Color coding is one of my all-time favorite systems.
For life, for business, for everything.
Honestly, I would color code the world if I could.
(Somebody just has to say the word…)
The key to color coding though is to not get carried away.
When it comes to color coding, I believe you should keep things simple and as consistent as possible. Because if it’s confusing or complicated, you simply won’t do it. (Am I right or am I right?!)
(This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using these links.)
THE 5 THINGS YOU SHOULD BE COLOR CODING IN YOUR BUSINESS
I could spend hours talking about all the things you can color code in your life (like your closet 😍) and your business… but in today’s post, I’m just going to focus on the 5 things you NEED to be color coding in your business.
Because color coding will help you be a more organized, efficient, and productive business owner.
Don’t believe me?
Then I dare you to finish reading this post, pick one thing to color code in your business today, work with the new system for a week or two, and then come back and tell me it didn’t change your life. (Spoiler Alert: You probably won’t be able to do that last part though 😉)
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1 | YOUR INBOX
Color coding your inbox can make entering your inbox and going through your email a little more colorful and a little less stressful. In my opinion, the two best ways to color code your inbox is by email type and priority level.
By Email Type works really well if you have A LOT of different types of email (i.e. work, friends, family, church, playgroup, school, etc.) arriving in your inbox every day. If you use Gmail, you can assign folders/labels colors so that emails from friends and family stand out from the work emails, the church emails, the school emails, and the almighty sea of newsletters.
By Priority Level works really well if you have a lot of email to go through or you have an assistant going through things before you. You can assign different color stars (Gmail) or flags (Mac Mail) different priority levels or even different meanings i.e. red could mean super-important, orange could mean not-terribly-important-but-should-still-be-addressed, yellow could mean come-back-later or unsure, purple could mean read-only, and gray could be for straight-to-trash-potential.
I personally only use the Priority Level Method when I don’t really have time to dig into my inbox, but want to know exactly what’s in there so I know how to tackle it later. (I do this mostly when I’m out of the office and/or on vacation.)
2 | YOUR PAPER PLANNER
Color coding in a paper planner is probably my favorite of all the color coding systems I’m talking about today. Maybe because I’ve finally (after several years and A LOT of tweaking) found a system that I LOVE!!
Because my planner of choice is the Simplified Planner, I choose to only use planner accessories (washi tape and stickers) that Simplified puts out. This is because they’re all in the colors of their signature pattern Happy Stripe. I’ve assigned each color a specific type of task, which keeps things nice and consistent. And like I mentioned before, that’s exactly what you want with ANY color coding system!!
Here’s my system as it stands today:
I love that I’m able to combine pretty with functionality in this way because productivity doesn’t have to nor should it ever be boring. I also love being able to glance at my planner and know exactly what tasks are filling my day thanks to the color coding dot stickers!! 🤩
3 | YOUR DIGITAL CALENDAR
If you’re looking for an easy way to start color coding within your business, look no further than your digital calendar!! I recommend using colors that represent both your business and your life so that you’ll be able to easily identify them every time you open your calendar.
For example, I use hot pink for all the meetings, appointments, deadlines, and projects related to The Productivity Zone (because it’s my main branding color) and purple for all things personal (because it’s my favorite color). Perhaps you could use your hubby’s favorite color for things related to his schedule and each of your kids’ favorite colors for things related to their schedules, and so on.
Pro Tip: In order to make some things stand out (especially if they all fall under the same category/color), I love to use emojis as a secondary system. For example, I use the doctor emojis (👩🏻⚕️👨🏻⚕️) for doctor appointments, the haircut emoji (💇🏼♀️) for haircuts, the lightning bolt (⚡️) for Personal Productivity Planning Sessions, the party popper (🎉) for launch days, the birthday cake (🎂) for birthdays, the football (🏈) for when my team plays, and so on. It makes looking at my digital calendar easy and a lot more fun!!
(Side Note: Seeing as I just showed you my color coding system for my Simplified Planner, you’re probably wondering WHY I don’t use the same system in iCal (especially as I’ve been stressing the importance of consistency throughout this post). The reason, unfortunately, isn’t a very good one… It’s because I’m stuck in my ways and stubborn 🤷🏼♀️
You see, I color coded my digital calendar long before I figured out my Simplified Planner system and am currently not willing to change it. Maybe one day I will, but for now, it works. This is clearly a classic case of do as I say, not as I do… or is it break the rules and make them work for you 🤔 #youchoose)
4 | YOUR DESKTOP FOLDERS + FILES
Color coding your desktop folders is another easy way to start color coding within your business (plus it will boost your efficiency and help you be more organized #winwin)!! Doing so will help you locate files and the stuff within those files faster, which will make your job as a business owner easier and less stressful. Plus, being able to locate and send a file to a client within seconds will better your overall client experience!!
I color code my folders and files on my Mac in two ways:
I use Finder tags. But because there aren’t a lot of color choices and there’s no way to create your own, I use these minimally. Mostly to help me know at a glance which files are final (purple) and which files are templates (yellow). If you work with a lot of clients, you could do something similar i.e. one color for clients with open projects and one color for clients with closed projects.
Additionally, I use an app called Folder Forge to make my folders different colors i.e. hot pink for The Productivity Zone and purple for personal.
I like to keep the color coding of my folders and files simple and minimal (because that’s what my brain likes), but you could totally go for the rainbow!! 🌈
5 | YOUR TRELLO BOARDS
The last place I recommend having a color coding system is in Trello. Doing so allows you to organize, categorize, prioritize, and even draw attention to the cards within your boards.
The bad news is there are only 10 color labels and no way to pick your own 😔. The good news is each board comes with its own set of labels so you can use them differently on each board 👏🏻.
I particularly like to use labels on my Personal Productivity Planning Client Workflow Board to represent the different session topics I offer because it helps me easily remember which topic each client chose for their session.
Related Post: 5 Ultimate Reasons Your Business Needs Trello
Alright, friends, I’ve told you what 5 things you NEED to be color coding in your business including the 2 things that I think would be easiest to start with. Now it’s your turn…
Pick one thing to color code in your business today, work with the new system for a week or two, and then come back and tell me how it changed your life!! Because I bet you anything that it will!! 😉
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own. I only share about the products and services I personally use and love most and think you will, too.