Most people starting an online home business do so while working a full-time job and therefore being organized will help you make maximum use of the few hours a day that you have to dedicate to your work at home internet business.
Getting and keeping the contents of your computer organized will save you heaps of time and it is a great idea to set up a good filing system so that you do not waste time looking for web addresses, passwords, files, e-books, emails, images, etc.
If you are starting an online home business that involves joining a few affiliate programs you will have a lot of important information and emails coming in that you will need to refer to. There is nothing more frustrating knowing you have saved a certain file or bookmarked an important web address and not being able to find it.
Firstly, the initial information that you will receive will be in the form of emails and so it is strongly advised that you set up folders in your Outlook so that you can file the emails in the relevant folders. If you join a number of affiliate programs, open a folder for each program.
To setup a new folder in Outlook simply click on FILE in the Menu Bar (the top horizontal menu), in the drop down menu click NEW, then click on FOLDER. A little window will open entitled CREATE FOLDER and you then type in the box entitled FOLDER NAME, the name you would like to give this new folder. Then click OK.
This way you can set up sub-folders too. For example you may have a main folder called XYZ Affiliate Program and you could create subfolders under that for Admin emails and another for Sale Notifications and another for New Signups. In your Outlook main window, select XYZ Affiliate Program, right click and select New Folder and type in the title for your subfolder.
If you make an error or your subfolder appears in the wrong place, do not panic. Just right click on the folder and click delete and try again. Or if you want to rename the folder just right click and choose rename, and enter the correct name.
By setting up folders in Outlook will save you a huge amount of time when you need to locate a certain email and you will find that your Inbox is not full of emails that you have already dealt with or read. There is also the search function in Outlook, should you need it. File the emails in their respective folders as soon as you have dealt with them. Do not forget to file the emails in your Sent Box too into their respective folders. Often it is your reply to an email that you will be looking for.
Your Favorites in Internet Explorer, or whatever browser you are using, is another place that you need to keep well organized as this will save you so much time and frustration.
Again, set up folders and subfolders if necessary. Using Internet Explorer 7 in the Menu Bar, click on Favorites, then choose Organize Favorites from the drop down menu. In the small window that opens click on New Folder and a new folder will be highlighted where you type in the name. You can also move, rename and delete folders here as well. Or you can just select the Star Icon for Favorites so they open down the left hand side of your screen, right click on a folder and choose the option New Folder and type in the name.
By right clicking on a folder and selecting Sort By Name will organize the contents of that folder alphabetically.
Under My Documents be sure to start opening folders there as well to file all the information relating to your work at home internet business, for example your ebook downloads, articles and reviews you may write, Excel spreadsheets, etc.
Another idea is to open a Word document or Excel spreadsheet to keep a note of the affiliate programs you join, their web addresses, referral urls as well as your username and passwords for each program. I personally work with Notepad as I find it opens quicker and I save it to my desktop for easy reference.
A couple of computer protection and maintenance tips: Install good virus protection on your computer and keep your Firewall turned on.
To help keep your computer running well, delete your Temporary Internet Files in Internet Explorer regularly by clicking on Tools, then Internet Options from the drop down menu and under Browsing History select Delete and then under Temporary Internet Files click on Delete. You can also delete your Cookies here too.
Do not forget to use the disk defragmenter regularly (once a week), especially if you are downloading new software or have automatic software updates coming in from Microsoft. Just click your Start button, click on All Programs and select Accessories, then System Tools and Disk Defragmenter. It is advisable to shut down all programs including temporarily disengaging your Screensaver while using the disk defragmenter.
To disengage your screensaver click on Start, Control Panel, Display and in the Display Properties Box click on Screensaver and in the drop down menu under the computer icon select ‘none’ and click Apply. Remember then to go back and reinstate your screensaver once the disk defragmenter has completed its task.
Just a word of warning here, if you do not defrag your hard drive regularly you will experience your computer slowing down and more frustrating is that the defrag process can take hours. If this happens it is advisable to leave the disk defragmenter running overnight while you catch up on some well earned sleep.
You will in time develop your own way of working, but initially when starting an online home business and everything is new and a little confusing you will find it really helpful if you get yourself organized early and get into the habit of filing items where you can find them as well as keeping your computer in peak condition thus avoiding slowdowns and downtime.
Cynthia Minnaar is the owner and webmaster of http://www.cyns-home-biz.com, the online home business site for ideas to start an online home business, online home business opportunities, internet income training, online home business tools, ebooks and articles.