Life is busy, and your life as an interior designer is busy ten-fold. Keeping organized at the best of times is no easy thing. From meeting clients and briefing tradespeople to picking fabrics and sourcing beautiful products — it can be easy to lose track of the many activities on the to-do list.
Keeping organized, or for some, learning how to get organized, is a skill that anyone can master; even those of us that may operate in the most unsystematic, unorthodox way.
Read on below for eight easy tips that will help you and your interior design firm to stay organized and stay on top of the game.
1. CREATE A WORKSPACE – EVEN AT HOME
Whether you’re working from home or are commuting to an office or studio space, having an organized place of work increases focus and concentration.
When it comes to separating your work life from your home life, working from home can be a challenge. Especially when there is no clear boundary of where your workspace begins and ends. Clear a specific part of your house, whether it’s an enlarged desk space or a completely separate room, to distinctly define where the office ends and your home life begins. Then treat this space as you would if you were not at home. Keeping it clear of clutter will help you keep a clear and focused mind. Regardless of location, inspiration and productivity happen when space is cleared and reflective of your work needs.
Which takes us to our second point…
Piles of out-of-date design magazines lying around? Endless sticky notes stuck to your computer screen? Desk overflowing with samples galore just waiting to be sent back to showrooms? If you’re one of the many people who seem to have an innate ability to hold onto things, this point is a major. But really, if you haven’t used something in a while, the chances of you needing it anytime soon are slim. Think less hoarding and more minimizing; Marie Kondo-style.
Have a place for everything, so that when you are finished with something you can put it away. Return those samples when you’re done with them. A clear, clean, organized space leads to a clear, clean, and organized mind. Which ultimately leads to an efficient, organized and streamlined project.
3. CREATE A SCHEDULE AND ROUTINE – AND STICK TO IT
Creating a schedule gives interior designers a clear vision of what’s ahead. Whether you’re working from home or an office space, staying on schedule is the key to ensuring you meet all of your clients’ needs and your business’ administrative demands.
Schedules are obviously a necessity for booking in time for both physical or virtual client meetings and consultations. However, it’s also important to make sure you allocate time in your schedule for other menial tasks and appointments too. Set aside specific parts of the day for recording purchase orders, responding to emails, investing time on your marketing, and the other tasks that need to be done to keep the business running. Then stick to them.
4. SET DEADLINES
Hand-in-hand with scheduling is establishing deadlines. Effective time management will allow you as an interior designer to get everything done on time and in balance alongside the bigger tasks.
If you’ve set aside a Thursday afternoon for writing content for your weekly blog or scheduling your Instagram posts, then try to not diverge from this. Of course, things pop up and we all need to be flexible, but try not to brush aside those tasks that you could easily put off. They don’t go away, so you may as well get them done so you can tick them off the list.
5. COMMUNICATE – EFFECTIVELY
Clear and consistent communication is key to success. It keeps clients happy, ensures your employees know what is expected of them, and enables everyone involved in a project to know exactly where things are at all times. It’s a crucial element for every business interaction.
While verbal communication is the first thought in most people’s minds, interior designers shouldn’t forget about well-written emails and clear correspondence. Miscommunication concerning budgeting or project timing can inevitably lead to problems down the path.
Professionally written communications will help to portray you and your interior design business as experts in your field; as a team that can be relied on for end results that speak of quality. Keep the lines clear and stay on track using polished forms of communication that have been spelling and grammar checked. Stay in regular contact with clients and suppliers even if you’re not working on a project with them right at that moment.
Staff and time are limited in small interior design firms. This means it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re organized in your delegation of tasks. Handing out tasks that play to employees’ strengths ensure the best work is done in the most efficient time. If one employee is better at client communication, while another excels at procurement, assign tasks accordingly.
7. USE THE RIGHT INTERIOR DESIGN MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE AND APPS
Making use of software or apps in your daily routine is one of the easiest ways to stay organized. You can track meetings, emails, and client calls to make sure you don’t fall behind or haven’t missed anything. Apps can help if you find yourself on the run without a pen or paper, or to confirm a matter on the go. Tasks can be streamlined into one easy location.
Manage projects end-to-end with an industry-specific interior design management software to ensure each project stays on track, stays organized and stays moving forward. The right programs have all the necessary tools in one convenient package. From scheduling to billing, having a complete cloud-based interior design management software that is specific to your life and work as an interior designer will ease your daily routine, and allow you greater flexibility as you can access it from any device, at any time.
8. TACKLE YOUR ACCOUNTING PRACTICES
All of the above are great organizational tools to keep your business running, but poor accounting management won’t keep it running for long.
Late invoicing can leave clients sceptical of when to pay you; not keeping track of expenses and purchase orders will leave you in a tight spot for cash flow. Financial responsibilities are essential for staying in business, so be sure to regularly follow up with invoices, purchase orders, and expenses to reduce stress and ensure timely payment. Tackle your accounting and your business will run smoother.