Little Miss Multitask: Top 4 Tips For Organization
Over the past two or so months, I've had numerous people ask me the same question; "How are you so organized?" And after my response, the following statement is usually something along the lines of "Wow, I wish I could be that organized" or "Wow, I could never be that organized". Regardless of which sentence you resonate with, I'm here to tell you to stop your wishing; you can be this organized.
As a small business owner who is very well still in the start-up stage of their career, I understand being the person that does everything. Since starting Serendipity Social Co I have been running a one-woman show, and while wearing multiple hats has forced me to learn a lot of new and useful skills, I can't deny the fact that it is work and work is hard. Being a Social Media Manager, people depend on me, and I do have a lot on my plate. My ability to handle my workload heavily relies on my organization skills. Without them, I can assure you that SSCo would not be able to operate as smoothly as it does today.
Don't get me wrong, my Type A personality, control freak mentality, and perfectionist complex definitely play a massive role in my ability to be so organized. However, luckily these tips will still be just as useful for you! So, what are my top tips for organization? Keep reading and find out :)
Tip #1: Meet your new BFF: Google Calendar
One thing about me, I'm going to send a calendar invite! I have found that having things on your calendar instead of relying on yourself to remember all of the tasks that you have is a bit easier. Who would've thought, right? With my busy schedule, my calendar is about 80% filled each month. One thing that helps me manage all of my tasks is color coordination. If you were to look at my calendar, you will notice that everything has a specific color. For example, events are marked yellow, SSCo photoshoots are marked in purple, meetings are kept black, and all of my clients have a different color to associate with their brand. I have found that color association makes navigating my calendar easy because I know what I'm looking for, and I know what tasks I am looking at.
Google Calendar has a lot of great features that I utilize to make my life easier too! For example, in the 'description' or notes section at the bottom of each calendar invite, I use this section to reiterate any details, objectives or ideas regarding the shoot or meeting. Another useful feature to note is the 'notification' button, where you can choose when you'd like your phone to remind you of the event. I make it a point to set a notification for every event since it notifies you and everyone included in the invite. I usually set the reminder for 30min-1hr before the event.
All Star Tip: Coordinate your Calendar colors with your Reminders colors! Read more in tip #2
Tip #2: Utilize technology
Now, I can't promise you that your life will magically become organized with the simple push of the 'download' button, but these apps will definitely be a great step in the right direction, and when used the right way, they can certainly help you in the same ways they have helped me. My top two organization apps are ToDo-ist and Reminders (automatically downloaded onto any Apple Iphone), and not to be dramatic or anything, but these apps have saved my behind more times than I can count.
ToDo-ist is a To-Do list app that has a built in calendar so you can schedule out tasks in advance or create tasks as you go. I use this app as daily check list for daily tasks that need to be completed. I love the future task scheduling ability of this app; it's super helpful, especially when you have follow-ups or check-ins for photoshoots or meetings. Another great asset to this app is the ability to check tasks off as you complete them! For someone like me who has a lot to do, I thoroughly enjoy being able to check things off of my to-do list; it keeps me reassured that I am being productive and staying on top of my tasks.
While I use the ToDo-ist app as a daily task tracker, I use the Reminders app for big recurring monthly tasks. For example, if you were to look at my Reminders app you'd see client paydays and invoice reminders, and monthly reminders to start the next TSS Blog article or book the next guest for #LGS. A few of my favorite things:
1) You can create categories to section off reminders (For example: my clients all have their own category, and I put reminders directly relating to them in their category). 2) You can color code the categories (I highly suggest aligning the colors as closely as you can to the ones you used for your calendar). 3) You can schedule reminders by setting a specific time for the reminder to notify your phone.
Tip #3: Write everything down & take notes
As someone constantly multitasking, I have a million tabs open in my head. One way that I have helped lighten the load for myself is by writing everything down and taking notes. For example, when concepts or content ideas for myself or my clients arise, I try to take a second to jot it down quickly in my Notes app. Other times, when I remember something I have to do or a client reaches out needing something from me, I make sure to write these things down in my ToDo-ist app. I always schedule it accordingly, depending on if I need to get it done today, tomorrow or in the next few weeks.
Stepping away from technology, I have found that the act of physically writing things down can be just as beneficial! Thanks to a good friend of mine, I purchased the perfect fridge whiteboard to help keep me focused on my weekly goals. Since Sundays are my reset days, I make it a point to write my priorities for the week on the whiteboard. As someone who is a visual person, seeing my priorities in a place that I frequent (the fridge lol) is super helpful and keeps me consistently working toward my goals for the week. My Motto: Stay ahead to stay on top
Tip #4: Be realistic
A huge part of being organized is being honest with yourself about the work you already need to do before adding other things onto your plate. Be realistic with your time, your schedule, your work-load, the quality of work you want to present, and your genuine ability to juggle multiple tasks at once! Once I began to understand how long certain tasks took me to complete, I could accurately gauge if I had the capacity to add more tasks to my list, and with that knowledge, I could also better schedule the tasks as they come to make sure my daily tasks weren't too overwhelming.
All Star Tip: Give yourself some downtime in between each big task
When doing small daily tasks, I tend to get into a groove and knock them out one by one, but I have found it super useful when having big tasks on the agenda to give myself a 20-minute filler block between each big job. This allows my brain to take a much-needed break and ultimately keeps my days feeling a lot less overwhelming and busy.
All in all, even I can admit that being and staying organized is a challenge, but with the right tips and tricks anything is possible! Now go accomplish your dreams, one to-do list check off at a time :) You've got this.