As you all know, a few years ago, I decided to make motherhood and blogging my full-time jobs. After working in both the fashion industry and the healthcare industry, I finally found something that I loved doing, and although at the time, I was making NO money off of blogging, I was happy and I was able to be with Aubrey. As the years passed, I became busier. I added Poppy to the mix, I started to create great relationships with companies that I believed in and already supported, and now started getting paid for sharing with you about things we love, new discoveries, and life in our busy household. But, the problem is, I was struggling with how to get everything done with my new career as a blogger while being a caregiver for my children. I needed some things to change.
Late last year, I started to make changes. I implemented things to make my life way easier and stay organized. Being organized, my business started flourishing and growing and profiting. I still work from home, and still, take care of Poppy full time.
Here are the changes that I made and that you can too if you work from home and need to get organized.
How I Stay Organized And Productive
CREATE A WORKSPACE IN A COMMON AREA
This was our first step to create a work/life balance in our household. Before, my office was set up in our bedroom, the farthest away from the family that I could possibly be. I ended up being either up there missing precious moments with my family or not wanting to leave my family and not getting work done. It was a mess. My husband and I decided to get rid of the kitchen table and just eat in the dining room. Where the kitchen table once stood, he built me a desk the length of the entire wall and big enough for both of us or me and Aubrey to sit at, at the same time. With it being in the kitchen, I can pick away at urgent things while the family is around me and still feel like I am apart of the family. It was the best decision. We now have even created a little play area for Poppy behind me so that she can play close by while I work.
CREATE A SCHEDULE FOR WORK
This is huge. Yes, working from home is great, but you still need to put the hours is to strive. Over the past 6 months, I have treated blogging like a full-time job and created hours to go along with that. I work a 9-4 day Monday to Friday. Some days I’ll ‘take off’, I’ll allow myself family emergency days and sick days, and I will even work through breaks so that I can stop working earlier in the day. The thing you need to remember is that you need to treat it like you are working in an office. With that mindset, you can smash goals, I promise.
GO OLD SCHOOL WITH A DAY PLANNER
Ok, I will be the first to admit, I never plug appointments and reminders into my phone (you’ll read about this on my next point). But, since my mom got me my first day planner in high school, I write EVERYTHING down. There is something about physically printing out the words that allow me to remember better. Maybe it stems from my studying technique of writing my study notes over and over for hours before exams, I’m not sure. There is something calming about a day planner. Maybe because it’s not technology. It is reliable, it can’t crash and let’s be honest, is really pretty. I swear by The Day Designer because the layout is like no other. You are able to schedule each day b the hour and also create a detailed to-do list for that day. It also gives you a month to look at, where I schedule everything first, especially my campaign due dates. Online, they supply you with printable pages as well. I use their Brain Dump List as a checklist on my bulletin board for campaigns coming in so that I know that A. they need to be put on my calendar, and B. I can check them off when they are done. The company literally saves my day.
INVEST IN APPS TO HELP
Ok so, my old school mind is very new to apps. From bookwork to schedules like you last read, I find it hard to trust apps to do a job that I have always done. Recently, I started to research what would work best for small businesses like me. I needed to lift the load a bit more and have some smart apps come in and do some thinking for me. The huge one was with invoicing. I have started using Quickbooks. And, although I have been having growing pains with it, it has helped me secure a business bank account, keeps me in line with the amount I am making, and it is so smart that now that I have my accounts attached to it, it helps pay off invoicing and also helps with expenses. I definitely recommend it.
The second app I have started using is G Suite. Not only has it now taken over my custom website email from go daddy to help with security, but it also allows you to create emails for any workers you may have, and use all of their business apps like google calendar (great for setting up meetings with other people) Google Docs, and many more. The main reason I decided to pay for G-Suite was the ease of connecting my website integrated email to a google calendar. I know I need to start using an online calendar more, and this allows my husband to share my calendar with me, email to put events automatically on my calendar so that I don’t forget, and professionally schedule meetings with brands and companies. It has been a big help recently and definitely a must for anyone who has an email with their website.com in it.
GET DRESSED EACH MORNING LIKE YOU’RE GOING TO AN OFFICE JOB
Ok, so this one is new. I found that I had put motion into everything on this list but my productiveness wasn’t there. This has been working wonders for the past 2 weeks. Each morning as I get the kids ready for the day, before taking Aubrey to preschool, I get myself ready like I would be leaving the house to go to an office job as well. Being dressed in a nice outfit, with makeup and hair done, for some reason makes your mind get stuff done. You feel more professional and you work harder. So get out of your PJs or yoga clothes, put on some real pants, some makeup and a top you haven’t been wearing 24/7 for the past few days and see how much your work life will change.
GET THE JOB DONE BEFORE YOU CLOSE THE SCREEN
THIS IS HUGE! So many people comment on me being organized and quick to get the job done, or email responded to. I have grown up knowing that once you read and close something, you are going to procrastinate until the last minute to finish. My phone has my media kit, my email integrated, and any other documents and apps that I need so that no matter where I am, I can get the job done. One huge part of this is your email inbox. If you have the time to open your email to read it, answer it right then and there. I use emails pre-written in my notes on my phone for this a lot of the time. I also use the speech to text button on my phone keyboard. Your life will change if you make sure you always complete the job at hand before you close the screen for the first time. Your email will be tackled, your to-do list will shrink, and your stress level will disappear.
WORK ON ONE JOB AT A TIME
I bet you have heard of this before. Focusing on one job at a time, allows you to get that job done in a more timely and effective manner so that you can move on to the next instead of working on 4 jobs at a time and never finishing any of them by days end. What I like to do to ensure this is organize my to-do list in my day planner from most important to least, or, most time consuming to quickest. I also organize my day this way with certain times being allowed to certain projects. First thing as I start my day, and the last thing before I end it is email. Yes, in between if an email comes in, I will answer it if I have opened it, but a lot of time when I am writing a blog post or having a phone meeting, that isn’t an option. After emails, I’d work on the items due that day allowing a certain time frame in hours to complete the task. Before you know it, you have completed your whole days work in a shorter time than you anticipated.
LOVE WHAT YOU DO
Ok, I am about to preach. I am a huge dreamer. I am so big in fact, that when I tell my parents any ideas or plans that I have, they don’t engage with me at first because I talk a lot and it may never get anywhere. My dream in high school was fashion, and even though I was a math fan, accepted for accounting to every university I applied to, I said, no, I’m moving to Toronto to work in the fashion industry. I hated it! So, next came health care. I was super interested in it and great at my job, but it wasn’t a passion and I was bored. So, blogging became a fun side project. I could write about all my dreams, plans, what was going on in my life and didn’t care if no one read it, but at least I wasn’t getting the eye rolls anymore. Turns out, the whole blogging thing is something that I LOVE. because I have that passion, it didn’t matter if I made no money at it, I would still want to do it. That is what you need to find. A job that you would still love, even if you worked your butt off and made no money. Be happy just doing something you love, and if you love it and are passionate about it, the money will come 😉
What are your tips for staying organized?