If there's one thing that drives me over the top bonkers, it's when I 'm disorganized and feel like I'm wasting time.
Yes, wasted time makes me sad.
Very, very sad.
As a business owner and also as some one who would like to dedicate my time to people and things that are important to me, I'm always looking for ways to be more productive so that I can get more things done and waste less time!
Plus, learning how to manage my time and be more productive has been a necessity since I've literally started and grown multiple successful businesses all as a one woman show.
No team, just me.
Well, AND my cat Mr. Purrie, but he's not very helpful.
(But don't tell him that!)
I've learned lots of things over the 8+ years that I've been working for myself full-time when it comes to productivity, so today I'm sharing 10 tips to help you be ultra productive!
1. Learn how to strategically plan and schedule out your time.
Gah, this one is SO important!!!!
Like ... as about important as it is for me to start my day with a nice cup of coffee.
(Which is very important, by the way.)
Like I mentioned above, as a one woman show I've HAD to learn how to properly schedule and plan otherwise I WOULD LITERALLY HAVE NO LIFE outside of work.
AND my business also wouldn't grow nearly as much as it has without being meticulous about my planning and scheduling!
I dare say that I've turned strategically planning and scheduling into an art form over the last 8+ years. (Fun fact: the very first business that I ever started was a wedding planning business back in 2008. Why? Because I LOVE PLANNING.)
To help you out, I filmed a video detailing exactly how I create a schedule that maximizes my time, effort and growth and I've broken it all down into a simple 5 step process. Woo hoo!
I even created some handy cheat sheets outlining the entire 5 step process to make everything easier to understand and so that you can use them as a quick reference when creating your own schedule. Heck to the yesss.
Ohhhh yes, you'll get a nice little peek at the exact process that I use to create consistent content, manage my time and grow my business!
While also maintaining a life and my sanity, of course. Which is important.
I hope you find it super helpful!
2. Make your morning routine nonnegotiable.
I recently wrote this post about the importance of having a morning routine in order to set yourself up for success!
I always spend time in the mornings to enjoy some coffee (with coconut oil in it- yum!), meditate, read, journal, give Mr. Purrie some morning pett'ins, exercise and go over my to-do list at the beginning of each day.
Yeah it's true, SOME days I might not get in my full morning routine (like if I have a plane to catch at the butt crack of dawn or if it's the weekend and I am taking the day off,) but I almost always stick to my morning routine every single day.
3. Use a planner.
Oh man, I'd be SO lost without my Blog + Life Planner!
I'm now in the 8th year of running my own business full-time (DANG has it really been that long?!) and I've learned that using a planner to schedule out tasks ahead of time, prioritize, write down all of my to-do's etc. is absolutely essential for getting things done (and also for maintaining my sanity!)
Have I mentioned that using a planner is absolutely essential yet? :P
(Yep, that's one of the planners I designed specifically for online business owners which you can check out right here!)
The key to using a planner successfully (even if you don't consider yourself a "planner person") is to figure out whether you prefer digital or tangible planners.
For example, while I love the thought of digital planners, I simply can't get into them! (I've tried. Multiple times.) I need a tangible planner that I can put a pen to paper in, doodle in, use stickers in and have open on my desk.
While everyone uses planners differently, I like to get pretty in depth with mine. I few things I do are:
- Color code. I know, I'm such a nerd. But color coding is so much fun- even my CLOSET is color coded! (Did I really just type that out?) But well, it is. Everything to do with my email marketing is orange, everything like live broadcasts are in blue, business tasks are in black, fun things (like coffee dates with friends,) are in purple, etc. Why the heck bother color coding? Because it allows me to see with a quick glance what types of things need to get done, what I'm spending my time on, etc. Try it, I swear you'll love it and never go back, hehe. :P
- Weekly & monthly overviews. At the beginning of each month I'll write down goals for that month then I'll break those goals down into actionable steps over the weeks. It's super satisfying and is really important in making sure that you're taking the necessary steps to getting what you want accomplished, well ... accomplished!
- Make my to-do list for the next day the day before. You know how I break down my monthly goals into weekly actionable tasks? Well, I always make a to-do list for the next day before bed. Not only does doing that help me to sleep better with a clear head, but then I've already got a clear road map set up for the next day so I can be focused first thing in the morning!
If you're struggling to stay afloat with your blog or business, make keeping up with your planner and finding a schedule that works for you a priority. Plan specific tasks and to-do's out ahead of time so you're not left feeling like you're caught inside a tornado of swirling stress and endless tasks! (Nice picture eh?)
4. Block out your time.
Breaking down my work days into chunks of time really helps me to get a lot done and to focus on the task at hand!!
For example, a typical workday for me might look like this:
- 8:00am - 9:00am "Me" time
- 9am - 12pm Main project (I only work on ONE main project per week)
- 12pm - 12:30pm Lunch
- 12:30pm - 2:30pm Continue work on main project
- 2:30pm - 4:30pm Miscellaneous business tasks & make to-do list for next day
- 4:30pm - 5:30pm Running
I get super focused during these particular time chunks and only work on the designated thing that I'm supposed to work on during that time.
5. Get your sweat on!
I probably don't even need to say this, but it's scientifically PROVEN that working-out boosts your mood, brain and your ability to focus.
And the more focused you are, the more productive you are.
AND bonus points because it also relieves stress and is a nice break from the daily grind!
AND it boosts confidence. In fact, there's a million reasons why you should incorporate at least 20 minutes of exercise into your daily routine and boosting your productivity is one of them.
There are a million reasons why it's good so just DO IT!!!! Find a form of exercise that you actually enjoy. Or I'll send my kitty Mr. Purrie to come after you. :P
6. Have a clean, organized work space.
Trying to get work done in disorganized clutter stresses me out like woah.
Having a clean, simplified workspace really helps you focus!
(And I've already mentioned how FOCUS leads to productivity.) And you know what's one step better than having a workspace that is clean and organized? Having a workspace that also inspires you.
(Psssst, I've got an entire board on Pinterest dedicated to creative work spaces if you need some inspiration!)
Here's a peek at my own colorful workspace:
7. Schedule less, say "no" more.
If you're constantly scheduling more than you can handle, then you're always going to feel rushed and behind. And then when you DON'T get everything done?
You might feel kinda crappy, too. And that's no good now is it?!
Schedule LESS and get MORE done.
Also, learn to say "no." If you're not setting boundaries than eventually your sanity will go out the window! If something is not in line with your main goals, just say no.
For example, I will not say "yes" to anything that I either a.) don't have time for and b.) isn't in line with my main goals.
(Yes I always laugh at my coffee mug, why do you ask?)
8. Set up e-mail rules to keep your sanity.
Seriously. Do it.
Consistently checking your email throughout the day is one of the BIGGEST ways to derail your focus and productivity!
Guess how often I check my email?
Twice a week. That's it. (Yes, you read that right!) :P
Unless I am expecting a time-sensitive email, I literally just check it twice a week for a max of one hour each time. I log in, respond to as many emails as quickly as I can for one hour, and then log out and be done with it.
I don't keep my e-mail tab open on my computer and I don't get notifications on my phone or desktop. BEST BUSINESS DECISION EVER!!!! Well, one of them anyway.
So schedule time to check your email and then turn off ALL notifications for it.
9. Overestimate your time.
I'm kind of a perfectionist. Some times I can be a little slow in my work because I want to get it done perfectly, dag nabbit!
Plus, unexpected things happen.
So that's why you should put a little extra cushion into your schedule to allow for these types of things.
For example, if you're scheduling yourself to drive some where that's 15 minutes away, give yourself 25 minutes. Traffic happens. Getting lost happens. Getting tickets happen.
(That last one totally happened to me last week, ugh!!! Ehem.)
10. Stop Multi-Tasking
Seriously, stop it. I used to think, if I work on FIVE different things at the same time then that means I'll FINISH five things all at once and get a crap ton done! But guess what?
My focus was so scattered that it took me forever to finish anything, and I usually wouldn't even be happy with it when I was done because it never truly had my full attention for very long in the first place.
Limiting myself to just focusing on ONE main project per week has been such a sanity saver! And guess what? I GET WAY MORE DONE NOW. From start to finish.
Are you feeling more productive yet?
Say yes. Say it out load to the computer screen!
Hopefully you find some of these tips helpful! I know that doing these things have really helped me over the last several years.
What about you, got any tips that have helped YOU get more stuff done? Please share in the comments!
Cheers to getting lots of shiz done!