Organization makes life so much easier, but maybe it doesn’t come naturally for you. And that’s okay! You’re not alone.
I know some people who are just born knowing systems and have a natural knack for order, for breaking things down, and organizing the pieces.
I also know people who struggle.
Their spaces are always messy. They forget things even when they write them down. They can’t seem to show up on time for anything, and they’re constantly saying “Oh crap, that was today? I totally forgot!”
If you identify more with the second example, don’t worry. Organization is a skill, and skills can be learned.
You can absolutely learn to be organized. It just takes practice, commitment, a good attitude, and a few tricks.
If you don’t have any idea where to start, let’s take a look at different areas of your business that flourishes with organization. Don’t get overwhelmed here, this is just to start categorizing things to make them easy to clear up.
What To Organize in Your Business
What you do – This is a huge part of getting your sh*t together. You’d be shocked how many people go into business without a clear idea of what they actually do!
Get this organized first. Have your elevator pitch down. Know what you do, and everything else will flow a lot easier.
Your services – Is your sales/services page a big mess? Do you offer a bazillion different services? Do you have to consult your website every time someone asks if you offer a certain service, because you aren’t even sure anymore?
Finances – If tax time is a nightmare, you need to get your finances organized. Pro tip: Get an accountant to help you or at the very least an accounting program.
Ideas – You probably know how important it is to record ideas because you’ll never remember them, but do you know where to find those ideas later? Every business owner needs a system for keeping track of ideas.
Tasks – You need to know who is supposed to be doing what you in your business, when things are due, and where all the necessary materials are. Pro tip: You can create templates in your project management software for recurring tasks.
Content – Do you know where all your content is? This means web copy, blog posts, email drafts, and product content. If you are giving the same workshop or webinar a second time, can you quickly out your hands (or cursor) on the sales copy, slides, etc?
Here are some tips for getting organized when you aren’t one of those naturally organized people.
Play to your strengths
I think people really get in trouble when they try to force a system that just doesn’t work for them.
The big secret to good habits (and yes, organization is a habit) is making things as easy as possible.
Work with your natural learning style here. If you’re visual, organize your to-dos in a visual way on a calendar and with colors. Choose a visual organization system like Trello for organizing tasks, and go through a course or the tutorials on the site to learn how to use it.
If you’re verbal, read your to-do lists out loud each day. Use an app like Whatsapp to communicate with your team.
I use Teamwork PM, it just makes sense with the way my brain is wired.
Notice how you naturally like to do things and ask yourself how you can work that into your organization.
Write it all down
If you get overwhelmed or let pieces fall through the cracks, make sure to start each project by writing down EVERYTHING that needs to happen. You can do that with paper and pen, sticky mapping or a project management system, whatever works for you.
Every task, everything you need to schedule, buy, everyone you need to talk to, and anything you need to learn to do. Write it all out.
If you end up with a big list, use colored highlighters or colored pencils to categorize the items. Think of the different parts to your plan (things to learn, things to buy, techy things, things to write, etc.) and mark each of them with a corresponding color.
Then, break everything down into little pieces that you can schedule. Note any steps that need to happen BEFORE you’re able to do those things and schedule them too.
The more steps you can plan, the better your plan will be and the easier you’ll be able to schedule and keep track of tasks. Give it a try!
Get a system
Don’t just try to remember what to do. Get yourself a day planner or better yet, a task organizing system like Trello or Teamwork, then watch their tutorial videos to learn how to use it.
Your system can evolve over time as your needs change and your business grows, but you’ve got to start somewhere. The important part is that your to-dos live somewhere other than your brain. Lately, I’m really into Airtable for organizing content and systems. I love that I can put everything, including images and documents, in one place and that it integrates with so many other programs.
If you’re just starting out though, keep it simple. Pick a program, use it at its most basic level, and slowly try out more features as you get more comfortable.
Of course, if this is just way too much for you, you can always use an actual day planner, bullet journal, flip chart with sticky notes, or notebook to keep track of tasks. Then you can change up your system as you outgrow your old one.
Create SOPs and follow them
If you feel like you have to re-learn a process every time you perform it, you need SOPs!
SOP stands for Standard Operating Procedure, and it’s just a document that outlines a repeatable process, like how to format and send an email to your list or how to onboard a new client.
Those will save you so much time and make sure that the process is done correctly and the same way, every time. That way, your blog posts and emails will all look coherent and your other processes will go smoothly.