Work from your car? Organize it!
Organizing saves time. And time is money.
A few years ago when my husband and I returned to our home province, we met with a real estate agent who was recommended to us. At the first home, he opened the back door of his vehicle to get paperwork or notes on the home. He was greeted with a mound of papers and slowly began to sift through them. There were several bins while others were in bags but he wasn’t sure which one held the documents he required.
By days end after visiting several homes, he could not find his business cards. I thought to myself, “Is this the agent from whom I want to purchase my home?” I made my decision. I was not going to purchase a house today.
Are you a direct sales consultant? (Tupperware? Mary Kay? Jewelry sales?) Are you a professional organizer? Home Stager? Contractor? Interior Decorator? Website Designer? Personal Coach?
Maybe you are a teacher or offer accounting services.
Consider your vehicle as an extension of your home office.
Think about efficiency.
If you do any work from the back of your car or you work on the road my advice to you is, “Organize it!”
Here are tips from Organize for Harmony in Canada for getting your car organized:
1. Treat your business as a Business!
Every time you leave the house check you have: 1) Business cards 2) Brochures 3) Product Catalogues. EVERY time! These are necessities!
2. Have a clean vehicle both inside and out.
It is a reflection of you and your business.
3. Have a small mileage book visible in the front seat area of your car.
Size up your space. See what will fit before you buy. If nothing appears apparent, in the car department of most stores purchase one of those small pockets with a look that fits into your air vent. Take this with you when you go to buy a mileage book to ensure it fits.
Get into the habit of writing down EVERY excursion in your mileage book. Even if it is not work related! You never know. If you meet someone and discuss your business it will become work related. You are promoting yourself almost everywhere you go.
4. Purchase a sturdy file storage container with a sturdy snap on lid.
(This will help avoid spills if it does tip when you make turns).Use small bungee cords with hooks on either end to tether it around the file container to prevent it from sliding. Another good idea is to use strips of Velcro on the bottom to prevent sliding.
- Label legal size file folders as required. It is a good idea to add extra blank file folders for any additional categories you may decide to do ‘on the fly’.
- Use straight tabs one behind the other rather than alternating them as it is easier on the eyes. (photo here)
- Colour code if necessary: one colour file folder for one category, another colour for a different category. My theory is to aim for paperless files if at all possible. Use smart phone or laptop.
- Avoid the label ‘misc’ as this becomes a dumping ground and soon you will not know what is in there.
- Go through your file container each week to ensure all documents are current & remove those files that are not required in the vehicle. If you do this weekly you will stay current and organized.
5. Purchase a second container for your materials list.
Depending on your business there are materials that should always stay in your vehicle. Do up a materials list right now. Add to it as you think of other materials you may require on the road. This may sound simple but is a very important step.
My Materials List:
- smaller pouch for pens, pencils, paperclips & rulermeasuring tapedaytimer (if not on your phone)
- sticky notes
- packing tape
- painters tape
- screwdriver set
- scissors / pocket knife
- spare change
- wet wipes
- lint brush
- small accordion file for receipts
- emergency kit
- roadside emergency items: first-aid kit, roadside flares, jumper cables, flashlight, etc.
- fold up lawn chair
- Garbage bags & a small portable bin for garbage
Many of the smaller items are also in my computer bag that comes into the house with me but I always keep these items in the car in the event I do have my computer some day.
Other items you may want to consider according to your needs:
- static guard / wrinkle release
- tool belt
- garbage disposal
- scissors, paper clips, binder clips, duct tape, masking tape, Scotch tape, rubber bands, disposable plastic ponchos
- CD holder attached to the visor
- Extra bins or storage containers for when you decide to pick up groceries after a house call
- Hand sanitizer
6. If you are a direct sales person, carry a few samples of your product in your car.
7. Invest in Bluetooth in your vehicle.
8. Tackle Boxes with adjustable dividers for wires cords such as USB cables for charging phones.