by Martina Iring | Featured Contributor
I’ve had something on my mind lately, gnawing away at me. Make that a million (or so it seems some days) somethings. The email I haven’t responded to. The networking coffee I never followed through on. The friend’s website I said I would look at. The email I know I wrote but for the life of me can’t find now in the tangle of my inbox.
Can you relate?
Being disorganized or feeling like you don’t have the workings of your business under control can be so stressful. While nobody’s perfect and we all deal with being a little frazzled and all over the place, taking steps to rein in the chaos can be a boost to your business and to your personal well-being. Here are 10 of my favorite ways to stay organized…
1. Get a handle on your inbox
As entrepreneurs, we’re all inundated with email. Come up with a system for staying on top of the important messages. I flag all important emails and go through them once a day responding and dealing with things. You might prefer to use folders or something else altogether. Pick what works for you to ensure that nothing gets lost in your inbox again.
2. Write to-do lists
I use physical pieces of paper to stay on top of my task list. There are plenty of digital variations. This for me is the best way to ensure that nothing slips through the cracks.
3. Keep a calendar
Make note of meetings and important deadlines and dates but also use it for things like maintaining your blog posting schedule and your email marketing.
4. Hire someone to help
Having an assistant frees up your time and unloads some of your burden. Mine helps me with research and writing. She scours the web for awesome internet marketing and small business friendly resources to post on social media. She gets things scheduled. In short, she stays on top of certain tasks so that I can focus my efforts elsewhere.
5. Keep a notebook (or smartphone with you) at all times
This way, when inspiration strikes as you’re out and about, or you suddenly think of something that needs to get done right before going to bed, you can make note of it so that you don’t forget. I often get marketing ideas when I am away from my desk. Knowing that I’ve gotten them down somewhere and that they won’t run away on me lets me clear my mind.
6. Tidy your desk and try to keep it that way
Even if you don’t have time for a full-on clean, tucking away piles of papers and clearing some space in your working area can really help to make you feel better about everything.
7. Tidy your mind
Is there something that you’ve not done that keeps on cropping up to bother you? Undone tasks can weigh on you. Sometimes it’s better just to bite the bullet and work 5 minutes later to get if off your task list. Every time you think about how you haven’t done it, you are wasting time and energy.
8. Keep careful notes
I don’t know how many times I’ve had to wrack my brain or try to unsuccessfully scour through my inbox to find the email or the meeting notes where we discussed x,y or z. So I’ve started to keep careful track of communications for all of my projects. I copy and paste important meeting notes and other project details into Word docs. I make comments in time tracking spreadsheets what I’ve told clients about estimates or costing. I know exactly where to find any project related info I need.
9. A place for everything
Whether it’s a basket for your receipts. Or a document where you pop your blog post ideas. Knowing where things are saves time and saves your sanity.
10. Social media tools
Interacting and keeping touch with the right people online can be overwhelming and add to your disorganization. “What was the name of that consultant I wanted to interact with?” “What Facebook page was it that had all those awesome resources I wanted to read?” Twitter lists and Facebook interests to the rescue.
These are my own personal organizational tips. I’m sure you’ve got your own for your business and I would love if you would share them in the comments!
Martina Iring – Internet marketing consultant & small business cheerleader
Martina Iring is a marketing consultant who works with small businesses and entrepreneurs unsure of how to make the internet work for them and their success. Whether they need to take their online presence to the next level, bring it up to date, or even get something going in the first place. This can be super overwhelming, especially if web stuff isn’t your thing. She’s on a mission to help the little guys make sense of internet marketing, teaching small biz owners how being online is not only profitable, but enjoyable! She is based in Vancouver, Canada but works with businesses all over the world.
She loves marketing. She loves small business. Bringing them together is her bliss. You can call her the small business cheerleader!
As a small business owner herself, Martina can relate to the whole magical journey of entrepreneurship – the challenges and the struggles, but also the joys and the amazing freedoms. Her blog, Small Business Bliss, offers up plenty of marketing info and doses of inspiration. Be sure to get your free website improvement guide here.