I'm so excited to welcome Miranda Nahmias to the blog today. She is an amazing entrepreneur and virtual assistant helping us learn to manage our time more wisely. We could all use that, yeah? Give her a warm welcome, friends and if you feel inclined, visit her blog too!
When you run your own blog or business, one of the hardest things to do is stay organized and on top of everything. There are so many things to take care of, and it’s just you running the show! Figuring out how to remember everything, stay on top of deadlines, and get all of the work done can be super hard to learn.
Even years down the road, some business owners never really manage to stay ahead. I know that some of my more overwhelmed clients feel like they are constantly trying to “catch up” and never feel relaxed or organized when it comes to their business.
For some reason, I seem to have a fairly organizational-friendly brain, and coming up with systems, structures, and processes for my own business, as well as those of my clients, comes naturally to me!
But I realize that this is a huge problem for a lot of people, especially for creatives! Us right-brainers may have tons of great ideas and amazing personalities, but when it comes to learning how to remember everything and hold yourself accountable...well, that’s not always our strong suit, let’s admit it!
In hopes of helping out a bit, I’ve thought about how I was able to successfully organize my business, and here’s a few pieces of advice that I have about achieving this impossible task.
How To Remember Everything and Stay On Top of Deadlines
Step 1: Choose a project management tool
Even if you are just getting started, it’s really important to set up a program like this to help you manage your day-to-day tasks. Use it multiple times a day and make it a habit! I keep Asana open 24/7 in my Chrome browser, and am constantly checking it to make sure that I’m staying on track.
An easy way to start off slow is to simply use it as a way to keep track of things you need to do daily/weekly and are due on a specific date. Those tasks, for example, could be things like:
- scheduling Facebook posts
- sending out a newsletter
- paying a bill
- writing a blog post
Once you get more familiar with the program, you can start to add in other types of systems, like assigning tasks to team members or planning out your client on-boarding process.
Step 2: Write everything down
In my experience, when things slip through the cracks, it’s usually because I didn’t write it down. I swear, I’d forget my own head if it wasn’t attached!
I’m constantly realizing, or being notified, that I need to do a million different little things each week. I try really hard to consistently make a record of those little tasks in Asana. Even if it seems crazy to write it down, I’m bound to forget all about it two seconds later if I don’t.
Whether it’s sending your headshot to so-and-so, replying to an email later that day, or remembering to double-check if a refund was correctly applied….write it down!
If you are constantly apologizing for forgetting tiny details or not submitting something on time (this used to be me all the time!), consider implementing the “write it all down” system. Not only is remembering everything it a better way to live, it also makes you look just that much more professional!
Wouldn’t it be nice if you always came through? Write it down.
Step 3: Cheat a little
This may seem like a silly little idea, but it seriously works! This tactic is something that I swear by when it comes to staying on top of deadlines. So if you’re not taking advantage of it, try it out!
When you’re adding in a new task to Asana, and it’s something that’s fairly important, lie about the date it needs to be done by! Input the due date as 1-3 days earlier than the actual date — this will make sure that you absolutely get it done on time.
I don’t know about you, but for me there are definitely times when, at the end of the day, it’s time to stop working and I need to push a few things over to the next morning. Leaving that buffer space of 1-2 days allows for this to still (inevitably) happen while also ultimately meeting your deadline!
Step 4: Conquer the Most Important Tasks First
Once you have steps 1-3 down and you’re (hopefully) starting to learn how to remember everything and stay on top of most deadlines, it’s time to start organizing your tasks by importance.
If you’re like me, you often have tasks for clients or customers that you need to get done much sooner than other tasks, like random stuff for your own business.
Since you’re probably a very busy lady, I’m sure that those super-important tasks occasionally get missed when you have dozens of other to-dos to complete in your project management system every day.
The two not-very-fancy strategies that I use to avoid this are:
- The highlight method
- The all-caps method
The Highlight Method:
In Asana, I have two separate projects set up for tasks: Client Tasks and Business Tasks. Although occasionally business tasks are pretty important, the client tasks are almost always the things that I need to do before anything else gets done.
Separating the tasks into the two projects allows me to highlight them with different colors underneath their labels in Asana.
Here’s what that looks like in action:
The All-Caps Method:
After I have my tasks separated into those two groups, even that sometimes does not allow me to successfully complete tasks in the best possible order. So, I will go through and change the titles of the most important items to be written in all-caps.
This allows me to, at a glance, see exactly which tasks I need to complete and in which order I should complete them in.
Now, none of these 4 tips may have sounded like rocket science to you, but making just a few tiny little changes in how you organize your business can seriously make a big difference.
Especially if you are just starting out, it’s really important to begin implementing these types of organizational systems into your business right away. When it comes to business organization, the sooner the better, I think! If business organization is something that you struggle with, I urge you to check out this awesome new free email course: Get Started Organizing Your Biz!