guest post by Meagan Visser of MeaganVisser.com
Let me paint you a picture:
Your alarm goes off & you get out of bed. You go get the kids up, get everyone breakfast & dressed for the day. An hour later the kids are off to school or to the babysitter, & you get to work. Where to begin? You have so many things you need to do.
You start by spending some time reading your emails & replying to the ones you need to. Then you head over to your social networking sites where you update your status & spend an hour chatting it up with friends & acquaintances. Plus you spend about 30 minutes playing Sorority Life…you couldn’t resist!
Next you check out your favorite creative & small business blogs, trying to get some inspiration for the day. After a while you get to work on your blog & the post that you need to get out today. Now its crunch time because you have no idea what you’re going to blog about, but you conveniently come up with something. It’s not as great as you’d like, but it’s something at least.
Finally time for lunch!
After lunch, you know you need to create some new items for your shop or website, but you’re tired & don’t feel motivated to do it right now. You definitely need to get your sold orders packaged & ready to ship so you do that instead. Once you’re done with packaging, you make a run to the post office to ship your products.
When you get back home you have an hour before the kids get home so you decide to do some cleaning because your house is a mess!
Lastly the kids are home, you make snacks, assist with homework, make dinner, have some family time, & then get everyone going with bedtime routines.
Once the kids are in bed, you start feeling the pressure of all the other things you needed to get done that day, so you stay up late that night trying to get as much done as you can even though you know you’re going to be tired & run down the next day.
Does this sound like you?
Do you think the person in this story got a lot accomplished for her business that day? Maybe a little, but she sounds a bit disorganized & frazzled to me. It sounds like she decides what she’s going to do for the day as she goes along. She doesn’t have a plan or direction.
It also seems that she spent WAY too much time on low leverage tasks & not enough time on high leverage tasks that will benefit her business. She’s done things she needs to do such as checking & responding to emails, building relationships on social media, & writing a blog post, but those things aren’t high leverage tasks. They’re low leverage tasks. They aren’t going to get her results as quickly as making & listing new products, sending out an email newsletter with a coupon code, or even getting her business or product featured on an appropriate blog.
So today, I’m going to share 5 things you can do that will get your day organized & help you to accomplish what you need to.
The first step is to find out how many blocks of time you have available during the day for work. Building a business takes a lot of time & hard work, but you don’t have to overwhelm yourself. Build your business around your ideal lifestyle. If you only want to work 6 hours a day, then you have 6 one hour time blocks in your day for work activities. If you have 12 hours a day that you can use for work, then you have 12 one hour time blocks.
Now that you know how many blocks of time you have available for work related activities, you need to fill those blocks in with tasks that you need to get done throughout the day. So make a list of everything you can think of that you need to do for work. It’s called a brain dump! Write it all on a piece of paper.
Once your list is complete, take your pen or pencil & start crossing off the things that you don’t have control over. So, if you have something on your list like “get product photos finished” & you’re using a photographer to photograph your product then that’s out of your control. You can’t get the photographer to move quicker. That’s up to them & their schedule. So mark it off. You only need to keep things on there that you can control.
Now that you have your list cut down to the things you can control, you need to go back through it & put a #1 next to the most important things. These will be things that you have to get done today. Things like packaging & shipping sold orders, attending a meeting, marketing on social media & sending out your email newsletter.
Now you’ll put a #2 next to the things that need to get done this week. This includes things like writing & scheduling blog posts for the coming week, making new items for your shop, & reading a chapter or two from that new business book you just bought.
Lastly, put a #3 next to the things that need to get done this month like updating your website’s about me page, pitching your products to blogs, any guest posts you need to write, & filling out upcoming craft fair applications.
Now you need to take the items labeled with #1 & schedule them into the appropriate time blocks for the day.
So if you decided that you only wanted to work 6 hours a day, then you have 6 one hour time blocks to fill with your items labeled #1. If it takes you an hour to get your email newsletter ready to send out, then that will go into an hour time block. If the meeting you have today is only 30 minutes long, then schedule it into a 30 minute time block. If you want to spend an hour marketing your business on social media, break it up into 4 – 15 minute blocks or 2 – 30 minute blocks that can be spread out throughout the day.
Take #2’s & go ahead & schedule them into the time blocks you have available during the rest of the week, as well as scheduling #3’s into time blocks for the month. Scheduling things ahead of time will help you to be more organized & not at a loss for what to do when the time comes to work each day.
Now all you have to do is look at your schedule for the day & go down the line. If you get things done early then tackle some of the other tasks you’ve scheduled for later on in the month, catch up on blog posts, work on graphics for your blog, take a bath & enjoy a glass of wine, meet a friend for lunch, get some cleaning done, whatever you want to do with the rest of your day. At this point it’s totally up to you because you had a productive day & you don’t feel stressed. You accomplished all that you set out to & you even have tasks ready for tomorrow.
ONE LAST THING:
It’s a good idea to set down & plan the next day’s schedule the night before. The point is that you want to have your day laid out before it even starts. You want to be prepared & ready to get to work. You don’t want to waste time trying to figure out what you should be doing.
Do you have ways of staying organized & accomplishing tasks in your business that work well for you? Share them with me in the comments below!
Meagan Visser is a wife, mother, & creative entrepreneur. She lives in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains of East Tennessee with her family where she enjoys building her own creative business, Baby Swank, as well as teaching other moms with families how they can do it too on her website, MeaganVisser.com. Sign up for her weekly updates & receive her Time Management Series FREE! Connect with her on Facebook & Twitter.