7 mins read
How to declutter, get organized and make 2022 your most productive year yet
It’s a new year, which means it’s time for a new you. And if you’re a freelancer or small business owner, a fresh calendar year is the perfect time to review and improve the way you work. By decluttering your workspaces and getting the right organizational tools in place, you can set yourself up to work smarter, not harder.
Ready to get started? Here’s how you can make 2022 your most productive year yet.
Make your workspace work for you
When you’re working from home, a little extra thought needs to go into making your physical workspace somewhere you can actually be productive.
The first step is ensuring your home workspace is – or feels – separate from where you relax. This helps you focus when you’re on the clock and unwind once the day is done. The ideal WFH set up would be having a spare room that acts as your home office, away from where you relax at night. Of course, this isn’t possible for many of us.
The next best thing is demarcating your ‘work’ space and your ‘home’ space. There are a few ways to do this.
- Maintain regular hours. By sticking to a work schedule each day you’ll know when to start each day and when to stop – making it easier to maintain a work-life balance.
- Keep a routine. Similarly, a workday routine can be an effective way of getting in the groove each day. It can be as simple as making your bed, putting on your ‘work’ clothes and grabbing a coffee before sitting down at your desk. However you do it, a routine signals to your brain that it’s time for work
- Trick your brain with lighting. An interior designer-endorsed tip is to use lighting to demarcate your day. During work hours, turn on a lamp with a ‘cool’ light bulb – cool lighting makes us more alert. Then to help yourself unwind at the end of the day, ensure the bulbs in your lounge and bedroom are ‘warm’ – warm lighting promotes a sense of relaxation.
- Reset your space. This hack – which draws from the wisdom of both Marie Kondo and the book Atomic Habits – is about cultivating small habits that return a room to being a space of joy. So if you’re working in your lounge room, at the end of the day you could ‘reset’ the room by putting your laptop and notepads away and out of sight until tomorrow. That helps you mentally return the room to being a place of relaxation.
- Banish clutter. To minimize distractions and promote a sense of calm, keep the room you work in as clutter-free as possible. Organizing enthusiast Clutterbug has some great tips for how to ‘take back’ your home from mess.
Declutter your digital world
Once your physical space is sorted, it’s time to move onto tidying up the digital stuff. As well as the basics – like ridding your desktop and downloads folder of unnecessary clutter – there’s a number of great tools that can help you conquer your phone, laptop and online presence.
- Clean up your inbox. It’s hard to achieve inbox zero when you’re being flooded with junk email every day. To clean the slate, make use of an unsubscribe tool like Unroll Me. It scans your inbox for promotional emails and shows you a list of all the mailing lists you’re on – with the option to unsubscribe in a single click.
- Sort out your photos. Are a decade’s worth of photos weighing your smartphone down? Use an app GetSorted to help clear them out. GetSorted gamifies the process of sorting through your photos, making it fun and easy to keep the snaps you want and delete the ones you don’t.
- Ditch those old accounts. Whether it’s a streaming service you forgot about or an online store we shopped at once a year ago, we’ve all got a bunch of online accounts we no longer use. Getting rid of them ensures you’re not being charged for things you’re not using and keeps your data safe from any breaches. To get rid of unwanted accounts as swiftly as possible use a service like Account Killer, which helps simplify the process.
- Get a password manager. For security’s sake, it’s important to use different passwords for every application – but remembering 50 different combinations of symbols and capital letters is a tall order. That’s where LastPass comes in. LastPass is a password manager that keeps your digital life secure. All you have to do is remember one ‘master password’ and it does the rest for you.
- Simplify your online presence. Maintaining a personal website can be costly and time-consuming. To simplify things, make Linktree your online landing page. With Linktree PRO, you can customize the look and feel of your Linktree so it’s in line with your branding and logo. Linktree PRO users also get access to analytics, which helps you understand what your audience wants, and you can also use PRO to easily collect payments.
Get the right organization tools in place
Being your own boss requires you to be great at time management. That means getting the right organizational tools and approaches in place now will help keep you productive throughout 2022.
- Find the tool that works for you. There’s no shortage of digital organizational tools. To set yourself up for success, pick the one that makes the most sense for you. If you’re working with others, a project management tool like Trello or Asana can make collaboration easier – they act as a digital to-do list that’s shared by everyone on your team, so everyone can see which stage different projects or tasks are at. Note taking tools like Notion and Evernote are also great for helping you stay organized and on top of things, whether you’re solo or part of a team.
- Sort out your accounting. Staying on top of the financial stuff is crucial for any small business or side hustler. Make it easy on yourself by using accounting software like Xero, which makes paying bills, sending invoices or accepting payments easy. It does all the legwork for you, so you’ll never have to chase up an unpaid invoice again.
- Automate what you can. To take tasks off your plate and free up time, automate whichever parts of your business you can. If you’re selling merch, for instance, consider using Spring: a social commerce tool that manufactures and ships merchandise internationally. You simply submit your designs, and they handle the rest – saving you those trips to the post office.
- Hack your productivity. Do you have trouble getting everything done in a day? There’s tools for that. Toggl tracks your time and delivers reports detailing how long you spend on particular tasks, so that you can see what’s slowing you down. Or if you need help knuckling down, consider using an app like Focus or Freedom, which blocks your access to distractions like Instagram for set periods of time.
- Try time blocking. If you have multiple responsibilities to juggle in a day, you might benefit from time blocking. It’s a time management method that helps you dedicate blocks of time to specific projects and gives you a clear schedule to follow. It might mean you set aside half an hour each day to answer emails, instead of constantly switching your attention between your inbox and the other work you have to do.
The bottom line
What productivity comes down to is freeing up as much of your day as possible to do the work that matters.
Take it from Linktree founder Nick Humphreys, who knows a thing or two about getting the job done. “I look at anything I have in my day-to-day that’s taking me away from what I do best,” he says. “What can I take off myself, so I’m not wasting time on something like finance or accounts, because I have no clue about any of that.”
“It’s about figuring out what you do best and making space for it.”