There is this idea of the messy writers’ desk that has been present for years. It’s true. There are those who work in what probably drives the neat-freaks extra crazy, but when it comes to the business side of things, organization is crucial.
Here are four steps to help you kick-start your work week:
1. Organize your day
Planning out your day increases productivity. Create a to do list, prioritize it, and stick to it. Remember: consistency always gets the job done. Schedule time to write, create, research and network. Don’t forget to plan recreation time in between, or after you’ve completed your work.
2. Plan your meeting agendas
A pet peeve of mine is wasted time. While I don’t believe time is money, time is precious. Creating an agenda helps you focus on what subjects to discuss with others, ensures nothing is forgotten, and allows you to pace yourself accordingly.
It also keeps the meeting moving, and prevents you from extending your meetings longer than needed. I’ve attended two-hour meetings which could have easily been 90 minutes or less had the person organized exactly what they wanted to address. It may not seem like a monumental amount of time, but 15 minutes here and 30 minutes there adds up to hours.
Another benefit of coming to a meeting with prepared notes is showing others you mean business. You know what your focus is, you have a plan of action, and intend on giving it legs. You show your counterparts you’re ready, and it’ll set the tone before you speak a word.
3. Stop procrastinating
A friend of mine joked, “I keep telling myself I’m going to stop procrasinating, but I keep putting it off.” My guess is, this is the thoughts of many. Disorganization thrives off work undone, and put of for the tomorrow never scheduled on the week’s calendar.
You want to know how to get stuff done? Just do it. Once you develop a do-now attitude, it will become easier to knock things out, and stop putting them off. Consistency builds discipline.
4. Keep your files organized
I’m a tech-savy woman with an old-fashion style. I love the cloud and having all my files being synced in one spot. All my clients have their own folder and each project of theirs has its own individual folder. It helps to ensure all my files–and theirs–are easy to find. It is the worst needing that document, photograph, or contract and having to search everywhere for it. Not only is it a time-killer, but if you need something quickly it hinders your process.
Hard copies never go away though. I own a file cabinet where my most important documents are kept. It isn’t uncommon for me to print a papercopy of a document and store it here too.
My files are color-coded. Green folders are for finances (who doesn’t want their funds in the green?), legal work is kept in blue, editing proofs in yellow. Having a color system automatically cuts down search time, and makes it easier to know where x-paper goes when filing.
If you struggle with being organized or do not know where to begin, pick one thing. Start with legal paperwork, or one client folder. Complete that task then moved on to another. It isn’t about getting everything done at once. Do little-by-little. The important factor is to get it done: well, and organized.