(and create more free time in the process!)
By Alyssa Lahham
Whether your new year’s resolution is to be more punctual, to advance your career, or to just do you, being organized will help you accomplish your goals. Being well organized decreases stress, increases productivity, and preps you for any curve balls that may fly at you. Here are a few tips that have worked for us:
1Start with scheduling – We think Sunrise is the best app to combine all of your calendars. The user interface is intuitive, and we love being able to send a single link to show our availability when scheduling client meetings.
2Make lists and deadlines – We use Asana for all of our Sparkhouse To-Do’s. You can organize action items by project, by task, by due date, and by person. If you’re working with a team, you can add comments and follow projects to collaborate. Just make sure your to-do lists are doable!
3Delegate with technology – There are a ton of free or cheap apps and software that can help you organize. We use Doodle for scheduling meetings, Typeform for surveys, Grammarly to check grammar, and Zirtual for basic tasks.
4Plan your day the night before – Make a list of five things you want to accomplish tomorrow. Envision how your day will go, and prioritize your action items. You can be flexible if urgent things pop up, just make sure that your new priorities make sense.
5Block time – Do one thing at a time. Switching from task to task (project to email to text to whatever) is inefficient. Block off time to work on similar tasks, and don’t worry about checking texts and emails immediately. Only multitask if one task is completely mindless, like folding towels.
6Make email work for you – Not the other way around. Using an app like Boomerang for Gmail and Google apps allows you to schedule emails and set follow up notifications if you don’t hear back. It’ll even clear out travel emails from your inbox until the day of your trip!
7Organize your space – Being organized means more than just being tidy. Organize your closet, desk, or whatever by a hierarchy. Put items you use the most in the easiest places to get to, and tuck away things you use just once in awhile. Make sure to leave some open space too!
8Use a physical calendar or planner – Scheduling and organizing with pen and paper allows you to create a system that works for you, without any alerts or distractions in the process. Blue Sky has everything you might need, from a simple day planner to a designer desk calendar. Putting a calendar in a place where you’ll see it every day is definitely not a bad idea.
9Figure out where you’re wasting time – And where you should be spending more time. If you want to take this tip to the next level, consider using a time management software like Toggl to track the hours you spend on each project. It’s helping us at Sparkhouse!
Keep learning – Being organized is an ongoing and ever-changing process. Learn what works for you, and what doesn’t, and adapt your strategy as you go. You don’t need to try every new app or tip that’s out there, but don’t be afraid to try something new.
We hope these work for you as well as they have worked for us! If you have more tips to share, please comment!