Working remotely, or just working in a largely online world, can present unique advantages as well as difficulties. JSL Marketing, with our partially remote team (we’re talking to you, Grand Rapids), has been honing our skills in online organization for years now.
Though there are many ways to stay organized online, we have a few tried and true tips for anyone looking for a little more structure, a lot more efficiency, and squeezing as many extra minutes out of their workday as possible.
Productivity, efficiency, and a healthy work-life balance can all come together when you organize.
The online world is both a wonder and a horror, but we think we can make it a little more Disney and a lot less Game of Thrones with our favorite 5 tips for staying organized and on top of your deadlines, emails, projects, and more (even when you’re swamped).
Keep Your Hours Consistent (Yes, We Mean Schedule)
Working from home comes with great power and also great responsibility. This means you can work whenever you want, wherever you want, for as long as you want – as long as you meet your hours and your project deadlines, right?
But actually, keeping your hours consistent, regardless of what that consistency looks like for you, is a great way to stay organized and get ‘in the zone’ when you work.
For example, you don’t have to work from 9-5 every day to keep your hours consistent. But you should have a set schedule in which the hours do not vary greatly.
One of our remote team members works from 9-12, then takes a break for errands, gym, beach, etc., and works again from 3-8 every day. That’s 8 hours a day, but with a three-hour break in between to do other ‘life things’ and enjoy the nice afternoon sun.
Another team member works 9-3 Monday through Saturday and only takes Sundays off. Still another works ‘regular hours’ Monday through Thursday, takes off early on Fridays and then makes up those hours Sunday nights.
See, there is no wrong way – as long as your hours stay consistent from week to week.
What’s Your Ritual?
Just like having a schedule and regular hours can greatly help you stay organized online, having a ritual to start (and end) your workday can help your mind stay on task and get into ‘work mode’.
Maybe you need a cup of coffee sitting next to you before you power up your laptop, or maybe you take your dog out before you begin your workday. Whatever your ritual is, it is important and should be consistent.
Work rituals can help you ‘unplug’ at the end of your work day too. Because sometimes working remotely means you are always on or always accessible. That isn’t a good work-life balance though.
Instead of falling into the ‘always working’ trap, have an ending ritual as well. Maybe a cocktail hour or a walk, maybe you merely put your laptop away or turn on your away message for your work email.
Just like your hours, keep your rituals consistent too, as it can make all the differences in your focus and readiness for both your work and your after-hours life.
Have Designated ‘Email Times’
This has to do with ‘split-tasking’, more commonly called multi-tasking. And though many people are good at juggling multiple things at once, studies have shown us that our minds don’t actually focus on multiple things at one time but switch their focus very quickly between all of our spinning plates.
What does this neuropsych lesson have to do with email? A lot, actually.
When you are checking your email 50 times a day, you are pulling your focus away from whatever project you should be working on, this isn’t efficient or organized, as at some point you’ll probably be halfway through an email and then forget it, and switch to something else.
Instead, work at having 2-4 ‘email times’ throughout your day, and only check, reply, and send emails during those windows. These windows can be at the end of a scheduled break, or anytime really, as long as they are (you guessed it) consistent.
Hm, it’s almost like the best way to stay organized online is to stay consistent. Who knew?
Basecamp is a godsend, and JSL Marketing might very well crumble without it. This is because we use Basecamp to communicate, to know our deadlines, create strategies, work boards, think tanks, and more.
Basecamp is essentially a platform designed with organization in mind for the remote worker or online company. It keeps everyone on the same page regardless of their location, the business size, or the individual jobs.
We cannot say enough good things about Basecamp and the user-friendly, easy organization it provides.
But don’t take our word for it, check it out yourself.
Have Team Meetings (Often)
Even if you are remote, even if you are online, have team meetings!
The JSL Marketing team meets every Monday (everyone) as well as Tuesdays and Thursdays in our Dallas office (just the Texas team) to keep everyone on the same page, keep our questions answered, and keep the JSL wagon rolling along smoothly.
Additionally, if we have a new client or project and we want to get everyone’s opinions or explain something new, then we have another meeting.
Though emails, texts, and even calls are helpful, full meetings with the whole team are the best form of communication. You can use Facetime, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, screen sharing, video, or just audio – it all can help.
Overcommunication isn’t bad when working in an online world, in fact, overcommunication can be a huge asset in keeping your business seamless and your team members happy and knowledgeable, as well as your clients.
JSL Would Love to (Over) Communicate with You
We truly love what we do, and we love finding new and better ways to improve what we do all the time.
If working with an overly-organized, overcommunicating, consistent, and efficient SEO and Web Design company sounds like the perfect change from your previous company, then we would love to get in touch.