Want to Consistently Keep Your Inbox at Zero? Here's My System

Trying to keep up with my inbox has always felt like running a race with no finish-line in sight.

I receive emails throughout my day that I’m not always able to act on, the emails pile up in my inbox, and then my inbox starts to stress me out so I put off the task of tackling it until later. 

When I do finally get around to answering all the emails, I have some momentary relief…

...until the email replies start flooding in. And then the cycle starts all over again.

I’ve tried some email tricks here and there and even shared them on my blog and in my newsletter from time to time, but I never came up with a system that truly worked.

Until this past month.

One of my 2017 goals was to stop whining about my inbox and come up with a system that allows me to stay on top of emails and stop stressing about them.

With the help of a great productivity book and some organization, I’ve been able to keep my inbox at zero for the past three weeks and I feel completely confident that I can keep it up. 

This new email system has been revolutionary for my workdays and has given me so much peace of mind. 

So in typical Elle & Company fashion, I’m sharing it with you to help you conquer your inbox once and for all.

Tracking Your Work Week with Toggl

Do you know exactly how many hours you’re spending on business tasks throughout your workweek?

Guesswork doesn’t count. Do you have the actual data?

For the first two and a half years of my business, I didn’t. I made a habit of loosely managing my time and jumping around from task to task. 

But if you had asked me, I would have told you that I was spending the right amount of time on each area of my business. I truly thought I had a good handle on my time...

...until I conducted a time audit last fall. 

Using Toggl, I tracked the amount of time I was spending on emails, blog posts, client work, etc. and man, were my guesses way off. 

It was eye-opening to see how much time I was spending on emails and menial tasks instead of making headway on client work and other big projects. 

No wonder I wasn’t making quicker progress toward my goals! I was spending too much time on the wrong things.

Time tracking with Toggl has allowed me to take an objective look at my work week and spend more time on my most important business tasks.

This topic keeps coming up in conversation and I mentioned Toggl several times in last week’s Ellechat. 

So I’m taking you behind my screen in this blog post to highlight the benefits of time tracking and show you exactly how to use Toggl for your business.

Effectively Scheduling Your Work Week

I started my business as a side-gig. 

I was unhappy with my regular 9 to 5 design job and every time I thought of working for myself, grand images of working from home, no commute, working with my ideal clients, and no grouchy boss quickly came to mind. 

Each day I would sit in my cubicle, dreaming about the freedom that came from having my own business.

But once I actually made the leap to full-time entrepreneurship, that new freedom came with it’s fair share of new challenges. 

The biggest one? Managing my time.

Ideal Image Sizes for Your Blog and Social Media

You know those inconvenient tasks that always seem to creep up on you? 

Maybe it’s an email reply you always find yourself sending or a URL you often visit but can never remember.

In instances like these, it’s beneficial to keep that information in a helpful place, create a template or bookmark it so you can easily refer back to it later and save yourself a headache. 

That’s why I wrote this blog post.

It seems I’m constantly trying to track down image sizes for social media, both for Elle & Company graphics and client design projects.

And surely you’ve found yourself hunting down image sizes for your social media accounts, too. 

So I decided to make it easier on all of us by rounding up ideal image sizes for blog posts and social media and creating an infographic. 

Feel free to bookmark this post or pin it to Pinterest for future reference!

How To Organize Google Drive for Your Business

The New Year is upon us, which means that our motivation to get organized and reach our goals is at its peak.

And while I wrote a new blog post on my favorite planning and goal setting resources last week, I left off one of the key tools I use daily to keep my business organized: Google Drive.

My Drive houses client homework, design drafts and revisions, final project files, blog post drafts, master copies, Ellechat outlines - I truly couldn’t run Elle & Company without it. 

Not only is Google Drive great for keeping all of my important files and documents in one place, but it has a huge amount of free storage that can be accessed from any device and it syncs up with Gmail. 

But because I use it for just about everything, my Drive could very easily get out of hand if I didn’t have a system in place. I’m all about some organization and color-coded folders!  

Some of you have reached out to me about how I set up my Google Drive, so I’m taking you behind my screen to show you how I keep all of my files organized.