There’s enough to figure out when starting your own business. There’s the legal aspects, setting up your separate finances, figuring out payroll, and oh yeah, actually doing what you LOVE that allows you to even have a business to start with.
When I first started my business I felt like I lived in a never-ending to-do list, with not enough hours in the day and not enough hands (and brain power!) to get it all done. I also suffered from a major case of perfectionism and needed everything to be *just right* before I hit publish or send.
Now, I like to say I’m a recovering perfectionist and an aspiring good enough-ist.
My coaching clients and I frequently work on creating their ideal schedule that plays to when they are most productive and motivated. That is the key to managing their time and fitting it all in. I usually work on them in an exercise I call ‘Rocks, Pebbles, Sand’, where we create their schedule based on the most important things (rocks), supplement it with things we want or can agree to (pebbles) and fill it in with all the rest (sand). If you’re interested in doing it - let me know and I’ll send you a worksheet!
Below I’m sharing with you my top tricks for managing your time, creating YOUR ideal schedule, and setting yourself up for success. The key word here is YOU, and yes, these tips are largely about making your schedule work for YOU and not the other way around.
You ready to take charge and get some time back in the process?
1 - Take imperfect and messy action. There will never be a ‘perfect’ time to do anything. There will never be the perfectly written email, newsletter or social post. There is no perfect time to launch. You will waste (yes, WASTE) hours, days and years trying to get something to be perfect enough to share it with the world. Spoiler alert - it will never be perfect, so just hit ‘send’ and move on with your day.
2 - Do it when you’re best.The key to being productive is to schedule projects, workouts, errands, etc. when YOU are most likely going to thrive. I like to teach early mornings, get my best workouts mid morning, and do my best writing at night. My brain doesn’t work that great between 2-4p. And having been VERY honest with myself, I honor my body’s clock + calendar and plan my day accordingly. Literally the beauty of working for yourself is that you get to say, “this is my availability” and schedule clients in accordingly.
3 - Put yourself and your non-negotiables in your calendar first. Now that you’re being honest with yourself and when YOU are your best, you can input clients, meetings, errands, and all that other stuff. But before you do, SCHEDULE YOU FIRST. Again, put yourself when you are your best. Yes, you will have to be flexible with clients, especially in those prime-time slots. But the more you control your schedule, the more efficient and productive you will be.
4 - Eat the frog. The very way to be productive is to do the least appealing task first. Get it out of the way, and reward yourself with something you want to do afterwards. You’ll be surprised how much time you DON’T waste anymore now that the unappealing thing is done first.
5 - Every night make tomorrow’ Big 3. Before I log off every day, I write out my Big 3 - the top 3 tasks I need to get done before I can be done with work tomorrow. Sometimes they are big items (like drafting out large documents); other times it’s as simple as - reply to an email, send an invoice, write out a social post.
By writing out your Big 3 before ending your work day, you’ll be able to start tomorrow off with clear direction and ready to dive right into it.
6 - Set a timer for everything. Going back to “take imperfect action” - NO task should take longer than it needs to. I give myself 30-mins for newsletters and blogs, 5 mins to write and post on social, an hour to batch content for the week/month. I do NOT let myself sit in a task and tweak, edit, revise, until it’s perfect. I would rather there be a typo in an email than spend an hour re-reading and revising something so it’s perfect. (PS - can we agree that we’re all human and STOP being the Grammar Police about typos? Like, I have bigger things to worry about than if I accidentally spell a word wrong in a story on social media)
7 - Write it Down. Anytime ANYTHING pops into my mind, I have an idea that I want to share, or I hear something that speaks to me, I write it down in my Notes app. I have Note for social media posts, inspirational quotes, blog topics, freebie topics (free downloads), courses I want to take, blogs/books/podcasts I want to listen to or read, you name it, I have a Note for it.
This not only makes me an impressive hoarder of information, it ensures that nothing slips by me.
It is also a HUGE source of inspiration when I sit down to write blogs and newsletters, when I prepare this week’s ‘top of mind’ topic, and when I create downloads, webinars and courses. It takes the guess work out, which saves me tons of times and allows me to just write and do.
I am willing to bet that you have TONS of ideas running through your head every day, but you forget them, or think they’re silly. They’re not - they’re your intuition speaking to you. Write them down, and go back to them when you’re seeking inspiration!
8 - Purposeful Office Hours. Designate a few hours of time each week to each of the following: admin work, education, and something that’s going to move your business forward.
Resist the urge to do admin work as it comes to you. You’ll find that it happens so fast and frequently that you won’t be able to keep up. Instead, designate time 2-3x week (more or less depending on your business) to work ONLY on admin. Save it, leave it unread, create an admin to-do list, and when it’s time, it’ll all be waiting for you to knock out.
Same goes for working on future projects. You’ll never move your business head if you don’t have time to create the things to move you ahead. You with me? So again, designate time each week to work on a future freebie, blog posts, newsletters, marketing material, to build courses, etc. If you get in the habit of ALWAYS working on something to move your business forward, you will always be moving your business forward. Makes sense, right?
Until next time fam, I wish you a selfishly productive and focused week,