Happy Monday Everyone! There is still so much traffic here that I am going to post here, and to my new website www.thefreelancefix.com. I hope you all continue to read and enjoy!
Organization is an essential part of both your work and your home life. Whether you are a student, a professional or a parent – being organized helps save time and stress. To me, organization is something that is fluid throughout your life. You adapt what organizational practices you use depending on what you are doing. Being organized as a student is very different than being organized for work or as a parent.
Being organized as a freelancer is also different. When you work a 9-5 job, your organization will most likely be planning your days with appointments and projects within that time. You always know when you are working and when you need to get things done. As a freelancer, you juggle the projects you have and don’t necessarily work 9-5. When you score a big project with a deadline, you have to rework your task list and schedule accordingly.
Organization and organizational needs are unique to every individual. Some people are great at memorizing things and don’t have to write things down, some people completely rely on their smartphones for their lists, calendars and appointments and some people (me included) prefer the good ol’ pen and paper method.
As an obsessive-compulsive list-maker and colour-coordinator, I find that I can keep my stress levels down by physically checking things off my many colourful lists. I will either colour coordinate by client, task or amount of time it will take to complete the task. If the day is really packed, then I will highlight in terms of importance incase I have to defer the tasks that I couldn’t get to until the next day.
An application that I have found incredibly useful in keeping my finances organized is Outright. I had tried many applications and websites for tracking income and expenses, but I didn’t like any of them so continued to track my hours on pen and paper. Outright is simple enough but still includes great features. Two weeks ago I stopped recording my hours on paper, which is a huge deal for me! On this program I track my income and expenses and it will email me every week with my income report. They have an option to export your reports to excel, and at the end of each month I print these reports for invoicing. Another great feature of this program is that you can download the app for your smartphone, this means that you can record hours and expenses on the go which can be handy. I would highly suggest checking this website out if you don’t yet have an app or website you use to track your business income and expenses.
I have always been a huge fan of Excel spreadsheets. They are so versatile and have so much potential to keep you on track and organized. I just posted an article to The Freelance Fix Facebook Page (if you don’t LIKE it yet, check it out!) The article went into detail about how you can use excel spreadsheets to plan big projects. It is a really interesting method that I would like to try, I suggest you check it out!
I am a tactile person, so the other thing that I really like is to have my work-related things in organized binders. I print all of my invoices and keep them in a binder that is divided by month. I keep all contracts and pitches I have made to clients in another binder organized alphabetically. I am not saying that this is super efficient – if you keep things on your computer in folders you cut out some time, and the middle man, but it is how I feel I have control and how I feel least stressed and most organized.
Lastly, my planner…
A combination of these methods is what keeps me productive, prevents stress and ultimately, by making me work as efficiently as possible, it opens the door to take on more work. I credit a lot of my continued success to always being organized. On Sunday, set yourself up for the week – for a week of success!