“I’m working full-time at my job and part-time on my fortune.” – Jim Rohn about working two jobs.
We both have two full-time jobs and our own business, which equates to us both having two full-time jobs. We do our full-time jobs during traditional daytime hours and manage our business early in the morning, at night and on weekends. I like to say our lives are spent in cubicles and kitchens.
This requires solid organizational skills. Even when we’re not working on our own business, our business is still working. It requires constant nurturing and attention, at all hours of the day.
Below are four of the habits and tools we use to stay organized.
1. List Apps
There are many apps out there that can help people get organized. One of my all-time favorite apps is AnyList. (There is a free version or yearly subscriptions for $7.99 for individuals or $11.99 for families.) For people that like lists and get satisfaction from crossing off items on them, AnyList could be a helpful tool for you. We’ve synced our AnyList apps so we stay on top of tasks together even when we’re apart.
We have several running lists that we manage to stay organized. Two such lists are “David’s To Dos” and “John’s To Dos.” As things need completion, we add them to our lists. If I think of something David needs to do, I add it to his To Do list and vice versa. Another such list is our “Ideas” list. Invariably, ideas for our business pop in our heads at inconvenient times. If we don’t write down our ideas, we’ll never remember them when it’s time to take action. This is why Benjamin Franklin took a notepad with him everywhere he went. We share the same “Ideas” list and both add to and cross off or delete items as needed.
Our work from AnyList that can’t be done in one sitting moves to another app we use called Trello, which has both a web-based and app platform. (Trello has three price tiers: free, $8.33 per month, and $20.83 per month.) We create a card for a particular project and use Trello to keep track of To Dos, next steps, key contacts and deadlines. We can each access the same Trello account and tag each other, as necessary, as we each have our specialties and interests.
2. Minimal Decision Making
This tool is important but, to be fair, it’s hard to adopt. Most lists about the common habits of successful people mention that they avoid making small decisions. Decisions such as what to do, what to eat and what to wear, as simple as they are, add up and steal energy from more important decisions.
Making numerous unimportant decisions causes decision-making fatigue. Avoiding small decisions is why successful people, such as Mark Zuckerberg, wear the same clothes most days. Wearing new clothes every day is a modern luxury that steals useful decision-making energy.
We exercise the same schedule for each hour that we spend on our personal business. We have two breakfast options and eat the same breakfast the same day each week. The same goes for lunch. We cook one large dinner once a week. That’s dinner all week except for the one day, the same day each week, that we stop at either one of two quick-casual restaurants for takeout. We do the same exercises on the same day at the same time each week.
All this lets us better spend energy on more important decisions.
3. Say No
As a business grows and becomes successful, it gets more offers and requests of all types. When we started out, we were eager to accept most anything. As we’ve grown, some offers and requests have become less advantageous or not in-line with our business goals. This requires us to be more discerning about what we do and don’t do.
Saying no is liberating. It’s easy to get caught up in everyone else’s dreams and expectations, which can mean hurting our own. This is true in business and life.
4. Avoid the Small Stuff
Two functions for our business that can easily become wastes of time are email and social media. It’s the 21st century and most of our business is online. It’s nearly impossible to run any business today, especially one like ours, without email or social media.
However, every email doesn’t require a response or even a reading. We quickly discern what emails are important and what emails are not. Removing the unimportant emails from our plate saves time.
The same goes for social media. We use social media to grow our business and stay connected with our followers. This often includes using both our professional and personal social media platforms. It’s all too easy, though, to find that we’ve been done with business and spent the last 30 minutes mindlessly scrolling through less valuable content.
These are some of the more helpful tools we use to stay organized in what could be very disorganized lives. Whether you’re managing your own business, someone else’s business or your life, all these tools can be helpful. Do what works for you.
[Editor’s Note: You can monitor your financial goals, like building a good credit score, each month on Credit.com.]
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