When I launched Rachel Dalton Weddings in 2018, it wasn’t just my job title that changed. I also shifted into a life of working from my home office which, in turn, meant adopting an entirely new approach to organisation and productivity.
I’d like to start by saying that I LOVE working from home. It suits me and my lifestyle so well and, through my career, I also have the luxury that I’m often out and about at meetings, site visits and, of course, weddings themselves. This means that I have the best of both worlds (in my opinion) and I’m usually out of my office a couple of days each week.
I have, however, found it tough at times to stay productive and to organise myself in the most effective way. I spent a lot of time last year learning about how I work best and, for 2020, I’ve completely streamlined my schedule to maximise productivity.
(Trust me to somehow bring up schedules before I’ve even got into the post #WeddingPlannerProbz)
Let’s get into my productivity and organisation hacks for 2020!
Whether you use an online diary or you’re a good old pen and paper gal (I hear you!) it’s essential that you plan out each day and use time blocking to get the most out of the hours you have available. This year I’m using a combination of an online diary for fixed plans, meetings, appointments etc. and a daily planner (I use the Lifestyled Luxury Day Planner) for a more detailed plan of each day. The planners are broken up into a to do list and an hourly schedule – which is perfect for assessing what you need to do that day and prioritising your tasks into manageable chunks.
Time blocking simply means breaking up your day into ‘blocks’ so that you can focus on one thing at a time, rather than having several tasks on your mind throughout the day. For example, responding to emails sporadically as they arrive in your email will remove your attention from what you were previously working on BUT if you set aside an hour or two each day to focus solely on your emails, you’ll blitz through your inbox in a far more productive way.
Whilst you’re time blocking your day, remember to also include non-work things such as lunch, a gym class, picking up your kids from school. All of these take up time in your day but, by planning effectively around them, you’ll increase your productivity hugely.
Following on from my previous point, it’s a good idea to plan for each day in advance so that you know what your day is going to look like before you sit at your desk in the morning. Personally, I like to do this day by day (and plan out my day the night before) but I know that planning weekly works better for some.
Scheduling your time this way will ensure that you don’t waste any time each morning and you can get straight into your tasks for the day!
This one is a bit of a given, but try to arrange your meetings on the same couple of days each week to that you don’t lose too much time travelling between each one.
I don’t know about you, but travelling from meeting to meeting can really break up my day, and I struggle to properly get into any other work if I know there’s somewhere I need to be soon. To eliminate this, on my ‘out of office’ days, I fill the day up with as many meetings as I can and approach the day with much more productivity.
We’ve all been there. You’ve got a gorgeous picture to share, an engaged audience ready to see your post, but you JUST can’t think of the right caption to go with it. Let’s face it, it’s probably the most time consuming part of social media.
In an attempt to banish caption writer’s block, I schedule all of my social media posts for the week in advance. This way, you can make sure your feed is looking #instaworthy AND plan out your captions in one go so that all you’ll need to do is copy, paste and upload!
Have you ever taken some time to assess how you work best? For example – do you know whether you’re an early bird or a night owl? Do you prefer working alone or amongst other people? All of these are important factors we should consider about ourselves when looking to maximise our productivity.
Personally, I know that I prefer to work alone and in silence (hence why you’ll often find me squirrelled away in my office!) however if you prefer to be in a more social setting – why not take your work with you to your local coffee shop and try working there? I also know that I am by FAR most productive in the morning, so I’ll always prioritise my most important task for first thing in the morning.
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Images by Charlotte Bryer Ash Photography.