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Getting Organized7:57 with Paul Boag
Paul provides four steps for organizing yourself as a freelancer: dedicating time, sorting email, getting information out of your head, and delegating tasks.
So your final big productivity killer— 0:00 the final thing that you need to sort 0:02 if you're going to run yourself a good lifestyle business 0:05 so you can sit back and enjoy the world 0:07 is you need to deal with being unorganized. 0:10 Are you organized? 0:13 Do you have a system? 0:15 How do you organize yourself? 0:17 There are probably four steps 0:19 to successfully organizing yourself as a freelancer. 0:21 Those are setting aside dedicated time 0:25 to organizing things rather than just building websites. 0:27 Sorting email is a big one. 0:32 Get it out of your head, 0:34 and then delegate it. 0:36 Those are your four options, 0:38 and we're going to cover each of those in this video. 0:40 So let's begin by dedicating a block of time to being organized. 0:43 What I recommend is at the beginning and the end of everyday 0:49 you sit down and review what you're doing. 0:53 At the beginning of the day you review 0:56 what you're going to be doing that day— 0:58 what you've got laid out for you. 1:00 At the end of the day I recommend making sure 1:02 you've covered everything through the day 1:04 and then scheduling at least an idea of what you're going to doing the next day. 1:06 It can, if you're feeling really busy, feel like a waste of time, 1:11 but boy it's not. 1:14 This is by far the most valuable thing you will do. 1:16 Another thing you might want to do 1:19 is set aside a little bit of time each week 1:21 to do a more comprehensive view of everything that's going on. 1:24 Set aside blocks of time for emails and phone calls, 1:29 as I suggested earlier. 1:32 And ring fence large blocks of time for actual production, 1:34 especially coding. 1:38 The worst thing in the world is being interrupted 1:40 while you're coding something. 1:42 You lose your train of thought, and you can waste 1:44 a lot of time trying to get back in the zone again. 1:46 When it comes to designing, 1:49 I would encourage you to allow time to think about your designs. 1:51 Design is a funny thing. 1:55 You can't sit down and just churn out a design. 1:57 Often it needs to kind of go around in your head for a while, 2:00 so make sure there's enough elapsed time 2:04 just to think about your design 2:06 before you actually crank open Photoshop. 2:08 I think another really important thing to do 2:12 when it comes to running your own business 2:15 is to work around your own natural body clock. 2:17 We're all different—who says we should work 9 to 5 every day? 2:20 If you are your own boss, you can work whatever hours you like, can't you? 2:24 Some of us, like myself, are night owls. 2:28 And so start later in the day and work into the evening a little bit. 2:30 Whatever works best for you. 2:35 Make sure that you're doing dedicated production work 2:37 when you're at your most productive. 2:40 Another thing that you really must do is sort email. 2:44 So many people's emails is just chaotic, 2:47 but it's such an important tool in our business lives, 2:51 and we do need to take control of it. 2:54 If you're one of these people that have got 2:57 thousands of emails siting in your inbox, 2:59 I recommend right now you declare email bankruptcy. 3:01 You email out everybody in your inbox and say, 3:05 "Look, I'm really sorry, but I'm starting again with my email. 3:08 I'm going to file everything. 3:12 If there is something that you need from me that I haven't responded to, 3:14 please send me a new email." 3:17 You need to get control of your inbox 3:19 because ultimately your inbox and your email 3:22 should be a place where tasks come in, 3:24 you process them, 3:26 and then they go out of your inbox. 3:28 This is a thing called Inbox Zero. 3:31 If you haven't heard about it, check it out 3:33 because it will make such a difference 3:35 in how efficient you are in managing email. 3:37 Also with email, forget folders. 3:41 I see so many people that get carried away 3:43 with organizing their emails into hundreds of folders 3:46 related to every client and project and all of the rest of it. 3:49 Search is so powerful these days that you really don't need to be doing that. 3:53 Make better use of filters and rules, 3:57 and use something like Gmail. 3:59 That can be an incredibly great way of getting rid of 4:01 so much stuff that comes into your inbox 4:04 that you don't need to be dealing with immediately. 4:08 There are some great tools for using email these days. 4:11 If you haven't checked out Mailbox for the iPhone, 4:14 check that out. 4:16 Great tool for using email as a task list basically. 4:18 There are also services like Unroll.Me, 4:22 which allows you to bundle up all those news letters 4:25 and other things that you read 4:28 and address them once a day 4:30 rather than pinging every time something comes into your email client. 4:32 Another little tip if you want to reduce 4:37 the amount of email you receive is to send less. 4:39 The less email you send out, the less you will get back. 4:43 Reduce the number of emails, 4:47 but also reduce the length of your emails. 4:49 If you write short, snappy emails that get to the point, 4:52 you'll find that over time people start replying in the same way, 4:55 and you can save yourself a lot of energy and effort there. 4:59 And then, as I've already said, 5:03 only check email occasionally. 5:05 To be honest, I'm at the point now 5:08 where I check it first thing in the morning, 5:10 lunchtime, and last thing at night. 5:12 And that should be enough if you've got the right systems in place. 5:14 Another important aspect of being organized 5:19 is to get all of those tasks that you have to do 5:21 out of your head. 5:24 Your memory is rubbish, it's not the place to hold all of this information. 5:26 You will forget stuff, and you will annoy clients. 5:32 You need something more concrete than holding it in your head. 5:35 Basically our memories just don't work particularly well, 5:39 and also we put stress on ourselves 5:43 if we don't have a nice organized place to hold all the tasks. 5:45 We try and hold it in our heads. 5:50 We try and—but we end up going over and over and over it, 5:52 and that makes us stressed. 5:55 Have a system that you trust. 5:57 And I suggest a system that's outside of email. 5:59 Email is not brilliantly designed for being a task manager. 6:03 Use lists. 6:06 I'm obsessed by lists. 6:08 In fact, I am incredibly sad and nerdy when it comes to lists, 6:10 but they work incredibly well. 6:14 Personally I use a system called Getting Things Done, 6:16 which is a system created by a guy called David Allen. 6:18 But there are lots of other systems out there. 6:22 The key is to create good lists. 6:24 Finally we turn our attention to delegating. 6:26 I'm a huge fan of delegating. 6:30 Why do something yourself when you can get 6:32 someone else to do it is my attitude. 6:34 Maybe that's a bit extreme, 6:36 but there are a lot of situations where we can 6:38 delegate out the work that we're doing. 6:40 What you need to do is establish what the right criteria are. 6:43 I would suggest that you need to be 6:47 spending your time doing what you're good at. 6:49 If you're not good at something, get someone else 6:52 who is good at it to do it instead. 6:54 They'll do it a lot quicker, 6:56 and you can charge out the time you would have spent doing that 6:58 on things that you actually enjoy. 7:01 And that's the second thing, do what you enjoy. 7:03 What's the point of being your own boss 7:06 if you're going to spend loads of time doing jobs you absolutely hate? 7:08 It makes no sense. 7:11 What you need to be asking yourself is 7:13 where is your time most profitably spent? 7:15 And you need to compare that to what you're actually doing. 7:19 If you find that there are jobs that you're doing 7:23 that are not the most profitable, not the most enjoyable, 7:26 then delegate them. 7:30 Great examples of that are bookkeeping, 7:32 office admin, arranging meetings, invoicing. 7:34 All this kind of stuff you really shouldn't be doing. 7:37 The truth is that if you get yourself organized, 7:40 if you delegate stuff, if you remove distractions, 7:45 you're going to get so much more done, 7:48 and you will end up working less hours, 7:50 making more money, and be a lot happier at the end of it. 7:52
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