It’s quite an obvious topic of conversation – the new year usually brings us feelings of getting on track, getting to it and generally getting on and finishing our goals from the previous year. So, I thought this topic would be beneficial and timely. Apparently last Monday was the day that most people give up on their new year’s resolutions – interestingly I didn’t make any, but I am striving to be more organised and it’s going well!
In this blog, I’m going to be sharing some useful pointers on how to get organised as well as the tools I use to help me. In fact, if you jump over to my Facebook page I did a live video – feel free to check it out.
Why it’s important
Getting organised gives us a sense of clarity and clarity = success.
When we have clarity it’s really easy to see where we’re going. I use a blueprint analogy when I’m helping my customers with writing a book. Get the blueprint plan sorted first and the writing of the content will follow. The same can be said for any project. Getting your plans laid out and all in one place, will help focus your mind allowing you the head space to ‘get on with it’.
Getting on with it then gets the tasks ticked off and allows room for growth. And growth is great for success.
How to get organised
Taking 5 minutes each morning to write your to-do list is a really quick and easy way to organise your day. I use a pen and paper (a spiral bound notebook) and highlighters. My to-do list system is easy to implement and by highlighting the top 3 tasks that NEED to be done, I usually finish the day having achieved them. If you want to see exactly how to implement and use this system, click here.
Having nailed my to-do list, I’m now using a planner – which sets out my next 3 months of focus. I’ve never used a planner before and I have to say it’s really focused my attention on where I’m going and what I need to do to get there. There are a plethora of planners out there, so take a look and see which ones will suit you best. But look for ones that ask the questions and have room for future projects. Then USE it, daily.
Quick fix #1
My go to quick fix is clearing my desk. Just having a clear space can do wonders for my productivity.
Quick Fix #2
Using Folders on your computer and emails.
The same can be said for projects and emails. In fact, I use a great inbox clearing method that I took from ‘How to be a Productivity Ninja’ by Graham Allcott – and it’s utilising the folders section in your inbox. I’m not going to go into great detail here about it, but if you haven’t got his book – it’s really worth it just for that tool alone.
Project folders for your computer are also really useful. You can use them in many ways, but using the Quick Access tool bar on your folder menu is really handy and I keep this updated with all of my current projects. Any clients that are finished then get filed in my ‘Old Clients’ folder – so that my files aren’t a HUGE long list. You could go even further and break this down into date order, but I remember names better than when I worked on a project, so a system based on names for me, is easiest.
Using tools to help you on your journey is also key. I try to keep my list small, as having too many systems only confuses and diverts your attention from actually ‘doing’.
However, using tools that work for YOU is critical.
Here are my top 5 that I use on a daily basis.
My planner and to-do list system – I’ve already mentioned this, but it’s the failsafe tool I use EVERYDAY. There are electronic (or app) versions – such as Trello, Todoist, and wunderlist. In fact, here is a list of to-do list apps rated by the Guardian, so take a look if pen and paper is not your thing. Just remember, whatever system or tool you use, it must be simple and easy to use. If it takes an age to learn or isn’t user intuitive, you’ll find yourself NOT using it as it will take too much effort.
Google apps; I use two Google apps on a regular basis, Google calendar and Google keep.
The calendar is great – I use it for everything, (I have several set up; a personal one, a business one and one for my son. They are all colour coded, so I can see at a glance what is what.) I use this tool every day and if an appointment is not in my calendar, it gets forgotten. I also have a reminder set up so I get an email 10 mins before an event is about to happen – really handy if you’re in the middle of client work and you have another appointment coming up. Sometimes I get so caught up in what I’m doing the reminder has saved me being late or forgetting altogether. You can set up the reminder to email or alert you anytime you specify, so it’s really customisable and incredibly handy.
Quick tip #3
I have a widget shortcut on my phones home screen which links to my calendar. This shows me the appointments I have that day. A really useful tool if you want to remind yourself without having to log into your calendar.
Google keep – this is a great little app that helps keep all of your website shortcuts in one place. You can take notes and make lists, but I use it like a scrapbook and it links to my business and personal email. I also take advantage of the label feature and have several labels set up for specific things like music (when I Shazam something) to inspiration or work. You can then organise your ‘keeps’ by label.
Tools #3, #4 & #5
I use Facebook a lot. I have both a personal page and business page and I come across really useful bits all the time. This is where I use the save feature. (Press the three little dots at the top right of the post title and then choose the ‘save post’ option.)
To access your saved videos or clips, just click the 3 lines to the right of your notifications and scroll through your favourite icons until you get to the saved icon (purple with a book mark). From here I put them into my keep app and then I have everything in one place and labeled – great if you need to find something quickly.
Instagram’s Hashtag follow – I’m fairly new to Instagram and I’ve been focusing a lot of time on it. I’m getting some good traction (and genuine connections) and this new feature allows you to follow a hashtag. It helps me find accounts that are niched for my business and I can then use this research (and these hashtags) to find out where my ideal customer is and what they are following. Apparently, this feature is also good for getting organic reach, something all Instagram users aspire to.
Instagram’s Linktr.ee – one of the disadvantages (or perhaps it’s an advantage?) of Instagram is that can’t use URL’s in your posts. So if you have something of value to share with your followers, then you have to put that link in your bio. However, as you’re only allowed to have one URL you have to update it many times. Here is where Linktr.ee comes into its own. It’s an app that allows you to have multiple web links all under one link. This is great if you want to share several web pages (think website, blog, offer of the month, or book) and gets around the one url rule. Really smart app that helps you build your brand.
So there are my top 5 tools and they really help me stay on top of my game. Hopefully, I’ve shared with you some useful tips and tricks that you’ll be able to use yourself. The key is not necessarily using loads of apps, the key is using ones that work for YOU and ones that you use on a regular basis.
Don’t think tech, think what works. There is nothing wrong with pen and paper!
Please feel free to comment below, and let us know of YOUR favourite organisational apps.