Work It Wednesday – today in our Weekly Productivity Program we focus on the “pesky” tasks that stack up on your list. Tasks like returning phone calls, filing, finishing paperwork and so on. Being organized really helps you blow through these things! How organized are you?
Want more time? Be Organized!
One of the top concerns, complaints, or comments from clients I consult with for a “productivity process plan” is they don’t
have any time and they want it back! The best way to gain it back is to be REALLY organized and when needed REALLY focused (committed) to get things completed.
Below are a few tips to help you get back on track being organized and take back your time. A few words of caution – even though these organizational tips might be simple, they need to become habits in your daily/weekly routine and when creating new working conditions & habits you need to start implementing them one organized tip at a time – commit to the change one at a time and do it until it is routine for you – then add another organized tip to your routine until you have restructured and organized your working habits. The hardest thing is to try and change everything about how you work and spend your day all at once – and keep “falling off the change wagon”, this will bring frustration to your work day along with giving up on getting organized and going back to your old habits.
Get Organized Tips!!
- Start an Organized Task Tracking System – We recommend the Tickler File – it is very simple to set up and follow, it is mobile, and you can personalize it very easily. We recommend the physical Tickler File over the online version because there is something with “touching” it and “crossing items out” with ink verses online. You can read more on a Tickler File here.
- Start an Organized Filing System – Having a place for everything and putting everything in its place when you are done with it is crucial to being organized. Not only will you know where it is when you need it you will be in a “clean space”. Clearing out clutter is crucial to being organized.
- Be Organized Set Office Hours – Setting office hours helps all independent business owners. It does not matter if you work from home or if you have an office or shop outside of the home. Small business owners tend to spend a lot of time working where ever it is and not matter what time it is. Setting strict business hours helps with organizing and taking time back – not only do you have an “end time” but your customers/clients/prospects know when it is acceptable to contact you or expect work items from you but your family also has something to count on – when you will be available for them. If you have created a habit of working ANY TIME it will take time to retrain everyone (even yourself) to adhere to this one. Be upfront with your customers/clients/prospects on why you are making this change and trust me everyone adapts to this – and really support the change.
- Stay focused and Organized, Don’t jump to answer the phone – When you are focusing on a project or if it is pesky task day – let the phone go to voice-mail and stay focused. A few minute or hours delay in replying to people usually are not deal breakers. If you are not a solo-preneur and have some assistance put in your voice message – if you need assistance immediately please contact (so and so) at via phone or email. If you are solo-preneur, find an alternative way they can contact you if it is an emergency – do not say to email you, maybe text or just leave a message. It is much easier to check your voice mail and not skip a beat than it is to speak to everyone that calls.
- Stay focused and Organized, Set email checking times – we can all get consumed and lost in checking emails. Set a few times in your organized schedule to check email – you will have to gauge this one based on if you are expecting an emergency message that day or not. For the most part email is a huge time suck – there are several things you can set up to help get this organized – check your email system for “filtering” or “task wizards” and set up some rules like – if an email comes from Facebook – skip inbox and go straight to a facebook file for email and check it once a day. There are several items we get throughout the day email wise that can be filtered and checked once a day – like Facebook notifications, Twitter notifications, Google Alerts, information from competitors, sales pitches from vendors or people you are on their newsletters and so on – be organized and schedule time in the day to check those – keep your inbox clean with just messages that come in and need to be dealt with.
- Stay focused and Organized, Set Social Media time – OK we all know we can loose track of time in Social Media. Set boundaries and time limits for yourself. Stay active in Social Media but use the tools that are out there to help you – read more about organizing and using social media tools here.
Being organized is not so hard – it is a way of life and yes it is STRUCTURE and many people veer away from having structure to their work life. I have consulting clients that tell me “I went into business for myself so I can do what I want when I want and I hate structure” well I am sorry to break the news to you everything needs STRUCTURE and you are no exception to the rule!
One of the tings we add to our lives thinking it is going to be the best but becomes the biggest “being organized robber” is too much information – I love what Tim Ferriss says:
Sometimes you need to go on a low-information diet. Timothy Ferriss
Clear the clutter not only from your office and desk but from your mind – stay organized and focused – don’t try to know it all and do it all right now. Create habits even in the “specialties” you offer. Build that organized foundation and then build onto it when it is all stable – use that time to branch out to new ventures in business but become the top dog in YOUR area first. The best way to do this is with Organization and Focus!
Some additional hints to being organized…
When choosing your work flow for the week, be realistic. Do not overload yourself. I know we want to do it ALL but staying organized you realize you can only do what you can do so plan accordingly.
Don’t be afraid to say NO – being organized means you are staying true to yourself and your business. If you give too much there is not enough for your family, friends and YOU to enjoy. By saying NO to things that will endanger your “organized” working state you actually open up more opportunities that will fit in.
Time management if you have not figured out is the key to being organized and gaining freedom back. Time management is not easy to build into your habits and routine but just remember it is doable!
Don’t be afraid, get organized! Just Do It!
If you need help getting organized or finding a productive process and flow, feel free to contact us. We are here for you!