Month: January 2017

Get Organized for Sanity, Function, and Success

Feeling Overwhelmed, Under-Motivated?

Often, people describe feelings of being overwhelmed with too much to do. When it comes to running a home based business, some say they don’t even know where to start. And for others, the chaos can be so totally encompassing that they fail to even recognize that what they are dealing with has anything to do with their daily routine. This could be a lot of people. Ask yourself if you ever:

– Feel angry but don’t know why.

– Find yourself saying negative things to others.

– Feel completely unmotivated to accomplish anything.

– Frequently feel like taking naps during the day.

– Have a hard time getting out of bed.

– Feel like snapping at your kids.

– Let chores pile up.

– Call yourself names, or speak negatively about yourself.

If you feel or do these things, don’t beat yourself up. You may be experiencing these things due to a lack of organization. But, organization is a skill, and in our fast paced world where kids have to be run to practices, jobs are increasingly technical, and there are seemingly infinite distractions that demand attention, strong organizational ability is becoming imperative to good health, mentally and physically.

It’s a really good idea to make changes if you think you may be struggling in this way at all. You can’t allow the fear of change or being “boxed in” stop you from getting organized. No matter what type of personality you have, disorganization will eventually hinder your happiness.

So, let’s examine some ways to get organized!

Some Nitty Gritty Organizational Ideas

Start with your space.

A disorganized space can be mentally draining. But, before you go clean out your refrigerator, begin by creating or re-organizing your personal work space. You need a dedicated space that is only used for work. Out of this space will come all of your other work. It is where you will “get things done”. So, before you decide to reorganize your closets, add on to the house, or schedule your kids chores for the next year, you need to have a place to make those decisions.

Some things to keep in mind about your work space:

– You should have a flat surface for writing, and to set your computer where you can sit up straight. You should not be sitting on a couch, or recliner.

– A place for everything, everything in it’s place. Do not allow any stacks of paper to sit, or any type of clutter.

– The space does not have to be a full room, or even a quarter of a room, but it should be big enough for you to sit there without anyone else being on top of you, and a place where you can get free of distractions, at least for a period of time.

– Make sure you can get a good internet connection in your work space. There are few things more frustrating than trying to watch a training video, or trying to do a Zoom or Skype call with someone and having connection issues.

– Have good lighting. You want to be able to see well, but also, in this age of long distance face-to-face conversation through the internet, you want to be seen well too. Try using your phone camera in selfie mode to see how the lighting looks on you. Are there strange shadows? Is it too dark? Too bright? Spending a little time making good lighting will help you feel more confident and prepared.

– Have a trash can nearby.

– Have a place for paper and supplies.

– Have a printer nearby if possible.

Sync Your Family Calendars.

When my wife and I had separate calendars, I always felt a bit of anxiety. I could never schedule anything without first asking if she already had something on the calendar, and with young children who are involved in various activities, it could be easy to forget an important event simply because we failed to cross reference something. There was also double the time entering events into the calendar, since we both had to make separate entries. On top of all of this, needing to cross reference my wife’s calendar created delays for me when I needed to set an appointment. I couldn’t simply say “yes, I’m free on that date.” I had to actually have a second conversation to confirm my appointments. Having two calendars is just way too cumbersome. But you may be thinking, “we use one calendar and we keep it at home.” While, at one time this may have been the best idea, today, we carry around the ability to have our home calendar in our pockets and everyone in your family can sync up to it to be sure that no one ever misses an event or is delayed in creating a new appointment. As soon as someone creates an event, everyone else in the group has it on their calendar too. I recommend creating a Google account for your whole family, or at least for you and your spouse, and syncing all of your calendars to it. You can easily find a tutorial on the internet for this. Once you do this, you will never will never want to go back. You may love your paper calendar, but, for organization and function, you cannot beat having a synced calendar in your pocket.

Time to Sit Down and Talk.

Now that you have your space, and you have your calendars synced together, it’s time to communicate. You and your spouse need to be on the same page so that one of you, or both of you do not begin to resent the other. Resentment of another can happen too easily when people do not communicate their desires and the reasons for their desires. Don’t pretend like you don’t have your own desires and don’t pretend that you can just bear with anything for an unlimited amount of time. Patience is very important in every relationship, but so is understanding. Be sure that when you do sit down to discuss things, it’s not a complaining session. These conversations need to be about becoming better together, and reaching commonality, so that you both can attain the things in your hearts. When people are truly open, genuine, and considerate of others, it is much easier to find common ground, and to achieve harmony. This will help tremendously with feeling balanced, in order and creating strong goals that you can work on as a team.

Create a Daily Routine.

You have your space, your calendars, and your goals in mind, so you are now prepared to create a routine to make it all work. I used to hate the idea of routine. It sounded boring and monotonous to me. My personality is one that likes adventure, and new experiences. To me, routines were that fastest way to kill my soul. I think many people may feel that way. But what I’ve found is that routine helps me to create the environment where I can accomplish my dreams. Far from choking my creativity, routine clears up the mental clutter of trying to keep up with what I have to do in in my head, and allows me to focus on the task at hand, so that everything is much simpler. This affords me energy and the ability to make room for doing the extraordinary and huge things. It’s such a peaceful feeling knowing that everything that needs done can get done when it’s supposed to, which means if I want time to create an adventure, I can make it happen. Remember that your routine belongs to you, and is there to serve you. You don’t serve the routine. So, if something is more important than another thing, change your routine. Just be sure you don’t change it on a whim because you feel lazy that day. Going by your feelings is the best way to start to feel disorganized again and it will put you right back into a slump.

There are plenty of articles on creating a routine, so I will not go into much about the how except to give a few keys:
– Center your routine around your highest priority goals.
– Be sure that those who must accommodate your routine are a part of the routine creating process and aware of what you’ll be doing and what they will be doing.
– Utilize your synced calendar to help prevent any confusion.

More Tools to Make Life Easy!

– Your Kids

When things get out of order, I often find myself suffering from what some would call “decision fatigue”. When I have to answer too many yes or no questions, or make a call on who is going to do what, and when, I can start to feel exhausted, not to mention irritated. This makes it more difficult just to answer important questions from customers or people on my business team. Not that the questions at home are less important; they are typically simple, yet much more frequent. Having dealt with this for a while, I began to realize that I needed to eliminate some of the pressure I felt to answer the common every day questions. At the same time, I began to recognize that my kids needed more responsibility at home and less reliance on me to answer everything all of the time. Thank God for phone apps. If you have children between the ages of 4 and 18, you need Mothershp, and its companion apps ChoreMonster and Landra. They are all free, supported by in app advertisements, which are actually very well integrated into the app and aren’t really even that annoying. And don’t worry, kids can’t buy anything on their own.7


What this app does is free you from ever having to tell your kids to do chores again. They will want to do their chores. It is completely customizable and allows you to offer your kids any type of incentive you want. Once your child completes a chore, he easily mark it done on his app, and you receive an alert saying it is complete, at which time you can approve it. Once approved, your child receives points, which he can accumulate and later redeem for whatever incentive you wish to offer. It truly is amazing. My kids actually got really excited about doing their chores when we started using these apps. The crazy thing is, I would be giving my kids things throughout any given month anyway. Now, they are just “earning it” and I no longer have to make near the number of decisions. You will love me for telling you about this.

– Your Go To Docs and Videos

If you are trying to move your home based business forward quickly, you must communicate with people, a lot. Quite often, you’ll have to answer questions and most of the time, the questions are very similar to others you e heard before. Having to look up supporting videos or documentation every time that someone asks is very inefficient. You should have a place where you keep video links, answers to questions, and commonly used documents easily accessible. Not to do so is a real time waster. I recommend using an online cloud storage service. There are several good, free services with accompanying apps that you can install on your phone. I would recommend Evernote for its ability to allow you to create in various formats within the app. You can also have shared folders with other people so that you and other people on your business team can access the same information, if you wish to do so.

– Automate Your Expense Tracking

If you are operating a business from home, you need to make sure you take advantage of all of your opportunities to deduct your expenses. Not doing so, is missing out on a major benefit of having a home based business. One of the issues we always would run into was remembering to track our business miles. Mileage can be a major deduction and save you a lot of money at tax time, so we didn’t want to


miss this one. There are now apps available to download on your phone that will automatically track every time you travel, and then ask you to categorize the trip to personal or business when you are done. One such free app is called MileIQ. While I have heard good things about MileIQ, we actually use another app called TaxBot. In addition to automatically tracking the mileage on both of our vehicles, TaxBot also allows us to scan and categorize our business receipts using our phones. We can easily track and show all of our expenses in one easy and convenient app.

An energy and time saving tip I recommend is “batching” your trips by taking a few minutes to categorize┬áthem only once or twice a week, instead of every time you take a trip. Since the apps track every trip you take, you don’t want to have to open the app and categorize every time you run to the store for milk. It’s much less annoying and convenient to handle 30 or 50 trips at once and be done with it. And with Cloud storage, we know that we won’t lose all of our information if our computer hard drive crashes. TaxBot is $9.99 a month.

Bang for Your Buck

Operating a home based business requires planning, skill, time, and effort. Some people feel like unless they are doing everything, it won’t get done right. But there is a common rule of thumb in business that says that if someone else can do something 80% as well as you can do it, then you should delegate it. For the most part, I believe this rule should be followed. One area that people who operate home based businesses should follow this rule is in house cleaning. House cleaning is a very basic skill that most teenagers can handle with relative ease. The hours of time that that can be freed up by having someone else clean for you can be crucial time to grow your business.

Another way you should look at this is cost effectiveness. Let’s say that you currently effectively work your home based business an average of 5 hours a week and you average an income of about $500 a month. There are on average 4.33 weeks in a month, so 5 hours a week times 4.33 weeks a month is 21.65 hours. To find your average dollar per hour income, we would take $500 and divide it by 21.65, which would come out to $23.09 per hour. Now let’s imagine that it takes you 5 hours to clean your house every week. Instead of you cleaning it, you pay someone $12 per hour to clean your house, and instead use that 5 hours to do effective work on your business. Yes, you will be paying someone $60 a week to clean, multiplied x 4.33, which comes out to $259.80 per month on average. However, you will have effectively gained 5 more hours of work time per week at $23.09 per hour. Adding that to the 5 hours you had before, you now have 10 hours of work time for your business. So, $23.09×10=$230.90. $230.90×4.33=$999.79. Now, subtract $259.80 from $999.79 and you net $739.99, which is a monthly increase of $239.99 in the exact same amount of time that you had before, but using that time more wisely! I encourage you to look at this formula and see what areas you can improve.

Instead of you cleaning it, you pay someone to clean your house… and you could increase your profit!

Note that I used the words “effective work”, when talking about the time you spend working on your business. I am referring to Income Producing Activity. Rearranging your customer files, reading books, and scrolling Facebook are not Income Producing Activities. While all of those activities may help in some ways with your business, they are all merely assisting you in getting better at Income Producing Activities. You should do them! But, don’t confuse them with the work of talking to new prospects, following up with old leads, working at an event booth, messaging new people, etc. The only things that are truly Income Producing Activities are things that actually make money.┬áThe other things will eventually help you make more money in the same amount of time, so you need to add those in, but plan to do them after you have completed your top priority; IPA’s!

No one wants to feel anxious, overwhelmed, or unmotivated. Disorganization can be draining, but if you will take the steps to remove the clutter, improve your routines, simplify your processes, make better use of your time, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish!