How I keep my life organized
Last week I wrote a post about what I do for a living. A reader asked me to write about how I manage to take care of such a diverse selection of projects and keep myself organized. I figured I would tell you a little bit about how I organize my work – feel free to take some tips to your everyday life if something sounds worth trying! In a way my basic character is quite organized, but I do have another side to me. It’s the one that forgets to eat if in the right flow, zombies around in a pyjama all of her work day and hoards piles of useless papers on her desk. Thus, I don’t think I was born super organized. It’s more about creating organized habits throughout the years.
I think one of the most important things that helps me keep things organized and get things done is focusing on one project at a time. I don’t open up a bunch of documents and projects on my computer and jump from one to the next. I focus on one, finish it and move on to the next. Even though this might sound like a slow way to work, it’s actually faster than working on many things at once. When I write and schedule Facebook posts for clients, I click away all my personal notifications and messages and reply to them later. If I’m writing an article for Oisa, I finish that first and then focus on something else. When I’m in the right writing flow, I’ll put my phone and e-mail away and write. When I’m done, I’ll check my messages and calls. This keeps me motivated when I feel like things are progressing and getting done. I usually do tasks related to the same projects in a row since I’m already in the right mindset for the project at hand.
I might have quite a weird calendar because it doesn’t have any timetables in it. I mark meetings and other scheduled things in my phone, but other than that my calendar consists only of things I need to get done each day. Every morning I can decide the order I’ll do the tasks for that day – as long as I get them all done. Usually mornings are my best writing time but after a restless night things might flow better in the afternoon. Because it really doesn’t matter what time of the day I do certain things, I don’t want to stress myself out too much by creating tight schedules for myself.
Even though many of my projects have deadlines, I try to start working on them as soon as possible. This way I can work through the project without the added stress of a deadline approaching. Stress is probably the biggest killer of creativity for me, so I try to avoid it in any way posssible. I’ve also noticed that as an entrepreneur you get a lot of last minute orders that are easy to take on when you haven’t left all your other projects to the last day or minute. Looking a little bit ahead rewards you more often than you might realize.
The last tip I have for keeping a diverse job in order is dividing bigger tasks to smaller ones and dividing them to different days. For example, writing a four page article is not smart to do from start to finish at once. I might divide it so that on one day I write the first version, another day I write version two and on a third day I proofread it and send it to the client. The key is that there isn’t “write a four page article” on my todo-list for three days. Instead, I write down the smaller tasks, which I can cross over once I finish them. This way I feel like the project is going forward, which motivates me. It’s important to be realistic and prioritize tasks: don’t cram too many things in one day, since it will just make you feel disappointed if you don’t have time to get all of them done. At the end of each day I clear my desk so I can start fresh the next morning.
What type of routines do you have to keep your work or everyday life organized? It’s funny that I think I’m quite organized when it comes to work, but otherwise I can be a real airhead sometimes. It really would need its’ own post to explain though – would you like to hear how I am outside of work?