Let's just be real for a minute. It is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to have an effective business without organization—which is why I have invited Anna, a tried and true interior designer/organizer to offer her top 5 tips for getting organized. So grab a pen and paper + take some notes, I know I need 'em!
The following is a guest post by Anna Eskridge of Anna Lee Interior Design.
Anna is a Virginia-based interior designer and organizer with a mission to bring beauty and functionality to a space while empowering the lives of those living in it.
Find a Planner That Works For You
Finding a planner that works for you is one of the most important things you can do to assist in your business being effective and organized. While we all make mistakes (forgetting appointments, running late to meetings, etc.) you don't you or your business to be known for dropping the ball. One way that you can avoid this is to consistently write everything down in the same place - whether it may be the old-fashioned pen and paper, or, online. Carry it with you - in your purse or briefcase, so that you don't forget to jot things down.
Maintain a Weekly, Monthly or Quarterly To-Do List
About a year ago I started maintaining monthly and quarterly to-do lists on top of my weekly list. While at first glance it may seem overwhelming looking at so many tasks at hand however I've found it to be reassuring as I'm able to see exactly what I need to accomplish in that specific amount of time. I group tasks into various categories on each list (personal, blogging, business, etc.) and I always try to tackle the small tasks firsts (emails, calling people, etc.) before attempting the more time-consuming projects. When I do move on to those projects I make sure to eliminate all distractions (social media, T.V., etc.) and just focus. (I do recommend taking small breaks as needed)
A tool that I've used to help keep me organized, specifically with blogging, is Meg Biram's Get Shit Done (GSD) sheets. There are a variety of designs that you choose from however I use mine to organize my blog posts (what day they are going to be published, where I'm going to advertise them, etc.). I love using this tool as a way to make sure I'm touching all of the various topics that I generally cover throughout the month and that they are spread out in an orderly fashion.
*On a side note* I really love calling my to-do lists "to accomplish" lists. The switching out of these two words makes such a difference in my overall attitude and how I view the tasks at hand. Instead of feeling overwhelmed about all that I have to do, and viewing these things as just "tasks"/things I have to do; I feel empowered. These are things that are important to me; steps that I am taking to growth myself, my blog and my business.
The Action File
The Action File System is a filing system that assists in keeping track of forms and important documents that require immediate action. There are various categories that of course can be customized according to your needs. My personal action file system has categories such as To Mail, To Pay, Monthly Expenses, To File, etc. As you can see the categories of this specific system all require action. I have one of these for both my personal and professional mail/papers. It has been so useful in staying on top of things and not losing important documents.
Know Your Strengths
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is something that is beneficial not only to business owners but people in general. We would like to think that we can do it all (I'm defiantly guilty here...) however there are specific areas that we have more passion and ability in than in others. While it's important to always be learning (new talents, programs, etc.), as a business owner, if there is a specific area of your business that you find yourself weak in (i.e. coding, accounting, etc.) and wasting too much time with; outsource and hire someone who can help. Your time is valuable - use it wisely.
Something I’ve found to help keep me true to my brand is to have a vision board above my desk. On this board I have images and photographs inspired by my brand, along with my business' mission statement, vision statement, and values. Having these to look up to, when working, has played such a role in keeping me focused and reminding me why I’m doing all of this in the first place. Since creating this board my blog posts have been more on point, I’ve started to be more specific with the people I choose to collaborate with, and I’ve started to finally hone in on my “voice”.
So, what about you? What do you do to stay organized? Let me know below!