Category: Operation Organization

My DAY-to-DAY scheduling strategy to get things done

daytodayschedule

I’ve been trying for awhile to really figure out how best to schedule my days. Organization is my worst skill- I’m continually surrounded by piles, I have more unfinished projects than days left on the earth and I feel like I’m always trying to catch-up.

I’m realizing that a large part of it is because- I don’t allow myself the time to get organized. I don’t make time for it. I find little moments here and there, but I never create the long stretches of space I need to really get things done.

I’m constantly trying to fit a little of everything into everyday, but I’m realizing more and more, the older I get, that it’s hard for me to switch gears between activities, and it’s hard for me to fight whatever my energy is that day.

If I’m in the mood for playing piano and painting, it’s going to be reeeeal hard for me to concentrate when I sit down to work, because I’m ignoring that innate urge that says “play! create! be!” So, some days I end up just giving into the muse. I let it take me away for the whole day, reading and gardening and singing at the piano til the cows come home.

By the end of it though, there’s a lingering guilt left over for not doing what I was “supposed” to do, for not working on all the things I know “should” be done….

But I love those creative, free, not-tied-down to anything days. I crave them. Those are the days when inspiration comes in, where I just ride my flow, the days where I re-engage with that fire within me. They’re the kind of days where blog posts, like this one, just spill out, begging to be written instead of me having to try to coax them out.

So, I want to just allow myself days like this, even make it “a thing”. Something I do. Something I make time for, and honor for myself, because it helps my work and life in so many other ways.

I’ve decided, I’m taking a FOLLOW MY MUSE DAY each week.

It’s on.

Thinking about dedicating a whole day to my muse made me start thinking about how it’d also be amazingly helpful and lovely to have a whole day to dedicate to cooking and cleaning and organizing, etc.

When I’m in the mood to clean and organize, it’s hard to pull myself away to sit down at the computer and write back emails. When I’m in the mood to work, it’s hard to stop and figure out what to cook for dinner. So, why not dedicate a whole day each week for getting organized around the house, too?

I need a day to sit down and make a meal plan, go grocery shopping, cook some meals for the week, PREPARE, instead of figuring it out at 5pm everyday. A day to pay bills and send mail and organize my desk and keep the counters clean. A day to plant herbs and pull weeds and make sure the blackberry bush isn’t sneaking over our neighbors fence again, before she gets mad at us.

I’m taking a DOMESTIC DAY each week, too.

I also need a GET OUT THERE DAY each week to pitch, figure out where to pitch, write guest posts and query letters to magazines. A day to schedule my blog posts and get my newsletter ready for the week, to hang out on social media and schedule updates. A day to answer emails!! I need a day to focus on the marketing stuff, to seek out the opportunities and look for new doors and avenues, to make connections and reach out. It all takes time that I haven’t been giving myself. 

I need an EDUCATION DAY each week to catch up on all those books, e-courses, newsletters, articles, TED talks and podcasts I haven’t properly gone thru yet (please tell me I’m not the only one?) There’s so much I want to learn about and so many resources I want to go through, but I’m so unfocused and scattered that all those things quickly become yet another unfinished project. I need a day to focus on learning and reading and researching, a day to go through the exercises and lessons, do some “homework”, strategize, IMPLEMENT ideas!

I need a WORK DAY each week. Just one? Wouldn’t that be THE JAM? Yes it would. I feel that one full day to focus on “work” is more time than I’m giving myself now, actually, by beboppin’ and scattin’ around all these different areas, trying to fit a little bit of everything into every single day. I’m almost never totally focused on work- it’s just one stop along the day-train that keeps on moving. 

If I had one whole day to not worry about cooking or cleaning or marketing or emails or anything else, but got to instead just focus on the project at hand? On my clients? To schedule meetings and bring my whole attention to them? A day to finish the to-dos that keep getting pushed to the next week over and over? I imagine that’d be much more productive, concentrated time I’d be spending on “work” than I’m allowing myself now, and I think it’d pay off in spades.

In essence, it’s ALL work, really. I’m just not going to call it that, because it doesn’t feel like it.

My creative/muse day is when I’ll likely be doing a lot of my writing work, because when I’m inspired and open (and thinking about something else) the words just flow. In the same way, I also tend to get really great ideas while I’m cooking and cleaning, and have to run to the office to write them down or grab my phone to record the brainstorm. From now on, I think I’ll just let my writing flow in between my days, naturally. I’ll let it come out when it’s authentically inspired to come out, rather than “when it’s time to write.” My creativity just doesn’t work like that.

I’ll also be doing a lot of work on the “get out there days”, marketing myself and making connections and reaching for opportunities- that’s half the battle right there in terms of success. As creative entrepreneurs, the work itself is usually the fun part, but the letting people know about it can be tough and impossible to find time for! It’d be a huge asset to my business to allow myself a whole day to focus putting my energy “out there.”

I’ll also be doing a lot of work on the education days, learning about new ideas to integrate into my business, doing exercises and implementing new strategies behind the scenes. This is some of the most important work for your business as well, the foundation, the bedrock. It’ll allow me to re-connect again and again to the whys of what I’m doing, and the hows! That’s essential to staying focused and on course. When you don’t connect back to that foundational element of learning, of being new again- that’s when you, and your biz, stop growing.

I hereby promise to myself to plan my schedule around how I work best!

  • I will no longer try to multi-task all day long!

  • I will no longer feel guilty about doing the things that pull me away from “work”, by realizing that, in actuality, they contribute to and enhance my work!

  • I will allow myself to pay attention to and heed the direction my energy wants to flow in!

  • I will schedule my week in a way that allows me to focus on one thing at a time, so I can get things done!

I guess I’ll have to check back in with you after I follow this schedule for awhile to let you know how it’s going 🙂 but, I already feel a weight lifted, more room to breathe, just from planning things out this way for the week.

What about you?

How could your schedule be changed to increase your productivity, and flow? What kind of “days” might you want to create for yourself to better focus, and get things done?

Blog Organization for Creative Businesses

Blog organization for creative businesses, Dannielle Cresp of Style for A Happy Home

Many of you will have blogs that relate to your handmade and creative businesses. You know they can be a great marketing tool, and you know that you need to spend some time working on them. But I’m guessing that for at least some of you, there’s always that pull telling you that you should be creating or making and not blogging.

There’s always something that needs doing when we run creative businesses. Whether it’s making a product, taking photos or just trying to keep up with a to-do list that has more things added than we tick off. It can be hard to justify that time to work on the business instead of in the business. If we want to do well, there’s always going to be that fine balance: Marketing vs Making.

We know that having a blog is great for marketing our businesses, but they take a lot of work, so I wanted to give you some tips to not only get your blog working for you, but also make it just that little bit less of that thing you can never make time for.

Have an Editorial calendar that’s realistic and achievable

Editorial calendars are the best. They let you plan your content in advance and let you see the big picture of what’s going up when. But, the trick to really making them work for you is not to get carried away with trying to have content everyday. If blogging is not your main business, then you don’t need new content on your site every day. Think twice a week and plan it in advance.

Think about your product release dates ahead of time and create content that compliments your product

Once you’ve got yourself an editorial calendar (mine is a large desk calendar from an office supplies store and some post-its), write in all your product release dates. If you don’t have any, it could be a good time to make some, they can always be moved if needed. Think about the content you could create that goes with the launch of that new product and how you can be useful to your customers. Try to think outside the box and not only about your product all the time. Your product fits within a niche, think about content that fits within that.

Batch your blog posts

If you’d rather be working on your business than blogging, batching posts is a great way to go. Write your editorial calendar for the month and then set aside a day, (or a few half days) to write as many of the posts for the month as you can. This works well for businesses because your content doesn’t have to match the news. Schedule them and mark them in your editorial calendar as done as you complete each. This also gives you a backlog of posts for when you’re heading into a busy season, and the beauty of having them scheduled is that if you have new content you must share quickly, you can always shift your content around without losing any of it.

Keep it simple

Your blog posts don’t have to be essay length. Write what you need to say on your topic of the day and keep it relevant and lighthearted. You could share some sneak peeks of up coming products or even a little bit of your process. If you want to mainly share some photos, then you only need as many words as fills in the story that’s being told through images. Keep the photography a great quality and think about your customer and what they’d like to know.

Blogging can be a wonderful tool for your creative business and it takes just a little bit of organization to get it running smoothly and allow you to get back to what you do best.

What organizational tools do you use to stay on track with blogging for your creative business? Share with our community in the comments!