Updated: Mar 1, 2021
When I left the corporate world to start my own Virtual Business in 2016, it was really nice to be able to work from home and on my own time. However, it was definitely a transitional shift from a boss controlling what you will be doing, to you having full control of your day. Therefore, to be successful, I had to implement an organizational process, if not I would be wasting so much time being distracted.
Here are 8 tips that will help you accomplish being organized and productive.
TIP #1 Set aside a dedicated time when you will actually sit down and do your planning. I personally like to do this on Sunday Evenings. It just works for me, because I'm constantly brainstorming and don't want to miss anything to be included on the weekly to-do list. If you prefer to do it Monday mornings or Friday evenings, go for it, just determine whatever works best for you to get it done.
TIP #2 Create a manageable week schedule that will make you happy. Remember this is your business, so you make your schedule work for you not the other way around. Make sure you also add things that you enjoy doing too, such as time for 15 minutes of stretches, or even 15 minutes watching Bridgerton (I'm totally hooked on this show). By allowing yourself some of these quick breaks during the day, you will find you will get energized, and you won't feel guilting because you planned it.
TIP #3 Have a designated workspace, I know it sounds delightful to be able to sit on your bed with your laptop, but it's also very distracting because the kids are running around, or the TV is on, plus it just doesn't feel like a special place. If you don't have a home office, find a nook in your home and put in a table. I've known people to turn under their staircase into an office, or if you have to put up a divider such as a line with a curtain to divide the space, that's ok too. It has to be your special dedicated workspace. I turned my son's old bedroom into my office, I love it, when I'm in there it's all business, and at the end of the day, I even have a "closed" sign on my door.
TIP #4 Organizing tools you can use. There are so many useful tools out there to help keep you organized, whether it's a Paper Planner, Google Calendar, Trello, Asana, or Monday - whichever one you use, make sure you plan a dedicated day/time to update it. I personally use Trello, I love how it's easy to drag and pull the colorful cards from one list to the other, you can set up a checklist with due dates, etc, it really makes you accountable for your day. TIP #5 Get in the zone to start your workday, such as making yourself that power green smoothie, or putting on your office lipstick, spraying sage essential oil, or lighting a candle, whatever it is, make sure you do it every morning, this will give you a sense of starting your amazing productive day.
TIP #6 Turn off your phone and computer notifications - OMG this is such a lifesaver. Set it for a couple of hours, you won't hear any more pings when you get a message on Facebook, WhatsApp, or your BFF sending a video of her cute dog trying to talk. You can set it where only your favorite calls can come through mine would be my immediate family only, but everything and everyone else can wait. My clients know how often I respond to them in our contract, so that's not a problem. However, do have a dedicated set time to check your emails and phone calls.
TIP #7 Recognize what it takes to help keep you zoned in and be productive, if that means taking quick mini-breaks throughout the day, then do so for 10 mins, go and have a cup of tea, change up your environment, go for a walk around the block, sit in the garden for few mins.
Schedule a mandatory daily lunch break away from your computer. Whatever it takes, you'll be surprised how it will help to recharge your brain, ease your eyes and keep you feeling energized and ready to take on the next task. Also, set up timers for those mini-breaks too, and actually stick to it. TIP #8 Set work hours and stick to them. Create a consistent routine to end your workday. Review what you've accomplished for the day, and update your to-do list for the following morning, and switch off your computer, if you work on a laptop leave it in your office. Tidy up your workspace, tuck in your chair and close the door. That's it, you're free to do anything you want now.
So plan and get organized, and remember it's better to have a solid dedicated 1 hour of productivity than 6 hours of being distracted and your mind all over the place.