bins or banker boxes on warehouse-style shelving. As you list each item, keep track of exactly where you’ve stored it so you’re never hunting frantically for a sold item.
If you don’t have enough space for an organized system, it might be time to consider investing in a larger offsite workspace that can meet your storage needs. If you’re working out of your home, take this quiz to determine whether it’s time to rent commercial space.
Clean Up Your Virtual Desktop
If your computer desktop is also a mess of files and photos, it’s time to clean up. The goal here, as with your desk space, is to simplify, clear the clutter, and create a logical filing system that enables you to find what you need, when you need it. You can even use some of the same tips to clean up your virtual space:
Start by deleting anything you no longer need, and filing everything else on your desktop into folders. For any items that require an action, create an “Urgent” or “To Do” folder that you check every few days (and clean out regularly). Next, clean out your email inbox. Delete old emails you no longer need, file the ones you want to keep, and move any actionable emails to an “Urgent” or “To Do” folder as above.
Then, make sure your inbox stays free of clutter. Studies show that the average person spends as much as 17 hours per week on email and a large chunk of that time is spent on emails that are not important. The problem is often the abundance of newsletters received on a daily basis. A good hour spent unsubscribing to emails you longer want to receive can save you exponentially more time in the future. You can also use services like Unroll.me to help you manage subscriptions and keep them from cluttering up your inbox in the future.
Are you cleaning up your workspace in the new year? Share your before and after photos in the comments!
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