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Inexpensive Ways to Organize Yourself

I just love office supply stores. I know it’s strange but I can’t help it. Office Supply stores are my next best thing after a bookstore. I’m sure you’ve been in office supply stores and viewed the seemingly never ending amount of items to help you get organized in your home and your office. If you bought it all you’d be broke so how to pick and choose the right things to buy?

First you must “Know thyself”.

What I mean is this: If you know that you will not use the latest and greatest gadgets, and that the learning curve is too high,  for you, don’t buy it. Sometimes the latest and greatest isn’t what you want, sometimes it’s the old tried and true methods that will work the best for you. So be honest with yourself.

Being a work at home mom can be difficult at times. On one hand you’re probably saving a bit of money on child care, but on another you have to invest in your business while still bringing home enough money to pay the bills. Before you purchase something you should ask yourself:

Will this increase my ability to earn money? If so, How? What will I need to do in order for that to be true?

Scheduling, Planning and Time Tracking

While I do use Central Desktop now. At first I did not. I used a free google calendar that I set up for each individual client. I shared the calendar with them, and they could put notes into the calendar. If you create an event, on “edit” you can add as much as you want even if it does not show on top. To this day I use a spreadsheet to keep track of time – even though I could do it in Central Desktop. To me it’s just simpler.

You can download openoffice free and use their spreadsheet software if you don’t want to purchase Excel. Let’s not forget the good old to paper calendar and planners that you can purchase relatively inexpensively from the office  supply store. These still work very well and I still have a planner in my purse. I carry it to meetings, and make notes to myself in there all the time. Works like a charm and I did not have to learn a special program on a PDA. You can actually get quite fancy with calendars, so look around and decide what calendar you will really use and purchase accordingly.

Speaking of calendars, two that I’ve found to work well are Mom’s Plan-It Calendar by Avalanche Publishing. These calendars are fun to look at and come with stickers and pens to record everyone’s schedule. There are other calendars you can choose from at the link. Any of them will do to help you get your family organized.

Family calendars help you organize family life and business commitments. For most homes the kitchen is the central meeting place for a family. This is where I suggest that you put the calendar. If your family room is the central place, put the calendar there.

One idea that you might try is for you to list your work hours on the family calendar for all to see. This way your spouse and children know when not to disturb you. We all know that as a work at home mom, it can be hard to make the family realize that you are working.

It is also important in business to have a daily planner. A planner works better for business than a flat calendar and works in conjunction with a desk calendar. In your business planner, each day is broken down by hours and even half and quarter hours. The good thing a about a planner is that it can go everywhere with you so you are never without your schedule.

When you purchase a planner make sure it includes:

  • Removable pages Section for notes or notepad
  • Address book
  • Place for business cards
  • Place for a pen
  • Tabs for easy look-up
  • Vinyl pouch for bills, messages, etc.

Being a work at home mom and keeping your business schedule reconciled with your family schedule is a simple task if you stick to it. I am not saying that it is an easy task, by any stretch of the imagination. You have to be dedicated to your goals in order to make these options work. But I hope that you see that being organized does not have to be an expensive proposition.  You can keep yourself, your family, and your work life balanced and organized inexpensively the old fashioned way.

About Stephanie Watson

Mom | Wife | Virtual Assistant | Content Strategist
Stephanie has been working from home for over 20 years as a virtual assistant, template bender, and content writer. She's currently transitioning to business coach. You can learn more about her at her website http://www.barrypublishing.com.

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