Friday, 28 February 2014
how I stay organised (part one)
one of the hardest parts of being self-employed, and running a small business all on your own, is definitely staying organised. I'm a pretty anal person at the best of times - I make lists for absolutely everything, I love colour coding, I have an unhealthy collection of stationery. so it seems natural that these traits would get incorporated into my business, and I thought I'd share how I keep on top of things and keep myself organised.
I actually have three diaries altogether! I don't carry them all with me all the time - in fact I normally only ever take one out of the house. but I found that I couldn't keep track of all the different things in just one diary. I have;
- an A4 sized week on two pages diary with vertical columns (mine is a black hardcover one from WHSmith)
- an A5 sized day per page diary (mine is a metallic silver leather soft cover one from Paperchase)
- an A5 sized week on two pages diary (mine is a spiral bound hardcover one with a triangle pattern on from Calendar Club)
first up, the A5 sized week on two pages diary. in this I keep general events - I don't write too much detail in here, usually just events, appointments, meetings, that sort of thing, along with any important deadlines. this is the diary I carry round with me most of the time as it's the smallest and lightest, and it has all the important dates and such in it so I can check it on the go!
next up, the A5 sized day per page diary. I write all the important info, such as birthdays, events, markets, and the sort, at the top next to the date, so I can spot it easily. the rest of the page I use to write my to do lists - I write a full to do list for each day either first thing in the morning, or the evening before, but I will also write things in as and when they come up. so if I am doing a market on a Sunday, I will make sure to write in on the Friday before that I need to pack and organise my bags ready for the market. I always write in pencil in here, so if I don't complete a job on the day it was originally written on, I can rub it out and pencil it in on another day.
I've found having a diary like this means I get less stressed - if I have a really busy week with lots to do, I will sit down and write all the things I need to do on a scrap piece of paper, and then transfer this list into my diary, so I can see which jobs need doing more urgently, or need doing on a certain day.
finally, I use the A4 week on two page diary, which has super handy vertical columns for each day, to keep track of blog posts (what I'm blogging and when), social networking posts, events, deadlines, collection launches, that sort of thing. I write individual things on little pieces of paper, and colour code them using patterned washi tape. this means I can move things around easily as the washi tape unsticks easily, which is particularly handy for blog posts - sometimes I need to move blog posts to a different date for whatever reason, so this means I don't end up with lots of scribbled out bits on every day! it's also handy for planning my year ahead - I can provisionally put in launch dates for new ranges throughout the year, and then easily move them nearer the time if needs be.
I do a rough plan for the month ahead at the start of each new month, and then each Monday morning I take an hour or so to plan my week ahead, dividing up jobs according to how urgent they are, as well as working out any things that need doing for any events coming up (so if I'm launching a new collection I know I need to make an email newsletter, take product photos, work out a promotional offer etc.) it probably sounds like a lot of fuss having three diaries, and writing things down three times, but I have been doing it this way for two years and actually find it easier! it's automatic for me now to write things in all three diaries.
how do you guys stay organised? do you have any top tips for being organised and staying on top of things? obviously my way won't work for everyone as everyone is different and works in different ways, but I hope that it maybe helps some people! I also have a second post coming about how I keep track of ideas, what I want to do and when, keeping on top of social networking, so look out for that!