In preparation for upcoming travel plans, I pushed myself to “work ahead” this week— a concept that’s practically foreign to me. The effects were almost infectious, with my tasks becoming easier and more enjoyable with each passing day. While it meant putting some of those big picture goals on the back burner, I know that when I return to them, I will be able to do so without interruption, and with a higher level of concentration.
Do you ever wonder what your fellow creative entrepreneurs are up to? In between the big wins, product launches, and collaborations are the small steps (some forward, some backward) that lead to those turning points. Here’s a transparent account of a week in the life of a gal in passionate pursuit of business growth, personal development and those magical milestones.
Monday, January 16th
My attempts to work on holidays and weekends have never proven to be very fruitful, but on this particular Monday, I made it work. Mr. MHD had the day off, so I designated just a couple hours as “computer time,” and let myself off the hook for the rest.
The fact that I only had two hours to work with, vs. my typical work day forced me to work more efficiently. I was kind of amazed at what I was able to get done in such a short amount of time.
I started by publishing a few “last call” promotions for DesignCuts‘ expiring bundle. If you are ever trying to sell something— whether it’s one of your own products or an affiliate, don’t underestimate the power of a “last chance” announcement (especially via email). Providing a sense of urgency will always lead to more sales, as long as it’s legitimate.
Once those posts and email were scheduled, I shifted my focus to the other side of my business! We recently began offering larger, 15oz sized mugs in our Etsy shop, but I had yet to create a template for the artwork. I took the existing designs for our 11oz mugs and copied them into a new document for the 15oz size. Instead of having separate templates for each mug design, I created a multi-page document in Adobe InDesign that houses all designs. Whenever we add a new design to our collection, we simply add it to the Master InDesign document, and then export as a JPG for printing.
Tuesday, January 17th
I took all the notes/plans from the Etsy planning session my sister, and I had last week and put our tasks into a Google spreadsheet, with assignments broken down by week, category, and due date. I have been known to get hung up on finding the perfect task management tool, but usually end up circling back around to Google spreadsheets. They lack the visual appeal that this designer craves, but you can’t argue with its efficiency (not to mention the price)!
Since the newest DesignCuts‘ bundle was released on Tuesday, I spent a good portion of the day scheduling a series of social posts and emails for the next two weeks to help promote it. As you may have noticed from Monday’s entry, I usually wait until the last minute to schedule my promos. This is not the way to do things!
Knowing that I would be out of town next week, I forced myself to work ahead, and get all promotions scheduled at once. Batch processing, or completing a series of similar tasks in one sitting, is incredibly efficient and is something that I really want to do more of this year.
Wednesday, January 18th
After scheduling all those promos on Tuesday, I was flying high from my sense of accomplishment and channeled that positive energy into doing more of the same on Wednesday.
This time, it was designing and scheduling Enchanting Mondays posts for the next two weeks. Admittedly, I usually work on these posts Sunday nights, mere hours before they go live. Yikes!
Not this time. A few hours later, I had two new printables designed, posts written, and promotions scheduled. I can’t tell you how good it felt to check those items off my to-do list.
The remainder of the day was spent designing a few magazine spreads for a freelance client— one that I’ve worked with for years, and who I adore. The best part about doing this type of work is that it’s so routine for me at this point, that it’s almost mindless— which left time to get lost in some good podcasts.
Thursday, January 19th
Behold, the power of cappuccino. I parked myself on a stool in my favorite local coffee shop on Thursday morning and completed all the printable designs and file formatting for an upcoming post for Elegance and Enchantment.
After a quick stop at Target for a few photo props, it was off to my home studio to print and take photographs for the blog post. Between the Broadway Showtunes playlist that I was listening to while shooting my photos and the lingering effects of the morning caffeine, I was feeling on top of the world by the time I had finished.
Friday, January 20th
The last day of the work week was spent doing a little of everything. I started by adding the two upcoming Enchanting Mondays posts I designed on Wednesday, as instant download listings in my Etsy shop. Many readers ask me if I get complaints from customers who might be upset to learn that I give away a majority of the items I sell in the shop, away for free on my blog. The answer: not one.
I also scheduled a bunch of social media posts, starting with Instagrams for Enchanted Prints for the entire next week (using Planoly). I haven’t been consistent with posting daily on this account, which I don’t love, but the reality is, it doesn’t have a ton of followers. When push comes to shove, my larger account takes priority.
While I was on the scheduling train, I added several evergreen social posts to Co-Schedule for the MichelleHickey.Design accounts. If you haven’t checked out their Re-Queue feature yet, I highly recommend it (especially if you’re into setting and forgetting).
After a week of productivity and working ahead, all that was left to do was to get ready for our trip to Nashville!
Lesson of the week:
When you push yourself beyond your regular working habits, amazing things happen. For me, this was getting ahead, instead of waiting until the last minute to complete my projects. Not only did I set myself up for a week of stress-free travel, but I was left with an enormous sense of accomplishment.
What I’m reading:
Still powering through The Power of Self‑Confidence by Brian Tracy. A must-read!
What I’m watching:
The Man in the High Castle, Season 2
What I’m listening to:
Lots of podcasts discussing The Man in the High Castle, because it’s that good, along with getting caught up on an old favorite, Pop Culture Happy Hour.
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