Being organized is key to running a smooth business and household. We are told this over and over. We see wonderful ideas on Pinterest. There are always segments on GMA and articles in magazines on how to organize your life. This time of year many of us buy new calendars and vow to be more organized this year. We make financial goals, business goals, and in hopes of reducing chaos at home we set personal schedule goals. All of these require planning and organization. The key to a good system is actually maintaining it. This is where I often fail. I have great intentions but get so busy I find it hard to follow my plans.
So why am I writing a post giving tips on organization? lol Good question. I don’t know it all about organization, I actually struggle with it. But I am happy to share things that have helped me this year and some goals I have set. I would love to hear some of your ideas and things that have worked for you as well.
Pixifi: I absolutely love Pixifi! It is the best tool in my toolbox so far. It’s a studio management software. It isn’t just for photographers. Any business that utilizes contracts and invoicing could benefit. I love that I can set up automatic payment due reminders. It also has money management although I don’t utilize that to it’s fullest potential to vouch for it. I’m sure it’s wonderful. Pricing begins at only $24.99/month!
Google Calendar: I have used google calendar for years. So when I started my business this was a no brainer. I also have a planner to write in. I think it’s important to have a back up because the internet could fail me. Truthfully it has. I’ve had things disappear from my calendar and a few times while speaking with a client on the phone google calendar wouldn’t open properly.
Designated spot for printed receipts: This is really important. We need to make sure we are getting credit for every deduction we are entitled to. Running a small business is expensive. I would often lose receipts and still do. I know some programs such as Freshbooks (friends told me about) allow you to take a photo of a receipt. I haven’t used it but it does have a free trial for you to check out. I have a simple file folder wall holder and use the first bin for all of my receipts that need to be input into my tracking system (excel). Once they are in I file them in a filing cabinet. My system isn’t perfect and I’m still working on it.
Gmail folder for online receipts: I use gmail for all of my online ordering accounts. I have a designated ‘2014 receipts’ folder. As soon as a receipt comes in or I place an order, I move the emailed invoice to that folder. This way they are always in one place when I need to refer back.
Goals I have for this year to improve:
- Block off one day a month to complete some bookkeeping tasks. This will include inputting all receipts, printing USPS & Paypal monthly summaries and filing sales tax payment.
- Create the perfect client checklist for me. If you are a photographer you know there are templates everywhere online. I have tried these before and have yet to find a system that works well for me. Pixifi does have a workflow system which is great, but I need something on pen and paper at a glance. Hopefully next year I will have something great to share with you that worked well.
- Set one day a week to blog. I’ve gotten so behind on my blogging…. again. So I have designated Thursday as my blogging day. I will blog for at least 2 hours. I am also trying out this new calendar plugin for wordpress.
I think it’s important to not set too many goals. Determine up to 3 things that are in most need of attention. Try to find the best system that works and by the end of the year they should be part of your normal routine. Then next year you can work on some more goals if still needed.
My personal organization is full of goals more than tips. Truthfully, my personal life is more chaotic than what I want it to be. Having 3 kids and running a small business which is mostly done from a tiny home is not the easiest undertaking. It truly takes good balance and scheduling which I lack. I think they go hand in hand. If I can get a good system for my business and personal life figured out everything will run smoother. It’s not just about a fancy organization center we see on Pinterest. It’s about starting simple and figuring out what works.
One thing I did start doing this year that has helped is putting large magnetic clips on my refrigerator. I have an extremely small home so I find it difficult to be organized. 5 of us and a small business in 1184 square feet! Yikes! One thing that was happening was important papers/bills would get lost in the shuffle or tucked in a drawer to never be seen again. I get the mail after the bus pickup and come home to BUSY. So now, I have these clips and mail gets sorted right away. Anything important that I need to deal with gets clipped to the refrigerator so it’s always right there. Not much has gotten lost since. If you have the space and a designated drawer works for you that’s great. If you can remember to check the drawer. 😉
Goals for this year:
- Assigning tasks for each day of the week. Example: Sunday- clean sheets night, Monday- Family night, Friday – plan meals for the week, etc. Put this weekly list in a highly visible place.
- Give my kids some chores! I have been too lax and haven’t given them responsibilities. I do it all myself. I shouldn’t have to and know it isn’t helping them. We have tried chores in the past and it hasn’t always worked due to our lack of follow through. That will change this year. The girls have started putting away their own laundry this year which has been a big help. It won’t be a huge list, just basic self care tasks.
Well, there you have it. Those are my good intentions to get organized for 2014. We will see how this goes! 🙂 I wish you the best on your organizational goals for the new year.