I’m not sure whether you feel the same way about mess in your office but I definitely needed to create a more balanced environment to work Zen like without too many distractions. With the huge influx of work I’ve had in the last 3 month or so I amassed a never ending amount of information that is clogging up my inbox and my hard drive.
I figured that it would be better to deal with this now before it becomes unmanageable. Therefore I spent the last couple of days starting to become more organized. Admittedly I’m still buried amongst wads of paper, a house full of clutter and what not, but at least my laptop is looking better every day.
The ideal situation would be to have a totally free hard disk with only the minimal amount of information. After reading the Zen To Done ebook by Leo Babauta I know once and for all that this is the way I want to go to keep control of my growing empire. (Sounds good eh :-) )
What I’m using right now to make my life easier day by day:
- I’ve ordered my first Moleskin Notebook from EBay and am anxiously waiting for it to arrive.
- I signed up with FreshBooks to track my time and send client invoices.
- Remember the Milk help me to create my weekly to do lists. I really love the easy to use interface they have. No frills to distract – getting down to business is easy.
- But best of all, I finally started to see the huge advantages Google Docs is giving me as a freelance writer. Instead of clogging up my hard drive, I can upload my articles to Google Docs and they stay there indefinitely.
The idea is to create an easy to follow workflow that lets me stay in touch with tasks that need to be done whilst not creating cyber trash. Further to cleaning up my cyber world, I’m in the process of eliminating all paper clutter that has been accumulating in my office in the last 4 years.
Here is how I intend to use my new tools:
- The Moleskin is to note down any ideas, appointments, contacts, sketches and anything else that comes to mind while I’m offline (which isn’t that often anyway). Once I get to the laptop, the data will be transferred into my contacts, to do list, etc. I plan to set aside a little time every day (perhaps 15 minutes) to do this.
- My Diary is a much needed offline tool that acts as the Mothership to keep an overview of what I have earned so far in the month as well as pending tasks. At the moment it looks a little like NASA Central with all the stuff noted down.
- Remember the Milk gives me control without having scribbles everywhere. I will create weekly to do tasks in which I note down deadlines for clients and tasks I want to do for myself. My own tasks will be limited to 4-6 main ones per week. This way I have much more chances of getting things actually done.
- FreshBooks is great to email invoices to clients who ask for it. It is easy to use and helps me to create invoices on the fly. I’ve already had great feedback from clients too so it does seem to work a treat.
- Google Docs will keep all my written stuff online away from my hard drive and if all goes haywire there is always the back up drive.
I fully believe that with a bit of training I will master the concept of workflow to a tee which will help me to become even more productive. Online apps are the ideal tool for freelancers of all kinds. But despite the ease of application we have to be careful not to fall for the trap of creating too many account logins on every cool site we see – as this would only defeat the purpose of getting organized.
About the author: Monika Mundell is a passionate freelance writer and pro-blogger. Her extensive knowledge about the Internet allows her to work with many clients worldwide, serving their needs for better web content. Her passion to write is reflected in her blog, Freelance Writing. Learn more on her portfolio site.
Image used in this post by Joakim Jardenberg (Jocke66)