The 3 Organizational Hacks That Keep Me Sane In My Business!
Last week I had a few friends reach out on Instagram asking me how I keep my life in order after sharing my wall system for organizing my active projects and client timelines. This got me thinking: why hadn't I shared these game-changing hacks on my blog before?
Now, it's time to share!
As a business owner, there are three main areas of my work that can quickly induce stress if they aren't handled accordingly: my inbox, my current client projects and my calendar. If any of these gets even a little out of whack, I'm not joking when I say that a stress meltdown may ensue.
Ready to get your business organized so that you can feel confident and rest in knowing that you've set yourself up for efficiency? Here are my top three organizational hacks!
My Inbox Folder Organizational System
If you haven't started using folders within your inbox to get your digital life organized, now's the time! I first began using this system when I was working in the creative agency world, where I was juggling multiple client accounts and projects that demanded a lot of me and my inbox.
Before laying out your folders in your inbox, think to yourself: what are the top 5-10 areas of my business that I get emails for? These will end up being your "master folders" that will live in your inbox. Take a look at my own master folders:
My master folders include the big pieces of my business like design clients, social media clients, and new business leads but also the necessary things like finance, collaborations and administrative emails. Let's take a look into how I organize the inside of my finance folder, shall we?
Within the finance master folder, I organize separate folders for the individual parts of my business's financial emails that I regularly receive. Whenever I get an automated update on the balance of my IRA? It goes into the IRA folder for safe keeping. The same goes for taxes – when I was working with a CPA, all of our correspondence was added to that folder so that I could reference it when I needed to, but it didn't need to hang out in my inbox.
I love this system because it helps me get to inbox zero nearly every single week. For any emails that require a response, I keep those flagged in my inbox. As soon as they're addressed? They get unflagged and go into their respective folder. Instant inbox zen!
My Client Project Tracking System
Although I use a digital system to track my project timelines, I'm a super visual person who needs to see things to know that they need to get done. Much like I have a daily written to-do list, I like to hang each timeline for my active projects on my office wall so that I can look up and see on any given day what work I need to do. What I love most about having my client project timelines on my office wall? The ability to check off timeline to-dos as they are finished!
So, how do I organize each client's project timeline? Prior to kicking off a design or social media project, I have each client sign off on a project timeline that we adhere to while working together. Not only does this help keep the project on track, but it also helps me visualize when I will have the capacity to bring on a new project after finishing another. Each of my client timelines include:
• The project kick-off date
• First-round design or social media concepts due date
• First-round client feedback due date
• Second-round design or social media concepts due date
• Second-round client feedback due date
• Final design or social media concepts due date
• Final file delivery and project completion date
My Calendar Management System
Last but not least is my calendar management system. On any given week I can expect to have client touch-base calls, social media status calls and prospective client calls on top of in-person meetings with local clients, mentors and professional organizations that I'm a part of. That's a lot to keep up with, especially when I need to prioritize my office hours to get work done!
I currently use Calendly to organize my meetings and calls to ensure that they all sync up and don't overlap, which has been a great platform thus far. Plus, it's free! Calendly allows you to set up your availability for calls and meetings each day of the week, and also gives you to freedom to block off time on your calendar when you need to get work done. I love that it has cut all of the crazy back-and-forth that can happen when trying to book time to connect with a client, and also seamlessly syncs to my mobile calendar.
What are your favorite tools to stay organized and sane during the workweek? Share your favorites with me in the comments below!