Starting a new business endeavor or enhancing your personal brand can be quite the life-defining experience. And, organization can fall by the wayside, making the excitement of opportunity feel more like the burden of chaos. This is more common than you think. While it’s entirely too easy to develop a few bad habits, it’s just as easy to break them and focus entirely on rearranging your life and priorities. The good news is that you can easily pluck yourself from a disorderly environment and keep focused. Here are five easy tips on how to stay organized in business.
1. Create and follow a to-do list
A daily agenda can do wonders for anyone who is struggling to stay organized. Whether you tackle it the night before or first thing in the morning, it’s essential that you list out every single task that you’re hoping to complete that day (while also being mindful of deadlines in the near future). This will ensure that everything on your plate is top-of-mind and never forgotten.
Feel free to tailor this document or calendar around your personal preferences. Some organizational ideas that have proven to be successful include a section for personal versus work responsibilities, an entirely separate section for meeting times and appointments, and some sort of color-coding or symbol to flag urgency and/or task type.
Always remember to write down additional tasks throughout the day as soon as they come to mind. This habit will ensure you don’t drop the ball on something you agreed to do and will save you from future headaches and procrastination.
2. Clean out your email inbox
If you’re a business owner, you’re probably knee-deep in emails for most of the day. Take advantage of your email client’s archive feature that allows you to save important messages while also removing them from your inbox. They’ll also become searchable for easy access when you need them.
The goal here is to only leave emails in your inbox that demand a reply. Delete anything and everything you no longer need. The feeling of “crossing things off a list” will inspire a sense of efficiency and productivity. It will also keep things neat and tidy so you know exactly what requires your immediate time and attention.
Cleaning out your actual workspace is equally important for how to stay organized. For a wonderful list of tips, be sure to check out our comprehensive guide.
3. Don’t procrastinate
This bit of advice is obviously much easier said than done when it come to how to stay organized in business. But pushing off projects to the last minute can have detrimental effects on both your mental health and the quality of your work. Also, the more you procrastinate, the more things add up, which can lead to a premature burn-out that prohibits you from finishing anything at all.
Set daily goals in your to-do list (with just a little wiggle room, because life happens) and hold yourself accountable. You can and should tack on rewards to these goals as something to look forward to upon completion. For example, finishing a blog post may earn you an hour of TV time before bed. Don’t underestimate the power of little incentives. They may be just the motivation you need to finish things quicker.
A personalized to-do list to reach your goals
Now that you have the tips and tricks to be able to stay organized, we have a “course creator’s to-do list” to help you along the way.
4. Ask for help
Disorganized people tend to bite off more than they can chew and are reluctant to ask for help. But asking for help and trusting the talents of those around you can allow for you to focus on bigger-picture projects that demand more of your energy.
Give others the opportunity to take things off your plate so you can narrow your focus and not feel like you’re running around. There can be a bit of a learning curve with allocating assignments (especially if you’re used to doing things yourself). But you should always set the same deadlines and expectations you have for yourself onto others. This trickle-down effect will help to keep them organized, as well, and allow you to worry less about ineffectiveness and disarray. You’ll soon realize it’s a key element in mastering how to stay organized in business.
Setting aside time to be mindful will give you permission to take a breath, clear your head, and compartmentalize your thoughts and feelings. If done consistently, you’ll be aware of not only every pending task, but also how much of an emotional and mental impact they have on you in that current moment.
The result: knowing exactly what is a priority and not overreacting when it comes to the insignificant. Mindfulness is synonymous with awareness—the more in tune you are with your brain and emotions, the more cognizant of everything you need and want to do, both in the short and long-term, and the steps required to get there.
Take 15 minutes out of your day to find a quiet space and practice breathing exercises. Apps like Calm and Headspace can be fantastic guides for those who are beginners or are having a difficult time detaching from the stresses of everyday life.
Nobody likes to admit when they are spiraling or becoming overwhelmed, especially if they feel like it’s a result of simply not staying organized. By taking an hour out of your day to complete these tips, you can concentrate on what really matters: bringing your next big idea to life.