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Productivity

Being organised is crucial to my success. Here’s how I do it.

Being organised doesn’t mean being perfect; it means finding a system that helps you run your business, says Nikki Parkinson of @StylingYou fame. Here she shares her top productivity secrets.

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Nikki Parkinson started her fashion and style blog, Styling You back in 2008 when blogging and websites had just kicked off in Australia. Since then Styling You has grown into a thriving business, with Nikki even taking the mantle of  2015 Queensland micro business of the year.

A seriously good Instagrammer, (@stylingyou has 54.7k followers ) Nikki shares tidbits of her day-to-day life and business – with regular mentions of her efficient soloist organisation strategies; from preparing her week’s worth of outfits on a Sunday night, to regular ‘planning and goal setting’ days.

“I have way too many methods and because there’s always a potential new way to be organised, I still haven’t found the sweet spot between one way to do it. I swing between new ways and old school methods,” Nikki told me.

Keen to understand exactly how her system works, I asked Nikki to share some of her organisational soloist secrets.

"I swing between new ways and old school methods."

How do you start your day?

I’m a late bloomer in the exercise department but most mornings I’ll be going for a run, or doing an HIT or Pilates class between 5-5:45am. Then I’m home again and getting my youngest off to school. During that time I’ve also been checking on social media, and if I have a blog post for that day, checking that it’s gone live. After school drop off, I’m usually at home and at my desk around 8:30am, with a coffee.

What tools do you use to stay organised?

I have a small team of contractors working for me so I use Asana to communicate and assign task. It’s the core of team communication and I can also assign myself projects. This is very handy. I can sync Asana to my iCal which I use all the time on my phone. And this comes everywhere with me, which means I don’t have to carry a diary and a big bag around with me. Although I do have to remind people that I’m not checking social media but simply updating my calendar!

I bought a ‘month to view’ wall calendar from Typo and that allows me to look at a glance to see what’s going on. And because I ‘m a very visual person this helps me a lot. It also allows me to see my time and think, “Oh yes, you really shouldn’t tackle any more work right now!.” .

In addition I use a weekly planner, that’s more like a to-do list. Jasmine Dowling created the these, they’re called the Essential Notepad and it allows you to tear-off lists as you go – and that’s where I write my daily list.

I’ve also got a 12 month wall calendar to put in the ‘big’ things like holidays and sponsorship peak periods.

What can’t you live without in terms of running your business?

It would have to be the Asana and iCal integration because it allows me to communicate with contractors and because anyone can log on and see where things are at, you don’t have to repeat communication which is a great time saver.

You plan your outfits for the week on Sunday nights. Why?

I encourage everyone who follows me on Instagram to do this and have launched a new online program that teaches you how.  Even if you do work for yourself. Planning your outfits really frames the week and can help boost your confidence. It gives you a wardrobe for the working week that is comfortable and takes all that decision making out of the rest of the week, so it saves you time.

And the more you do it, it allows you to get a back catalogue of work outfits. One trick I use is to take a selfie of yourself, you don’t have to share it on social media, you can just keep it in your phone. And that means every time you’re stuck you can look back and see what worked for you.

You spent a day in January planning and goal setting. How does this work?

Big picture stuff for me is monthly and yearly goals. I have been reading Blissed by Marnie McDermott and it covers all aspects of your life, not just work. I have been working through it and it’s very good. It does take a lot of self-reflection and effort and I can see the value in doing that.

Even if you’re not a natural planner, it helps you break things down things into management chunks. My accountant does a 90 day plan with me. She’s a legend.

If you don’t have a business advisor like me, find a mentor or someone in a similar industry to you and at your growth level who you can sit down with every quarter and have accountability meetings.

What are your top three tips to get organised?

  1. When you run your own business you can’t afford not to be organised. When you’re running a big company, other people can organise you but you’re the chief you have to be organised so things can happen.
  2. Everyone’s at different level of organisation and that’s ok. Play around with the different tools available but don’t get bogged down in the process of being organised. It doesn’t have to be perfect it just has to be at the level that helps you run your business.
  3. The hustle for the work can take up a lot of time, and you have to be careful that you’ve got enough work coming in but not too much that you can’t actually keep things ticking. This is a fine balance and being organised makes it easier.

Wise advice indeed! Thanks for sharing 🙂

Lucy Kippist

is an experienced Australian editor with experience in writing, podcasting radio and television, with previous senior editorial roles at News Corp news.com.au, Kidspot and Kinderling Kids Radio. In her current role as editor of Flying Solo, Australia's #1 website for solo business owners she is pursuing her passion for women in the small business space. Connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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