I’m not a naturally organized person, but I can’t work in chaos. I have to be diligent to keep some kind of structure in my personal life. Now that I’m working from home, I have double the need to get organized. It’s still in the development stage, but I think I have come up with an effective system that works for me– for now.
To-Do or To-Do: Which List is Which?
I have a habit of writing personal and work related to-do and idea lists in the same book. This, of course, was proving to be a source of frustration and a time-stealer. So my first step was to buy two steno pads that have different coloured paper. This stops me from accidently writing work related tasks in the personal list and vice versa. (Did I mention I can be a little scattered?)
This worked well, but still made it difficult to keep track of daily and weekly tasks. My next step was a day planner. I transfer tasks from both personal and work lists to my day timer in the form of goals to accomplish on a daily basis. Perfect.
Quick Reference Solutions
I also put ideas for articles and business leads in the work steno pad. Again, this is fine, but for quick reference, it doesn’t work well. So, index cards, divided into three categories—article ideas, queries sent, and magazine guidelines and contact info—go into a little index box. Info at my fingertips: Great!
I am working on a copywriting course right now. Like my mixed up lists, I had the habit of writing course notes in the same notebook I was using for writing article drafts. Again, it made for confusion when looking up a draft or an important point from the course. Now, I have two separate notepads that are different sizes and have different colored covers. Ahh, much better.
The last dilemma?—keeping works in progress organized on my laptop. Again, I had personal files, downloads, etc all mixed up with my articles. The answer?—Files within files! Pretty simple, but I’ve had to teach myself how to navigate around Microsoft word. I simply made a file titled Business articles, copy ads, etc. Then I made separate files in this file for the numerous categories my articles fall into. For example: Nature Based; Country Living; Human Interest, Blogs, etc. Brilliant! (I know, you already knew this…Did I also mention I never wanted to be a secretary?)
The Pay Off
It might sound like a lot of work, and it took a few hours to get it fully organized, but it’s freeing up time and helping me reach my goals. And, that’s what being organized is all about isn’t it?—finding a system that serves you and your goals.