A lot of makers know that you need to do social media, PR, blogging, craft shows, and so on. You have a lot of stuff you know you can do, but what I find the real trouble is not knowing what to do first and when to do the rest. I think when you get to that point of feeling you need help to be organized, what usually happens is you start feeling exhausted, you’re never getting anything done, and you feel anxious because you can’t sleep when the dishes aren’t done. When I start something I need to make sure it’s complete before I call it a day or move on to the next thing. If there are any incomplete items on my to-do list it really bugs me. You might also feel you’re not getting anywhere with your business. Either way, it’s not a good feeling to feel like your head is very messy.
I believe that we, as human beings, are very clear on how we feel. If we feel upset, angry, or if we’re tired – those feelings are very clear. A lot of the time we’re not clear on why we feel these feelings, though.
Say you had a bad day today and your husband comes home from work or maybe you’re talking to your kids and they say something that makes you feel very irritated and maybe you snap at them. Then you start to think if it’s really something that they said or is it actually that you had to experience a negative customer earlier.
It’s important to get to the core issue of why you feel you need to be more organized. I personally think it’s not organization that’s the problem, but I think it’s just that you need to be more focused. As right brain creative people that we all are, we have this tendency of having a dozen to-do lists and a dozen things we want to do all at once. I can see why this is a problem for us.
There is a ton of ways for us to be more focused and more organized. You can read from tons of blogs online, there’s a lot of books and websites, and you can take a lot of courses on how to organize your life.
My husband and I aren’t complete health nuts. We don’t exercise every day, but we care for our appearances and we want to be healthy. At some point, I was doing some research on some of the different exercises they were offering at a studio I was signed up for. They had a ton of different things, so I was doing some research online to see what were some pros and cons of these different exercises in hopes to figure out what was the best fit for me and my health goals. While I was doing this research I came across an article about dieting. This piece of advice stuck with me to this day because I thought it was just so wise – it said that the best diet you can have is the one you will stick with. I think this rings true with how to be more organized and how to stay more focused.
I know so many ways to be more organized, but do I do all of them? No. Do I want to? No.
I want you to understand what you’re like. Really think about your personality type and be aware of your limits and your own personal capabilities. For example, I like my schedule to be somewhat flexible. I like my timetable to be more organic and not too structured. Part of why I’m self-employed and run my own businesses is so that I can do what I want when I want and not be tied to a fixed schedule. I think if I had a nine to five job I would die a little bit inside and wouldn’t be as happy as I am now. Knowing that’s a part of my character I found what’s best for me. I will say this, what works for me may not work for you. It’s important that you try out what new strategy you’ve found and if it’s too hard to keep up with then stop doing it and try the next thing.
- I have moved from daily to weekly to-do lists. This has changed how I operate on a daily basis and it’s huge for my productivity levels. It can seem like such a small shift, but it makes such a big impact. I first learned this from my mastermind friend Stacey Trock from http://freshstitches.com/. I was at her house one day when she was still living in Minneapolis and she just had her journal wide open sitting on the desk. I took a peak and I was really surprised to see that she didn’t have daily to-do list. Apparently, she had been doing this for most of her life. I thought I wanted to try it so instead of spending a night trying to figure out my to-do list for the next day, every Monday or Sunday I would write a to-do list for the entire week. What I love about this is when you sit down to write that list, you’re much more aligned with that big picture plan. Another thing I love is if I get everything done on Monday, I can take Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday off.A big problem I know people have with daily to-do lists is they over-estimate how much time they have so they end up writing too many things they want to get done that day. Having weekly to-dos keep you feeling positive because you’ve accomplished these things and it helps you stay motivated to move forward. Overall it’s a lot less stress for you and I highly recommend you at least give it a shot.
- Another thing I like to do is I schedule things in my Google calendar. I have a rule: If it’s not scheduled, it’s not going to get done. Even if it was for a task that didn’t have a start and end time I will still give it a time anyway. Personally, I have tried using paper journals and if you know anything about me you’ll know I love collecting hand bound journals because they’re so pretty, but they don’t work for me. I would use them for maybe two months, but then forget to continue keeping it up. What does work for me is using WorkFlowy. It’s a computer app that I can access through my smart phone as well and it’s basically just a to-do app. I use it in conjunction with Google calendar and it’s pretty much all I use.
- A thing I want you to put into practice of doing is let go of being perfect. I think a lot of us are perfectionists and I used to be one as well. I want you to aim for being just good enough, because you need to realize 99% of people who are looking into the work you’re doing won’t even notice.What really taught me to be just good enough was when I started the process of hiring production help for my jewelry business Tiny Hands. It really pushed me out of my comfort zone of my perfectionism. I’m not saying my production assistants don’t do good work for me, in fact they’ve gotten to a point where they make the jewelry look better than if I were to make it.Letting go of being perfect is just another comfort zone. You don’t have to go crazy and let go of everything today, but start with something simple. For example, if you have to do the dishes every day at the end of a meal, consider just leaving it until the next day. You’re going to stretch your comfort zone piece by piece and by doing that you will in a while see you’ve come very far.
- Know what you need to focus on. I think this is a big part of why so many of us feel disorganized. We have a long list of two dozen things we need to do for our business and we don’t know which one to focus on. This is a perk of working with me as a client – what I’ve helped a lot of my students and clients do is look at their to-do lists and trim them down to help them only focus on the task that requires the least amount of work, but can make the biggest impact in their business.
If you’ve got any of you own tips and strategies for how to be more organized and focused, I would love for you to share them. Leave a comment below.
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