des moines, iowa and beyond

workflow & systems strategist

Coffee Date: Staying Organized


Being an entrepreneur is hard, no matter what you do and especially if you are a solo-preneur. However, there are ways to stay more organized to help you stay focused and efficient. Friends always ask me for tips, so today I’m sharing my top 5 tips.


Get a management system: Friends, this is the BEST thing I have done for myself operationally! Last year when I started booking weddings (plural!) I knew my spreadsheets and docs would not cut it. I was running in circles. Then, I found Planning Pod. I researched a few others, like BaseCamp and Asana at the time, but I was looking for something that was wedding specific, since I was so new. It is so intuitive and keeps both myself and my sweet clients organized.

Within the first day of setting it up, it was saving me time and I felt so much more professional. I can schedule everything out and start building my client’s timeline from day one. Once it’s scheduled, whomever is assigned gets an email and/or text reminder and I can leave it to work FOR me. It also manages my to dos, acts as a message board and image gallery, my clients upload all of their vendor contracts and SO much more. I’m not sure if I’ll be migrating next year, but for an affordable and streamlined option I highly recommend it. Whether it’s Planning Pod, Aisle Planner, 17 Hats or something else, having an all in one system (or close to) is a must have — do it! I promise, you’ll wish you had sooner!

Have duty days: This is a take away from Creative @ Heart this past January. I’m embarrassed to admit that last year, I had to rebuild my entire year for my accountant because I was so awful at updating my budget and tracking expenses. No more for this girl! When it’s slower, I have monthly duty days and when things are busier, like now, it’s on a weekly basis.

What is a duty day, you ask? It’s either a full day or minimum 45 minutes that I dedicate to recording receipts, updating to-dos and meetings for the week ahead and any other housekeeping things. This is NOT client work. It is dedicated time to focus on keeping the business side of things in order. Once I started having these weekly, I have seen an uptick in productivity and I’m able to relax knowing where everything stands all the time. For more tips, head to this post.

Prioritize your to do list: Oh, the never-ending list. As creatives, we will always have a long list and be dreaming up the next great thing. If you stare at your big list, you will always feel overwhelmed. Whether you commit to 3, 5 or 10 priorities a day, set at limit! List them in order of highest importance and time sensitivity. Some days, you’ll have a couple big things to take care of and others might only take five minutes. For me, I list whatever I feel like I can realistically get done using my block scheduling. However, if it’s not in my top three things and has to be pushed to the next day, that’s ok. If I feel like I need to dedicate more time to something, I don’t feel guilty or like I can’t. Some days you’ll knock them all out and other days you won’t. That is ok. Keeping the list shorter allow you to breathe and take things one day at a time.

Break it down: This is one of my favorite tips and tricks to get things done! I actually have a master list of actionable to do’s for my big projects. Especially during busy weeks, I break my to-do’s down to action steps that take no more than 5 minutes. That way, I know I am making progress, but I don’t get overwhelmed or wonder what my next step is. It sounds overwhelming and like a pain to write and schedule out, but I swear it will be 10000% worth it!

Schedule it out: So you’ve done all of this planning and breaking things down, but you don’t write it anywhere that you can use it. Girl, write it down. Whether you use Evernote, only your management system or a planner (like me), be sure to schedule in the time  you have dedicated to getting things done. During my duty days, this is the last thing I do. Once it’s all scheduled into PP and I can look at the whole week on my calendar, I block schedule my days and nights in my Simplified Planner. This also helps me a lot when I am on the go.

Speaking of on the go, next week, I will share a few tips for how I stay organized and always have what I need when I am not in the office. I’m always looking to add tips and tools to my arsenal. What helps you stay organized, Lovelies?

xoxo, Jenn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *