I hope you’re all having a good week. Mine has been pretty productive and I was delighted to have a surprise visit from my sister. She helped me to take a couple of days off work to spend getting organised in my home office.
Recently I’ve spent a lot of time getting organised in my new home and in other aspects of life. It’s an on-going process. I think working towards a more organised life is generally a good goal to have. There’s always room for improvement.
If you’re self-employed and often find yourself working from home you’ll know just how important it is to stay organised. It’s easy to get out of the swing of things, as with anything. So, today I wanted to share some of my personal tips from the last 5 years on staying organised within your self-employed life.
These are general tips which you should hopefully be able to apply to most lines of work. Staying organised will make your life and business run much smoother.
I’ve spoken about the importance of a tidy workspace before. If your desk is a mess and you don’t know where things are then that’s going to make your day much more overwhelming. That’s not something you need on top of your day-to-day schedule.
It doesn’t matter if you work from your home office, your kitchen table or a co-working space. Having structure and organisation is the key to making your life and business run smoothly.
One of the ways I like to keep my desk tidy is by only have the essentials on there. So, laptop, external screen, notebook and my cuppa tea are what you’ll find on my desk most days. I then have separate shelves for my accountancy folder, products which I need to review and other bits and bobs. The tidy desk means I can bring anything extra over to my desk as and when I need it. I also make a big effort to put everything away at the end of the workday.
Have a system for packaging supplies
When I was running Indiecana (find out more about my old biz) I’d keep my envelopes and other packaging bits and bobs on one shelf in easy to access boxes and trays. This would mean that I could easily grab each part of the packaging as I put together an order. It also allowed me to see when I needed to make a fresh order of packing supplies so that I’d never run out. Thanks to Bestbuyenvelopes for collaborating with me on this post.
Although I don’t sell products right now I still have my shelf of envelopes and bubble wrap. This comes in handy when I have giveaways to send out.
Save your receipts
Keep your receipts in an easy to access place throughout the year. I pop mine into an old shoe box but I might switch to a receipt spike for the year ahead.
Once the year is over move everything into a folder for the previous year.
Weekly accounts updates
Spend 10 minutes a week on your accounts. You can do this digitally or simply in a notebook, whichever way you find easiest. Be sure to keep track of invoices and receipts throughout the year. This will save time at the end of the tax year.
Dedicated time for checking emails
It’s very tempting to check your emails regularly throughout the day. I go in and out of being in good email checking habits. At the moment I check my emails at the start of the day, at lunch and in the evening. Some people will simply check once or twice a day depending on their line of work.
I’d also recommend setting up categories within Gmail for different projects. This gives you the option of jumping straight to anything which is a priority.
Turn off notifications
I have the notifications turned off on my phone for most apps. If I have important work related to social media I’ll then go in and turn them on again. This means I’m not getting distracted by my phone beeping all day and I can simply dive in and out of apps as and when I have a spare moment.
I also do this with phone calls. Try setting your phone to do not disturb when you’re really busy. You can allow certain numbers to get through to you when you have important projects and family life to keep up with.
Overall this has to be one of my favourite ways to stay organised and avoid getting distracted throughout the working day.
What are your tips for staying organised in business?