Running your own business comes with the perk of taking personal time when you need it, but the challenge is learning to manage it. When you know that your work will be interrupted (as mine will be quite often in the next few months), it becomes more important than ever to use that time intentionally. This week was filled with lots of hacking in pursuit of productivity and ended with a game-changing lesson that left me yearning for the next Monday to roll around so I could put it into practice. Seriously, who gets excited for Mondays?
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, February 13th
I carried over my new habit from last week by starting the day with “Tiger Time.” One completely uninterrupted hour to chip away at my biggest, most important project (overhauling my Enchanting Mondays Library). This exercise alone is strengthening my ability to be fully present in whatever I’m doing, even when I’m not completely cut off from distraction.
I may have spent the previous Friday prepping for my business, but a last-minute decision to spend the weekend at Disney World meant I started the week behind on my chores. A good part of the rest of day was spent getting caught up on not so glam domestic tasks like grocery shopping and laundry. I hesitate to even include that sentence in this post, but sometimes reality is just that dull. While mundane, those responsibilities needed to be taken care of— otherwise, they’d be in the back of my mind (and in my face) distracting me from my work.
Tuesday, February 14th
Happy Valentine’s Day! Our weekend getaway to Disney was our Valentine’s Day gift to one another, so this particular Tuesday was just another work day, which was good considering how little I got done on Monday.
Since DesignCuts had just released a new bundle (which I always get giddy about), I spent a couple of hours scheduling promotional emails, Graphic Goodies of the Week emails and social media posts that span the next two weeks. “Batch processing” those tasks has proven to me that this method of working is even more efficient than I ever imagined.
Because I am essentially doing the same exact steps, in the same order, every time, a rhythm has been established. I move through the entire process with ease and efficiency and without the need to stop and think.
One of the books I’m reading, called “The Power of Habit” completely cemented my belief in this methodology. After conducting tons of research, the author confirmed what he had long suspected—that our brains crave repetitive tasks and routine. His discovery makes perfect sense. When our brain knows what to do, it doesn’t need to work as hard. By giving our minds a break, we can save that brain power for critical decision making and those really important tasks.
The next item on my to-do list was something I needed a lot of brain power for— writing a new post for this blog, outlining all the tools and services I use to run my business. I recognized that this was an entirely different type of undertaking and approached it in another way.
Rather than try to get the post written all in one afternoon, only to set myself up to fail, I broke down my tasks into different steps— one for outlining, one for research, and three for the actual writing.
This act didn’t just make the process seem more manageable but set realistic expectations. Old Michelle would think she could get the entire post done in a couple of hours, and then feel defeated and discouraged when faced with the reality that there was still so much more to do.
The more I study productivity, the more I’m learning that the hard work lies in the planning, and if you do it right, the execution is the easy part!
Wednesday, February 15th
On Wednesday morning (after “Tiger Time” of course), I logged a few hours doing a freelance assignment. While there are moments when I see this work as an interruption to my business, I also welcome the break to do design work that requires no thought.
I used the afternoon to chip away at the blog post I outlined on Tuesday. A lot of this “research” step involved making sure that I was enrolled in affiliate programs for the products and services I use. I’m a big fan of referral marketing because it means I get to recommend companies that I genuinely love, my readers get the benefit of finding new resources, and in turn, we are both supporting a business that helps us. Wins all around!
Not every company advertises that they have an affiliate program, so don’t hesitate to shoot them an email to double check if you want to give them a plug. I ended up with two additional referral links as a result of simply asking!
Thursday, February 16th
I only logged about two hours of work on Thursday— one to work on The Enchanting Mondays Library overhaul, and the other for freelance work.
The rest of the day was spent scurrying around, cleaning, grocery shopping, cooking and preparing for a special visit from my Mastermind Group and their families.
Friday, February 17th
My favorite day of the year so far! After connecting online, Lauren from The Thinking Closet and Kalyn from Creative Savings Blog and I formed our Mastermind Group a couple of years ago, and have been blogging besties ever since. We traded in our usual bi-monthly Skype dates for an epic, in-person strategy session to define our brands, establish our “why” and re-write our mission statements.
After a break to take a walk on the beach, and have dinner with our families, Lauren led our evening session where we studied the oh so important topic of time management. We learned to classify our responsibilities and tasks based on our energy levels ( high, mid and low). And we also came to understand that it’s not just what we are focusing our energy on, but WHEN, that’s crucial for performance.
While it may make more sense to use your highest levels of energy on the tasks you dread, this just means that you are cheating your personal gifts and talents. Instead, use your best time of day to work on the things you’re the best at, which in turn will allow you to rise as a leader and an expert in your field. Powerful stuff.
I’m so excited to put this new tactic to use, and hope that you will give it a try as well!
Lesson of the week:
Fully commit to what you are doing when you are doing it. Be present. Identify the best hours to do the things you’re already good at, and continue to grow and develop in your chosen field. The best way to serve others is to focus on less, with greater care.
What I’m reading:
What I’m watching:
Finished up Sneaky Pete, Season 1
What I’m listening to:
Whenever there is craziness, and I need focus, I always default to my good friend, Glenn Miller (and his Orchestra).
This post contains affiliate links.