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Thursday, May 3, 2012

how i stay organized : an indie biz post

hey everybody!
today, i wanted to share how i stay organized & motivated working from home.

see, i dont have any employees. blake is gone from 630am-5pm every day. my friends & family work all day. we have *really* crappy neighbors that are home ALL day each & every day. i get to wear whatever i want [bathrobe, anyone?!]. i have internet + netflix + itunes + tons of great web pages at my finger tips.

all of those things make it very hard to stay motivated. its hard to bounce ideas off people when everybody is working a 'real' job. its hard to concentrate when my neighbors are pounding around & their dog is barking for  h o u r s  at a time. its hard to get everything done when a) i have a million things to do & b) sometimes id rather read a book + take a nap.

in the past 5 months of working on :dianapantz: full-time at home, i have learned a lot about myself & how i work.

below are 5 tips for getting & staying organized when you have a lot to do [and A LOT of distractions]

1) get dressed!
seriously. i find that even when i plan on staying in the apartment all day, throwing on 'real' clothes really makes a difference. usually, i just throw on shorts // yoga pants // sweatshirt [ok, so im not dressed super nice] but brushing my teeth & putting clothes on makes 'going to work' a bit more official.

2) use a calendar
i have a macbook [which i LOVE] & the desktop calendar is great. i know there are fancier calendars, but this one is perfect for me. all of my 'life' business is on there ; volunteering schedule, nanny // dogsitting jobs, appointments, ect. its all right at my fingertips, so i know where i have to be.

3) schedule your posts!
also on my computer, i use the calendar in microsoft word to create a blog schedule each & every month. towards the end of each month, i start planning all of my posts for the next month ; i add in blog features, open days to NOT blog, sponsor spaces & i always keep an extra day or two open, just in case ;)
i know it sounds like a lot of work plan your posts, but having content in mind is the best way to ensure that you arent blogging just to blog.
readers need good, quality content to stay engaged. planning ahead helps me to create recipes, projects & content that people are interested in.

4) make a to-do list
every night before i go to bed, i create a new to-do list for the next day [i really do love making lists!]
i always keep in mind 10 things that i NEED to get done [it can be anything from creating a new product, getting groceries, doing 40 push-ups or mailing packages] whatever is on my 'top 10' to-do NEEDS to get done.
having a specific set of things to get done keeps me focused and doesnt allow me to panic about ALL of the other things i need to do.
once i hit those 10 things, i keep going until i hang up my hat for the day.

5) its okay to mix biz + pleasure
i know that there are other small business owners that disagree with me on this one ; but when i am home, its both my office & my apartment.
so, if there is laundry all over the place, or the kitchen is a mess ; its hard for me to clear my brain and focus on :dianapantz:
throughout the day, i take care of our place & my business.
maybe i will blog for 3 hours, clean our bedroom, run to the post office to mail orders, then come back and take the recycling out.
if my environment is out of order, my business is out of order ; i think its important to have a balance of both.
also, there are definitely days when i work super hard on a big task [the e-book!] & reward myself with baking cupcakes or soaking in the bathtub!

what did i miss?!
what tips do you have for staying organized?


  1. I love this. I also find it hard to concentrate unless things are fairly straighten about the house. I absolutely need lists ... 1) cuz I forget the next morning what I was going to do or thinking about... and 2) cuz I simply adore checking things off. Now that I'm home all day ... and for work at home's kind of a must to get up and dressed or you find its 5 PM and you're in your pjs. To Do: I need to do a post on this myself. Gotta figure out how to use the calendars on Mac...

  2. Great tips!! I love your idea of a daily 10 things to do list. Maybe I should try that! I also am a huge fan of lists. I love making them and crossing things off as I do them. I am the same way with organized/clean spaces. I need my home space to be clean and tidy otherwise it stresses me out, even if I'm not working there. Thanks for the great advice :)

  3. I try to plan my blog weekly; and I also keep a calendar of all the things that I have posted so that I can see if I'm doing a good mix of topics and posting regularly...I also use it to keep track of which posts have been more popular.

    I am total fail on getting dressed on the days that I stay at home though.

  4. I work from home, too, and it's REALLY hard to be productive when the weather is nice. Or when something good is on TV. Or when I want a taco.

    So basically, I lose focus all the time. Getting dressed and using calendars help me a lot, too. I actually keep an elaborate to-do list that's divided up by category and I keep it right on my desk. It's great to see what needs doing both for my business, but also life in general.