By Rieva Lesonsky, CEO GrowBiz Media & SmallBizDaily.com
When you’re self-employed, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day deadlines of your business — and bad habits. From time to time, you need to take a step back and refresh and revitalize your business. Here are five ways to organize your business to make it more productive — and prosperous.
1. Organize your office
Whether your workspace is a dedicated room in your house, a desk in a co-working space, or just your laptop and whatever table you can grab at the local coffee shop, getting organized can make you more productive and less frazzled. Start by cleaning out your physical space.
Sort and shred documents you no longer need. Scan the rest and store them in the cloud to save space. Dust and vacuum your workspace and clear any clutter. Make sure whatever you need to work on is right at hand, so you don’t waste time looking for things.
2. Organize your cyberspace
Do any necessary system updates, clean up your virtual desktop, get rid of old files, and organize your folders. Go through your mobile devices, get rid of apps you never use, and make sure you have the ones you need. Make sure you have proper cybersecurity practices in place and are backing up your data to the cloud. (When you’re a solopreneur, you’ve got to be your own backup system!)
Now is a good time to change your passwords. Put a reminder on your calendar to change them every six months, or try using a password management system like LastPass that creates and saves passwords automatically.
3. Organize your systems
Do you feel like you’re reinventing the wheel every time you get a new client or customer? Take some time to create checklists, templates, cheat sheets, or whatever tools will help you get a head start on new projects. For example, if you always struggle to write proposals for prospects, create a couple of proposal templates for the most common types of projects you do.
You’ll not only save time, but you’ll make your work more consistent. Are you happy with the apps you’re using? Look for tools that will simplify and streamline your day. For example, a cloud-based payroll solution will save you tons of time inputting numbers and calculating invoices.
4. Organize your time
Does it seem like you have 2.4 hours in your day instead of 24? You’re probably wasting more time than you realize. Use a mobile time tracking app to record what you’re doing for two weeks. At the end of that two weeks, review your records. You’ll have a much clearer idea of where the time is going.
If you’re always getting sidetracked by social media or YouTube videos, download an app like Freedom that can block distracting apps and websites when you need to. Schedule your days to keep you on track. Do you have several different calendars — one for personal appointments and one for business? Merge them into one cloud-based calendar to reduce confusion and missed appointments.
5. Organize your mind
Speaking of appointments, be sure to schedule some time for yourself as well as your business into your calendar. If you commit a daily workout or weekly lunch with your best friend to your calendar, you’re more likely to actually do it — and you’ll go back to work refreshed.
Do you frequently jot down ideas on random pieces of paper and forget where you put them? An app like Evernote can help you keep all those thoughts, ideas, and inspirations in one place. Need to calm your racing mind so you can get to sleep? Download a meditation app like Headspace. It has guided meditations for everything from better sleep to better focus.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.