You’ve got to stay organized when you’re running a business. Otherwise, you’ll lose momentum. Before you know it, the day will get away from you. And one day of lost productivity and missed opportunities might turn into weeks of the same.
It’s not something you can afford to have happen on your watch. But increasingly digitized, multi-device environments throw another wrench into any business owner’s plans. Staying organized across mobile and stationary devices can seem like an impossibility without the proper tools. Luckily, there are plenty to adopt. Here are four ways to stay organized:
1. Sync Your Calendars
Are you still keeping all your appointments written down in a Day-Timer? Perhaps a wall or desk calendar? Paper may have its place, but it won’t always be there when you’re on the go. Another disadvantage is it doesn’t pop up with reminders. Nor does it send invites and messages to others on your team.
Using a calendar management program with calendar sync features offers a flexible, dynamic means of staying on top of your busy schedule. Instead of turning the pages to determine your next appointment, you can use any device to pull it up. By syncing everything, all the details will be accessible from your tablet, smartphone, and desktop. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in the office, working from home, or out and about.
Other cool features include switching between calendars and accessing all your business contacts. Maybe you’ve set up different calendars for clients and internal project teams to avoid confusion. However, it helps to glance at everything simultaneously to ensure nothing overlaps. You can quickly assess your availability while communicating schedule changes to your contacts on the fly. Know what’s happening and when so you can always stay in sync with everyone.
2. Get on the Cloud
One device isn’t going to stay in tip-top shape forever. If you store important documents on a device’s hard drive, you’re setting yourself up for potential problems. About 67% of data loss occurs due to hard drive crashes and device failures. Plus, storing files on a single device means you need it in front of you to access them.
So, what happens when the system isn’t anywhere near you? Or what if someone on your team needs to work on a document stored on your tablet? It causes hassles and delays. You also must rely on email to transfer files, hoping the person on the other end has the latest versions. Collaborating on documents this way can be a pain, leading to mistakes and lost data.
Storing and working on files in the cloud is a more efficient way to go about it. You don’t have to worry about losing data or time if a system crashes. The files are accessible from any device. In addition, document changes are instantly synced, so no one has to track them through email. You can also share files as you need to while protecting data with different permission levels, such as read-only access.
3. Digitize Your Notes
Like calendars, notes can quickly become disorganized if you rely on paper-based methods. Even if you’re typing your notes into word processing software, they can end up all over the place. Say you go to a meeting with your tablet in hand. You make notes and store them on your device, thinking you’re OK. You’ve documented the next steps and the critical points you must remember.
But what if you didn’t store those notes in a program you can sync to other devices? You might have corresponding notes from a team brainstorming session saved in another application. Plus, you bookmarked research in the web browser you forgot to sync with your cloud-based account. Now you’re scrambling to bring it all together.
Remembering where all the notes are is half the battle. The other half is having access to every device they’re stored on. With digital note-taking and list-making apps, you don’t have to fight this theoretical war. You can use an app on whatever device you have. Make notes, schedule tasks, bookmark research, and take screenshots in one place. These apps don’t store the data locally, allowing you to make changes, compile information, and stay organized across devices.
4. Use a Filing System
Storing information in the cloud doesn’t mean you can abandon good file folder practices. Otherwise, your team will waste time trying to locate what they need. Having to search for a document by name each time is cumbersome. And there’s a chance someone won’t remember the magic keywords that brought up the file last time.
Ideal file folder structures differ based on the needs of the company. Talk with your team about their ideas before you implement a method. Maybe it makes sense to organize documents according to projects. However, it could be easier to implement a client-based structure followed by separate topics.
For instance, you could have separate folders under each client for background information, project schedules, and key contacts. Another possibility is to create folder structures for different departments. Whatever hierarchy you end up choosing, it will be accessed from a range of devices. Look at how the design appears from mobile and non-mobile devices to ensure it makes sense from multiple vantage points.
Organization is the ticket to productivity. But sound organizational practices are changing in a world where using one device is no longer the norm. Your business needs apps with syncing capabilities and adaptable practices to keep critical information together. Once you implement tools like these, your team will work seamlessly from anywhere.