This is part two in a two-part series. Click here to read part one.
Calendars, emails and social media
Another mandatory item every organized individual must have is, you guessed it, a calendar. Calendars and day planners have become a trendy item in today’s world, even for those who might not find themselves particularly busy.
Having calendars and planners instills a sense of pride and importance in those who use them, and they can also be personalized to fit your particular level of busyness. Calendars and planners also don’t have to be physical items carried around, especially with the amount of technology available at our fingertips today. There are many calendar and planning apps readily available for smartphones and tablets, and these offer the ability to digitally share appointments, notes, emails and more with co-workers.
Whatever method you choose to utilize, always remember one key element of calendar use: only use one. It can be tempting to use more than one calendar at a time, such as a day planner, desk calendar and an electric one, but this only spells disaster in the long run.
Once you’ve established which type of calendar best suits your lifestyle, also utilize other organizing tactics, such as color coordination, sticky notes and more.
Along with cleaning off both of your desktops comes the task of cleaning out your email inbox. If, like most in the landscaping business, your inbox has become a bottomless pit of newsletter subscriptions, spam and outdated customer inquiries, it’s time to do a bit of cleaning.
Take advantage of folders, flagging, color-coded tabs and email forwarding to make sure must-read and non-important emails go in their designated folders. Take inventory of which newsletters you still read and keep up with, and those that aren’t beneficial can be unsubscribed from.
Another good practice to put into effect deals with responding to emails in a timely manner. While it may not always be possible to respond to emails immediately, the Business Success Blog recommends trying to answer emails as soon as they come in. If emails are left unanswered, it can back up productivity in a number of ways, such as causing unneeded stress, excess inbox clutter, missed opportunities with clients and more.
Find a time in your schedule dedicated just to the process of opening emails. Whether it’s 15 minutes, 30 minutes or even two hours, take this time to give your full attention to only emails. This can help you knock out a good portion of your work without it interfering with other tasks at hand.
Believe it or not, your email inbox isn’t the only area you need to focus on when it comes to tech cleanup. Social media profiles can also become clogged with incoming comments, messages, guest posts and more, and your information could be outdated, depending on the last time it was checked.
If you see that your landscaping business has any social media sites that are unutilized, non-functioning or outdated, go ahead and put them down before they begin to have a negative effect on your company. Also, check and see if you have more than one account on each platform up and running. There’s really no reason to have more than one company account on each platform, especially if you aren’t posting much to them in the first place.
Finance and time management
It is crucial in the business world to have your finances in order, and an excellent way to do so is to utilize software that can crunch the numbers, keep them in order and provide real-time results in minutes.
Invoicing, processing payments, employee payroll, recording company expenses and tracking ongoing/upcoming projects all get much simpler when centralized in one easy-to-access program. And if your company already operates digitally but hasn’t updated its system in a while, there’s a good chance there are a few new improvements that could pay dividends.
It’s also never too early to get a jump on taxes for the following year, so as the year goes, begin filing away important documents you know you’ll need. Consider keeping all important tax-related documents in one drawer or box and steadily adding to the pile as the year progresses. Be sure to keep up with items such as bank statements, receipts for business expenses, online statements indicating what bills you paid, charity receipts and the like.
The final step in the organizational process is to practice effective time management skills. Even if you have the tools in place to start your organizing journey, it will ultimately fall flat if there’s no time management to back it up.
According to the Business Success Blog, there are a few simple steps you can start now that can help greatly improve your ability to manage time.
For starters, take care of any mundane tasks on your commute to work if you’re able to. For those who take public transit or carpools to the office, going through emails on the way can help shave off a bit of time once you get to work. This can also ring true when it comes to doing research on a client or upcoming project you’re working on.
If you don’t use public transportation, simply taking advantage of Bluetooth to return a few calls or schedule meetings can take some time away from your office grind.
It may seem counterproductive but taking breaks away from your desk can also help you focus and get more accomplished. Even if it’s something as simple as taking a short walk around the building or just getting out of the office to get some fresh air, this small window of activity a few times a day can help you regain focus and motivation throughout the day and fight the feeling of monotony.
Taking these short breaks can also help your physical fitness, as your body can become weary and achy from sitting in one position for too long. If you and your indoor co-workers are into fitness trackers, initiating step challenges during the workday can also serve as a healthy reminder to get up and take that much-needed break.