DISCLAIMER: These aren't really 'hacks', as such; they are tried and tested methods, which no, I did not invent—but do read on!
Keep a clear space
I maintain a minimal desk. In fact, most of my personal space lacks a hoarder-esque edge. Where I work you'll see a MacBook, an aloe vera plant (named 'Vera'), a scented candle, my New York Times planner, an elephant procured in India—yes, I'm obviously referring to a wooden statuette. Clutter on your desk may actually create unnecessary clutter in the mind, keeping your focus scattered and leaving focus as a distant memory.
Do you have piles of unopened letters staring you in the face when you’re trying to sort out a sales report? Are there half written documents begging to be dealt with while you’re working on a social media content calendar? Well, in the immortal words of that champion of trash tv, Jeremy Kyle: "SORT YOUR LIFE OUT", or at the very least, sort your office out. Even if you’re not a tidy person by nature—you filthy animal—making a conscious effort to visual organization can make a difference. And think: what if someone rocks up for a meeting and all they see is a big mess. It doesn’t bode well for booking clients now, does it?
Lists. Lists. Lists
Nothing radical or groundbreaking here, but don’t underestimate the power of a handwritten list. Remember a time when folks lacked the capacity to keep their notes in a folder on their iPhone's home screen? Of course, you don't, fellow entitled millennial (#MeToo)!
Get yourself into a vintage mood and keep a notebook to jot down critical tasks. There is something incredibly satisfying about crossing off tasks as you get them locked down—different from digital lists and just deleting them. Richard Branson is just one example of a business heavyweight who uses lists for everything. I use my planner to map out vital tasks, weekly, listed based on priority, and then daily steps to make sure that I get shit done. At the end of the week, I see what I have scratched off, something akin to the feeling you get when you rip off a bandage or bask in the afterglow of multiple orgasms (yes, us men have them, too).
I used to be the worst person in the entire world for constantly checking my emails. When I worked as an editor, I received A LOT of emails. I’d wake up and check them; I’d eat breakfast and check them; I’d eat lunch and check them; I’d be trying to sleep and...well, you get the idea! So, one day I stopped.
Frequent email checking is not beneficial. Do not check your emails throughout the day. Map out a time during the day, once early in the morning but never first thing in the morning. Have a look once in the afternoon, to sort through digital correspondence from clients or collaborators. Allocate time for this and don’t break away from it. Ensure you answer urgent matter first and don’t spend time on the more trivial emails, spam, or email marketing that, too often, clogs our inboxes. And did you know, you can colour code your emails? Not that I’m ever melodramatic, but this may change your entire life.
Plan Social Media
This is probably my favourite tip on the list. If you use social media for marketing your brand, the actual posting and keeping in touch with your followers can take up heaps of time. Check out Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule your posts to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. I take an hour on Sunday evening or even bright and early on Monday morning and schedule my week. You'll be amazed how much time you'll save throughout the week, not on your phone or desktop. If you're super organised get cracking on the month ahead.
if you have any other 'hacks', let me know in the comments below!