Running your own business is a never-ending mountain of things to do. It’s inspiring, rewarding and challenging. But at the end of the day, you’re running a company by yourself. That means you’re wearing the hat of leader, marketer, salesperson, accountant, content creator, communicator – as well as all the different roles you take on for your clients.
I’m a big proponent of self-care. That means creating systems that make sure you stay happy and healthy while you pursue that one thing that gives you joy and excitement every single day.
One of the most important and tangible ways of making that happen is by finding a way to organise yourself and your days, and then sticking to the system.
My husband says I’m the most organised person in the world. It’s definitely an exaggeration, but I can’t deny that I’m happier, calmer and more focused when things are in order around me. Still, I’m always tailoring my systems. Making them work better and to my own advantage, so that I can have that perfect workday, instead of feeling stressed from the minute I open my eyes in the morning till the minute I close them at night.
There are three main umbrella ways I stay organised with Lindentree, and I’m going to go through them here.
Remember, though, that we’re all different. We have different ideals of our workday, and different ways to find peace and comfort. To be organised, you need to reflect on what *you* need in order to feel like you can do your work and grow your business according to your goals and dreams.
The good news is, as a solopreneur, how you structure your professional life and your workday is entirely up to you.
1: Physical and concrete organisation (or creating a productive space)
I’ve lost count of my notebooks, but I always have at least two at hand for writing down ideas or thoughts. There’s something very mindful about putting pen to paper (that’s the writer in me, I guess), and giving my idea the time it needs to manifest. My notebooks are one of my many organisational spaces, and I use them on everything from scheduling to comprehensive ideating.
My work desk is the only space in my house that is entirely my own; I don’t have a dedicated office. So I keep my desk tidy and clean. I have a small bookshelf on it, where I keep the books I use most often. I have plants I like in front of me, and quotes that inspire me to my left. Keeping my desk tidy and organised helps me stay focused as I sit down to work at it.
Then there are the digital spaces I use to stay organised. My calendar is my most important one. It’s colour-coded, ranging from client work and client calls, to business development, social calls and personal errands. I make sure there’s a bit of space (time, that is), between the end of one task and the start of the next. I can easily move things around in it, but having my day clearly chunked up makes it easy to focus without stressing about the millions of other things I could or should be doing.
Business management tools have also become important for me. They’re spaces where I can place my ideas and work tasks and strategies and plans, and so get them out of my head. Which is probably what staying organised is actually about: Emptying your mind enough for you to be able to focus on whatever it is you need to focus on at any given moment.
2: Boundaries (or knowing when to say no)
Boundaries are my single-most important organisational tool. When you’re running your own business, it’s easy to get caught up in everything you’d like to do. You want to say yes to that social call, or help that client on overtime, or spend that extra two hours on strategy.
Here’s the thing: There’ll never be enough time in the day to do everything you’d like to do.
It’s the joint beauty and curse of being a solopreneur. Because you’re passionate about what you do (which is amazing!), you’re always going to want to do more than time will allow. That’s where boundaries come in handy. Not just for other people, but for yourself, too.
And remember: Boundaries only work when you say them out loud (if they’re for another person), or find some other way of manifesting them (for yourself). Let’s say you want to end your workday at 3 PM, because that’s when family time starts – or you want to start it at 10 AM, because the mornings are your alone time.
Whatever it is for you, create those boundaries. Make them real. Add them to your calendar. Say no to meetings during those times. Remind yourself of them when you forget, and write a list of why you created them in the first place.
3: Work delegation (or letting go of control)
Oh, the terror of letting someone else help with the business. It’s your baby, right? It’s your bread on the table, your mortgage paid, your next savings goal sorted.
As solopreneurs we carry an incredible amount of financial and personal responsibility. The connection between us and the thing we’re trying to create with our business is incredibly strong. Which is why it’s so difficult to let go and delegate work tasks to other people.
You can’t be amazing at every aspect of your business.
None of us are. Sometimes budget will limit what we can delegate away, sure. But remember that delegation is a long-term investment, too. What could you do with the time you now spend stressing over accounting or worrying about your next marketing step? How much more productive could you be? How much more would your business grow, with you at the helm, and not running panickedly all over the ship?
To stay organised, I have to have help. It’s difficult, and finding the right match for different work tasks is even more challenging. But once you find that person, the relief is immense. It opens up so much more space, both time-wise and mind-wise, where you can focus on the things you’re good at, and let someone else focus on what they’re good at.
Finally, I’m just going to remind you of one last thing: You’re doing your best.
Staying organised will look different to you than it does to me, so don’t feel as if you should be implementing everything I’ve mentioned here. You need to find the things that work for you.
Once you do, your business will begin to thrive on a whole different level – and you’ll feel so much more aligned, confident, and calm at the helm.