I'm a super organized person, but there's something about paperwork and similar banalities that just get lost on me.
I've been in business for four years, and I've learned a lot. I've also made a lot of mistakes. One thing I kept letting get super out of hand in my first few years in business was mail, paper work, bookkeeping, phone calls, and all the nitty gritty no one likes doing on the backend of a business.
Luckily, this is no longer an issue for me.
Something I discovered while working for myself is that I'm super into productivity. It's a bit of an obsession of mine. I'm always looking for ways to run my business better, to streamline it, to create systems. To work better. But this whole administrative side of my business I just couldn't seem to wrangle. I'd grab a hold of it, then I would let it lapse for three weeks, or a month, or sometimes even longer. And to be honest, it left me feeling kind of inept and disappointed in myself.
Then last year, I saw a post on Swiss Miss entitled Admin Monday. It was a snippet of a larger blog post by designer Jessica Hische. It was like a light dawned on Marblehead moment! This could be something!
Before I explain how I use Admin Monday's in my business you should know something. Something I forgot to mention.
Like most people I'm not wild over Mondays. They're like the Sunday night of childhood, except it's Monday and it's for adults. And there's some sort of weird existential dread that comes over me. Even though I work for myself. I know. (I'm learning as I get older that this is actually anxiety.) I'm also not a morning person. I never get up before 9:30am unless I absolutely have to, and even then I fight it.
This combo? Not a great beginning to the week.
When I read Jessica's post on email productivity and got to the Administrative Monday bit, I was so into it. First of all, I'm almost always close to inbox zero - so the email aspect I didn't need help with. (Although I do use my email as a to-do list ie: keep outstanding emails that have action items I need to follow up on, like client work, tasks, reminders, etc.) But I think because I am such a nerd about organization, Jessica's idea of grouping everything I don't want to do seemed like a genius plan. It feels like it's almost a gameification of the garbage pile of benign tasks. And I love a good game!
Here's what I concentrate on during my Admin Mondays:
- To-do list: write out everything I want to do for the entire week
- Organize paperwork: file and recycle, dimish that pile!
- Make any phone calls: relating to the above paper work, appointments to be scheduled, business related things
- Personal finances: make sure my budget is balanced
- Bookkeeping: organizing all of my expenses and payments, doing this stuff weekly is one of the best things I can do for myself and my business
- Incoming email: go through any outstanding emails, answer, take care of all tasks
- Outgoing email: reach out to anyone I need to, or follow up with
- Invoicing & overall client organization: make sure this department is nice and tight and everything is current
- Scheduling social media: this frees up so much of my time and allows me to plan out my content in a succinct and cohesive manner
- Calendar: check in and get my head ready for any and all upcoming events
- Clean my desk: nothing like starting the week off with clean slate
This isn't an exhaustive list, but it's pretty much what I focus on every week. If I have a lot of spare time leftover, I might write a blog post. But I find it's important to just focus on the above tasks so I can dedicate all of my energy to the rest of the week to things I really like doing in my business.
Like Jessica states in her blog post, I am pretty adamant about sticking to this routine. Otherwise it won't work.
I've been doing Admin Monday's for about 8 months and it's one of the best things I do for my business today. It not only encourages me to do all of the stuff I don't want to in one day, it frees up a whole bunch of time for me to focus on the rest of my business. It also makes easing into Monday so much easier for me. I actually look forward to them, because I get to dork out and be organized and take care of my business. What's not to love?
It should also be said that there's a psychic relief to it all too and that seems to free up even more space for me to concentrate on why I started this whole thing in the first place: my business!