6 Organization and Productivity Tips to Win 2016

Well, hello there, 2016.

Here we are at the beginning of a fresh new year, and for many people the new year is equated with a fresh start and new energy to pursue your goals.

However, the new year is also associated with failure. The reality is, most people who set goals at the beginning of the year often don’t succeed.

The idea is to set yourself up for success, and not for failure.

6 Organization and Productivity Tips to Win 2016

Today I’m going to share some tips with you to help you be more productive and organized in 2016. Now, I’m not pretending to be a productivity expert, but I have successfully been self-employed for 8 years, and wanted to share some of the things I’ve learned and some of the ways I’ve managed to be successful despite myself!

Here are 6 Organization and Productivity Tips to help you win 2016

Setting goals: Oh, sure, goals are important. But how you set goals is just as important. Often when people set goals, they are lofty and grand. There’s nothing wrong with that, but as soon as you feel overwhelmed by how huge your goal is, you’ll stop working towards it. Big goals need to be broken down into smaller, more manageable steps, of they’ll be too hard to achieve. Do your dreaming and brainstorming in a large space so you can really brainstorm–a large whiteboard works well, or a blank wall you can fill with post-its. Then you can break down those larger goals into smaller, more manageable chunks. For really big tasks that need to be done that make me feel overwhelmed, I dedicate 15 or 20 minutes per day, each day, to doing them. I even set a timer. Chipping away at big goals in this way makes them more manageable, and you’ll be amazed at how much you can get done in just 15 minutes a day.

Accountability: Another really important key to achieving your goals is having someone to be accountable to. I consider myself pretty self-disciplined, but I still often put my own needs and business last. You need to set a deadline and be accountable to to someone outside of yourself. I’ve been a part of accountability groups in the past, and they were really helpful. We would meet on weekly, or bi-weekly basis, and check in, then set goals for our next week(s). Another way to do this is to create an online accountability group on Facebook or Google+.

Create Systems: as a small business, you probably have tasks that you don’t really enjoy, but you have to perform on a regular basis. For me, it’s usually around money: invoicing, entering my expenses into spreadsheets, etc. One way of dealing with those is setting a time every week when you are “booked” to do that task. So, for example, instead of sending and invoice after you complete a project, instead set a time, say, every Friday afternoon, where you sit down and create all the invoices for the week. This works, because it might be something you hate, but once you get into it, it kinda flows, and then it gets done. You may want to build in a little reward for yourself as well, after you’re done.

Track where your time goes: So. Here’s the thing: are you really being productive when you’re on your computer? Or are you fooling around on Facebook? Eeep! It’s not bad to take a break and check in on Facebook. However, if you track where you are spending your time, you might find that you’re spending A LOT of time on there. It’s not about judgement, it’s about knowledge. Once you have the knowledge, you can make decisions. Check out this blog post that lists 20 of the best time-tracking apps.

Write it all down. You can do this in an old-fashioned way, like in a daytimer, notebook or journal, or you can do it with voice memos or an app. Evernote is one of my faves, but you can also check out Wunderlist, or Remember the Milk. Here’s a great list to check out. According to author Daniel Levitin, (The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload) our brain can only store 4 items at a time, but as soon as you write stuff down, and do a brain dump, you’ll feel much less anxiety.

Prioritize. After you’ve written it all down, then you have to prioritize. What are the things that have to get done now, and what can wait? Deadlines will play a big part in this. I also prioritize things based on how long they will take. For example, I have a list of short tasks that can be done in a few minutes if I am, say, about to have a phone meeting with a client.

Additionally, check out this list list of Five Ways to make 2016 Your Most Productive Year Ever from Mike Vardy, the Productivityist.

What are your favourite tips for GSD? Share them in the comments below, and Happy New Year!

Top Posts 2015

It’s fun to do this year-end wrap-up post every year!

I’ve been blogging here at The Art of the Business (now RebeccaColeman.ca) since October, 2008, and in that time, I’ve generated over 900 posts. It’s very likely that in 2016, I’ll publish my 1,000th blog post! Whaaat! And it only took 8 years!

top posts

I must confess, that, on a daily basis, I am often discouraged by my traffic. It’s a weird thing when you can’t see the big picture, but you’re really focused on the present, the here-and-now. Doing this exercise of looking back every year is always an eye-opener. While I feel discouraged in the moment sometimes, when I look back at my year-over-year growth, it’s always quite exciting and impressive.

So thanks–thanks for reading and being there. Thanks for your comments, your questions, your tweets, your emails and your FB posts. Here’s to a hugely successful 2016!

Here’s how my year in blogging broke down:

In 2015, I wrote 89 posts

In 2015, this blog had 54,000 visitors, who generated 82,000 page views

Best day ever: July 8, with this post: How to Increase your Organic Facebook Reach

Top posts: 2015 (as determined by how many hits they had)

10. Is it Better to Post on Peak or Off-Peak Hours on Facebook? I love doing “experiments” on social media. I set out a hypothesis, test it, and then report on the data. This was one of those. Turns out, posting at peak hours is better than posting on off-peak hours. Because, data!

9. How to Get More Likes on Instagram: I was pretty obsessed with Instagram this year. Obsessed with growing my own following and my own likes, as well as becoming a better photographer in general. But Instagram is part art and part science, and this is the science part.

8. How to Schedule Tweets with Inline Images in Hootsuite: I’m a huge fan of Hootsuite, I use it every day. One of my pet peeves about using it is that you couldn’t (until now) schedule posts that had an image in them. Now, images in tweets are really, really important. They increase your engagement rate exponentially. This tutorial shows you how to schedule tweets with inline images using Hootsuite.

7. Top Content Curation Tools: this year I did a series of guest posts for the Constant Contact blog. The series was about Content Curation versus Content Creation, where each was appropriate, and how to do them. You can read the entire series here. This post was an adjunct to that series, where I list my favourite content curation tools.

6. The $5 Facebook Post Boost: We complain a lot about Facebook. Well, I do, anyway! About how our reach is failing, we’re organically reaching less and less people. That’s true. But it’s also true that FB’s ad platform is one of the cheapest and best out there right now. Just $5 can go a really long way on FB, and that’s what this post is all about.

5. Business Advice from The Cupcake Girls: I got invited to go to New Orleans in July and attend the Sage Summit, at which our local Vancouver entrepreneurs, Heather and Lori, otherwise known as The Cupcake Girls, were going to be speaking. This was a preview interview I did with them, and it has some wonderful advice for business owners!

4. The State of Instagram in 2015: More instagram obsession! In 2015, Instagram passed Twitter to become the #2 most popular social network in the world.

3. What’s the Best Phone for Instagram? Yes, yes, Instagram. This was a really fun post to write. It involved a lot of deep research, and playing with different phones. Nice work if you can get it, right?

2. Ideas for Daily Themed Social Media Posts: if you, like me, are responsible for posting to social media on multiple platforms on a daily basis (sometimes for multiple clients), it’s easy to feel a serious lack of inspiration. One way to combat that is to set a theme for every day of the week, and then find content to share in that structure. Try it!

#1. The Best Hashtags for Food Bloggers: this is another Instagram post, and was also a deeply researched one. I did a ton of exploration on Instagram to figure out, which were to top hashtags to use if you are a foodie on Instagram. Try them, they work!

What would you like to see me talk about/break down/get into in 2016? Leave me your comments below, and Happy New Year!

 

Merry Christmas!

Well, what a year it’s been!

christmas card 2015

I’m taking a bit of time off this week to relax and recharge, as well as spend time with my son and eat many, many delicious things. A glass or two of holiday cheer may also be consumed. 😉

I just wanted to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas, and thank you so much for reading this year!

I’ll be back shortly with my annual “Top 10” wrap-up post for 2015. See you soon!