Life is too complicated not to be orderly

Martha Stewart

Ooo doesn’t this make you feel guilty?! (Unless you are in fact Martha Stewart, or someone who is very very orderly) I am not the most orderly person in the world. It’s something I have to work at – and before you know it there’s a pile on my desk that wasn’t there yesterday and I need to start putting things away in the right places. Currently on my desk there is a large pile of books, another pile of notebooks for different purposes, inhalers, three pots with pens in (which I don’t use…) a toy owl called Stormy, two pritt sticks, three lipsticks (only one of which I use), a sandwich bag full of 1ps and 2ps, a workbook and a LOT of paper, some of which is stapled together, two carabiners and a hair bobble. None of these things live on my desk, but they are there creating chaos where there should be order. I tidy up at least twice a week!

Thankfully, being orderly isn’t just about being tidy. Orderly means to be neat and methodically arranged, so being orderly can be about having systems and processes in your business to help you be more efficient and work smarter. For example, each of my clients have a folder where I put their briefs and any real-life-not-on-the-computer things like sketches and notes so that I know where everything is. Some of them have their own notebooks (the ones I work with a lot.)

I also have a checklist for the order that I do things so that I can be sure not to miss any steps out.

Other ways to be orderly at work:

  • Perfect your to-do list. Make it really neat and methodical. I use two methods to cope with my to do list. I use good old pen and paper with scribbles and annotations, and I also use Trello, which is absolutely fantastic because I can move items from list to list and add extra notes. Both of these work for me in different situations.
  • Use cloud storage. Keeping things in the cloud means you don’t have to keep them in your office. They’re somewhere else. Virtual storage takes up no space whatsoever and saves you a lot of stress when you need to change machines. Backing up to the cloud is also highly recommended. I us Backblaze for this and it’s fantastic. When my previous iMac died, having already had this in place saved me a lot of hassle and panic.
  • Keep your computer files organised into relevant folders so that it’s easy to find things when you need them. Create a system that works for you.
  • Set time aside. If you can schedule in some time for important things like doing accounts or business planning then you’ll be much more organised.
  • Plan. Use a diary, a wall planner or a business planner to help you plan the next twelve months. Then you know where you’re at and won’t have any sudden shocks.

Life really is too complicated not to be orderly. It’s so much easier when you have systems, plans and a tidier worskspace. Even if it is constantly a work in progress.

Your brand also requires some order to keep things simple.

  • Make sure you know where your documents are. This is your Brand Strategy and your Brand Style Guide. These are not for shoving in the back of the drawer, they’re reference material to help you create a strong brand and a consistent aesthetic.
  • Keep the key info somewhere even easier to look up. I have my colour codes saved in my phone notes, on Evernote and written on a piece of paper which lives underneath my computer monitor. Other things you will need to have really accessible are your brand values, personality and ideal customer, your fonts, your goals, your purpose, mission and vision. I have all of these on a card which I keep handy, and in a file on my computer. It’s easy to lose track with your brand, to forger what matters once you get involved in something else – having this nearby means you can refresh your memory and stay on track.
  • Don’t forget your brand voice. Keep a list of words and phrases that you use handy too. Maybe in your email drafts or in Trello or Evernote or whatever you use most.
  • Have your files organised. All those logo files. Illustrations. Icons. Patterns etc.. organise them so they make sense to you. Hopefully your designer will have set them up in a way that works for you – but if not don’t be afraid to organise them YOUR way, because you’re the one using them!
  • Create a “project” in Canva and drop all of your templates in there so they don’t get mixed up with anything else and they’re easy to find. You can create “projects” for different things you have going on like campaigns, events, for different seasons, challenges, programmes, whatever makes sense.
  • Use online tools. I’ve mentioned a few here already, but there are SO MANY available. Whatever helps you feel organised, use that. Create lists on boards in Trello to store your best performing posts to reuse. Write copy in Trello and then pop it on your sales page.
  • Organise your photographs and videos too. If you have professional photographs make sure you know where they are. If you buy stock imagery, label it and file it so you know what it’s for. Is it good for screen or print? Is it landscape or portrait or square?

Life really is too complicated not to be orderly, a bit of time spent now will save you a ton of time later.

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