I know the struggles of working from home!
Like… always being online.
Like… always checking your email.
Like… hearing a ding and checking that tweet (or FB message)
Working from home with your own online business is super challenging at times. There is no boundary that turns day into night, office closed, or set end time. There is no clock to punch (time clock, unless you actually punch your clock, hehe).
There are so many challenges that work from home people can talk about. One of the biggest ones that I hear in my circles is staying organized and on task.
I hear it time and time again. As an online work at home entrepreneur (and mom) that being organized is a great challenge and a great tool. Once you are completely organized (is there such a thing as being completely organized?), you will be able to hone in and focus, really focus on the work that matters to you.
So let’s talk about how to get completely organized in your at home workspace.
Make a schedule. Having a schedule for yourself not only helps you prioritize your time, but allows you space to turn work off. Create and stick to a schedule that works best for you. If waking at 4 am to get started on work works best for you, then go for it. If staying up ’til midnight works for you, then do it. But if you only want to work while the kids are in school, then set those boundaries with yourself.
Sure some days will look different from others, but as an entrepreneur, you have the ability to set your your own schedule, so do it! Give yourself breaks and time to enjoy some off screen time.
Batch Tasks. Batching your like-tasks will help you maximize productivity. Batch all of your content in one day (or set of time for the day), social media scheduling another day, and networking on a different day. Batch your tasks that logically go together. This way, while you are in your groove, you can keep that momentum going.
Use less head space and boost productivity by batching your to-do’s together!
My slogan is “Planning is essential, let’s make it happen” for a good reason. It truly is essential. By planning, you are making a commitment to yourself to get those tasks done in the time frame that you have allotted yourself. Plan as much as you can ahead of time. The night before is a great way to prepare for the day ahead.
Make your to-do list before you go to bed or before you shut down your computer for the day. Write the 3 main important tasks that must get done the next day. This will help things move forward. And if you gave yourself too much to do one day, forgive yourself and move it to the next day. But do get back to it. Make it a top priority the next day.
Organize Your Workspace
Clear the clutter and make way for a beautiful productive workspace. I love baskets and sorting containers, they help e organize my desk and look great too. Find a way to keep your desktop clear and clean. If you have a ton of papers all over the place, it will be difficult to focus.
Deal with mail and other important papers immediately. If it is trash, then throw it away right away. If it something you need to take care of at a later time, then place in your basket of things to deal with at a later time. Find a system that works for you and stick to it. Create space in your schedule to clear clutter. Give yourself that scheduled time at the end of each day or just before lunch to go through the “deal with later” basket.
Should you have a hands on business where you have materials and tools, clean those up at the end of each workday to give you a fresh start the next day. Keep all of your tools and materials organized in separate containers or storage drawers. Whatever system you choose to use, do it consistently everyday. Consistency is the key to organization.
Organize Thoughts / Ideas
Keep a notebook nearby so when you think of new things to do or have great ideas, you can jot them down. Here is what I do. While working on a beach of tasks, say blog content, I get an idea for a blog post. I keep a notebook right next to me while I am working so I can jot those ideas down. Then when I am done working, I look through my newest notes and determine which board to put them in Trello. I have idea dump boards for products, blog posts, creative projects, quotes. This way, should I hit a writer’s block, I have something to pull from.
I also write down next steps as I am working. So for example, If I am working on a client project and I release that I need to contact them for feedback or ask them a question, I write it down so I do not forget. Then wen I am done with the task, I can write to them. This helps you stay on track with the task you are working on.
So what do you need to get and stay organized? Let’s recap!
Schedule: whether you choose to place a schedule in your workspace or have a written scheduler or use your google calendar, give yourself a schedule of the day including breaks and meals. (specifics- daily)
Batch: Whether you use Trello or sticky notes or just a notebook, decide which tasks can go together to maximize your time.
Plan: Get a planner that meets your needs. You will want a planner that allows space for you to write notes, plans, and batch your like tasks together. (wider scale- overview)
Workspace: Get paper sorters, baskets, and other desktop accessories to organize your workspace. This allows you to be better focused on your work.
Ideas: Get a notebook or planner with tons of space, to write all of your brilliant ideas down while you work. You can always come back to it later but this keeps you focused on the task that you are currently working.