Tips to make 2018 your most productive year yet!
The lead up to Christmas and New Year can be for most businesses the busiest time of year! Keeping on top of work and staying organised, whilst pleasing your customers, gets more demanding and stressful the closer Christmas gets. Once the crazy Christmas period is over its time to get back to work and start fresh, but it can be daunting if everything is a bit of a mess or your struggling to stay on top of everything and want to start 2018 off on a high. Here are five tips to get your business organised and make 2018 your most productive year yet!
Workspace Clean and Spruce Up!
As silly as it sounds, having a tidy and organised workspace can do wonders for your productivity and motivation. Not only is it easier to do work, but it can make you feel good too. Go through your cluttered drawers and chuck out anything that you haven’t used all year or things that are over used and starting to get tatty. There’s an excuse for you to go shopping and buy new stationery to replace the old!
File away the pile of paperwork you have building up on your desk, organise your receipts to input into your accounts (bonus tip – a DIY receipt jar is a great way to store receipts throughout the year. A good visual reminder and looks good too!) and whilst you’re at it, give your computer a little clean too.
Good buys to keep you organised: If you don’t already have one, a draw tidy/organiser is a great way to keep your drawers and desk organised. Great if you don’t have much desk space. If you do have space and you tend to have lots of paperwork cluttering your desk, I would suggest you buy stackable drawers/shelves that you can label. Once you have a task to do or file, you can put it in the corresponding shelf out of the way.
Everyone tends to put this off, it’s boring and takes forever!! Having a full and messy inbox is daunting and super overwhelming, especially if you are planning on taking a break during Christmas, no one wants to come back to a full inbox and have to clean it out. Great ways to organise your inbox is to create folders in your inbox, so you can file important emails into to access quickly and so much easier to find later on. This will help keep emails out of your inbox and stop it from building up and getting unmanageable. Your inbox will feel smaller and your stress will be smaller too.
Suggested folder names: Receipts or Expenses, Important Documents, Customer queries, Sales, Keep, Client/Customer Named folders etc.
Don’t just delete emails you don’t want, unsubscribe from them too! It will save you tones of time in the future having to keep deleting the same emails you don’t want from the same company, and this will save you time having to sort through your regular emails to spam emails.
Empty your junk folder and flag important emails you need to get around to replying to or following up at a later date. You can even create labels for each coloured flag and set reminders/alerts on each email you need to action.
Ps. If you don’t have the time, I offer an inbox detox service where I can do all this for you, contact me to get a quote.
Create a Business Plan/Goals!
This is a great way to organise what you want to achieve throughout 2018. How can you improve your business? What goals would you like to reach? This can include your social media followers for Facebook, Instagram etc; the amount of people who read or comment on your blog posts; the amount of sales overall you get throughout a month/quarterly/in a year; the amount of new customers you want to get, and so on. There are so many different goals you can set yourself. Then choose which are your most wanted and start a plan on how you can achieve those goals.
For instance, if you wanted 100 sales in 3 months but you currently get 60, how will you make more sales? How will you promote yourself? Will you pay for advertising? Will you create more products? Etc. Some people find it useful to have this all written down or create a custom media kit with your goals on for 2018, which can be a great visual reminder and motivator. Psst…I can create a custom media kit or business plan worksheet for you if you are a visual person and don’t have the time do that part yourself (after you have figured out your goals first, of course), contact me to get a quote. I am aiming to make pre-made editable media kit templates ready to buy in Jan 2018, so look out in my Etsy shop or email me and I will let you know when they are ready to buy.
Otherwise, if you struggle to plan or create goals, some people decide to hire a business coach. I would love to hear what you are planning on doing in the comments or what you did last year for your goal/business planning and if you reached them at the end of this year.
This is something I need to get onto doing myself actually.
Write To-Do Lists!
Lots of people find visual prompts more effective ways to organise themselves, so a to-do list or even a colourful one can do just that. Start by writing everything down you want and need to get done in the new year, then sort through them and if you can, add yourself deadlines. Then make a separate list of what tasks have to be done and what tasks you would like to get done. Just remember, needing to do and wanting to do are two completely different things, you will need to work this out yourself. Once you have your new list, highlight the urgent tasks in a bright colour, this should draw your attention to those tasks. Make sure you put deadlines dates/times next to them, if you have any deadlines, and tick them off as you go along. Bonus tip: don’t just do lots of the little easy tasks, first so it looks like you have done more, try and mix it up by breaking up the large tasks into chunks of hours and do the small tasks in between. Then you won’t get stuck on doing one long, horrible task and feeling like you still have a massive list to get through.
If you love writing things down, buy a planner, bullet journal or printable to-do lists (I sell printable to-do lists and planners in my store) or get a big calendar to put up on your wall so you can put your tasks on post it notes on your deadline days, or there are some great apps to help you stay organised. I would suggest Asana or Trello, they are like online to-do lists that are also great project management tools and good for keeping track of clients or team members. (I’m not an affiliate for any of those, I just think they are great and can help some of you if you haven’t tried them yet).
If you really don’t have the time to do certain tasks, you can always outsource the work to someone else. Handing over the tasks you hate or the tasks you don’t have the knowledge or time to do, can free up your day so you can focus on more important work or spend more time with your family/friends. Outsourcing work can make a massive impact on lowering your stress levels and can help you to grow your business, as we all know, regretfully we can’t do everything ourselves all the time and be everywhere at once. You may be surprised what you can outsource and how little or much you can outsource. If you have design work you can hire a Graphic Designer (like myself) or if you have administration work, you could hire a Virtual Assistant, or if you have trouble or hate doing your social media, a Social Media Manager can be great! Whatever you might want to outsource, there is always someone out there that has the skills to do it. If you would like to outsource some design or administration work to me, take a look at my services or contact me. You can read my other post on the benefits to outsourcing here, if you want to know more.
So hopefully now you have some useful tools ready to get you organised in 2018 without worrying about the work you have left to do. Hope 2018 brings you happiness, health and great business!