By Ayeesha S. Kanji
A continuous challenge most entrepreneurs face is how to stay organized. Working for myself, without a team, and only one person doing everything, I manage to stay organized. I was told recently, “Do you need your computer, you are so organized.” Even when I worked full-time, my best quality was not asking for deadline extensions and staying organized under pressure, change and last-minute requests. My tips on how to stay organized for entrepreneurs are as follows:
1) Creative Open Space: Entrepreneurs create- that’s what our minds do. A good space, which promotes innovation for you to create your ideas, is the space where you can organize your creative juices. What you keep in your open space is your decision. I keep items, which, I use, both professionally and personally.
2) Your To-Do Methodology: Your prioritizing is half of how you stay organized, and it’s not always the planner you use, or the App on your computer, it’s what provokes you to remember the most of meeting your goals. Do you need to write minimally? Do you think visually? Are you linear in your strategy? For writing minimally, use index cards- one side for “to-do” and the reverse for results/action follow-up. For visual planners, use mind-mapping it’s a great tool to see the big picture. If you’re linear, create a to-do list not just on any sticky pad but buy the ones that say, “now,” “for later,” or even use the Urgent/Critical Box methodology to prioritize your lists.
3) Take a Break: When you feel overwhelmed, take a break. It doesn’t mean for five minutes. I have days where I am unable to focus and I pick up my car keys and finish all my errands I have written down. I remember one distinct day I took up to 3-4 hours of doing errands and the next day, I got twice as much done, because I needed that break away from everything. My break time includes driving most of the time- it builds patience!
4) One Thing At a Time: Recent studies have proven that multi-tasking is ineffective and yields no results. Focus on one thing at a time. It could be catching up on emails, making phone calls, clearing up your action folder, planning your social media content- remember the golden rule, one thing at a time. Even if your boyfriend calls you- make him wait, and remind him, you’re worth it!
5) LinkedIn: Sit down and sync your contacts with LinkedIn. It organizes your contacts according to industry, location, last name, and has other options- this is the best tool to organize your contacts- unless you LOVE spreadsheet’s that much!
6) Sleep-Cycle: Make sure you are sleeping enough. On your phone, whether you are in Android, Berry or Apple World, download sleep cycle. It provides peaceful sounds to promote sleep, tracks your sleep rhythms, your deep sleep, your habits that affect and/or promote sleep and most importantly, wakes you up with beautiful sounds of nature.
7) Use Technology: How you manage utilizing the following social media tools is your option- there are many options, maybe too many, but social networking can actually save you money, time and it’s the fun piece in staying organized!
A) Instagram: Organize your photo’s on Instagram- the photo’s which are appealing to you, your company, what you do and your brand.
B) Facebook: Consider your time on Facebook as a social hour, of catching up on friends whom you really don’t always see or, and to be blunt, don’t want to text all the time, or email all the time. Facebook is a great marketing tool, so make it fun, and a part of your social hour, your page, your posts, everything!
C) Twitter: Use twitter to make new contacts- and I say that because that’s how I’ve made contacts, be creative with your content and targeted audience.
D) Pinterest: Instead of buying a pin-board at staples, make this your pin-board. It can be your go-to to reference recipes, things you want to buy, inspirational quotes, and also create boards promoting results of your own goals to share with world. I pin at least once a week, if anything, make use of it to organize yourself instead of buying magazines and visiting multiple websites for things you like- just use Pinterest!
E) LinkedIn: Organize your contacts, network with new contacts, leverage the expertise of other individuals, discuss business topics and become actively engaged in the changing world of business. LinkedIn is used for corporate world, recruiting, fitness professionals, dance professionals, and becoming its own dominant force within the world today. If you are not on this yet- JOIN!
F) Ning:Cultivate your own community and fan-base using Ning. It allows you to create your own social platform for your own community. Keep in mind if you have a target market that focuses very narrowly, and you don’t want to use too much, this is a good option.
G) Penzu: Your own private journal, a place where it’s just you and a piece of paper. Vent, organize, write, whatever you want- it’s yours and private.
H) Meet-Up: This is an alternative to planning events and a simpler approach. You pay a small fee, create your own meet-up group, and it organizes, location details, payment info, tracks your invites, all of it- and online.
I) Jigsaw: Use this to find out who’s who in corporate world and what companies are talking about and working on.
J) Quora: The new way to know what’s popular and trending in discussion with the public eye.
8) Stay Active: Whether you go for a walk, exercise, dance, do yoga, cross-fit, get-up and do physical activity! The only exception to not being active is when your sick. Keep your mind working, your energy going and your circulation in check, it is one of the best techniques to reduce stress!
9) Your Personal Development: Half of your success is not just your money in the bank, your company or how many cars you own. It is your mind and how you take care of yourself as a person. Make time for yourself every day to learn, grow and accept balance, love and gratitude in your life and all that you live for.
10) Have fun: Remember, when you are having fun and love what you do- it is easier to stay organized, it is not that hard, all it takes is a deep breath and determination- which we all have!