Do you ever feel like you worked all. dang. day. only to look up from your laptop and realize you didn’t really get any closer to your goals?
Same girl. Same.
You’ve honestly got some pretty sick ideas for growing your business, and it would be totally achievable…if you didn’t have 1,000,001 other tasks eating up your time.
It can feel like the only solution is to work more hours (read: bump up your caffeine intake). ☕️
But you only have so many hours in a day (some of which you’d prob like to spend enjoying life) and being in constant hustle mode can only last so long.
Enter: the “Take Back Your Week” mini blog series.
This first post is all about the productivity side of things, and getting @&$! done so you can get on with your day.
But that is only half the equation!
So we’ll be following up with a post called “Take back your week: how to stop thinking about your biz when you aren’t working.”
(So be sure to keep your peeled for that too!)
I use Asana to organize and plan in my biz, and if I can’t get to a task on my list that day, I just bump it to the next.
But bumping the same task for weeks on end is actually stressing you TF out.
So either take action now, or take it off your list!
This is something I learned from Tim Ferriss!
And now that I actually live by it, I recognize that so many of those little to-do’s were just things I saw other people doing and thought I needed to be doing too, but that weren’t actually moving the needle in my biz.
If you haven’t done it by now, it clearly can’t be that important so just give yourself permission to scrap it and move on.
I get it, sometimes those massive projects call for late nights and alll the caffeine to make miracles happen.
But speaking from experience, it’s way too easy to let this become your norm!
I was recently chatting with my assistant about this very problem.
She told me that she legit enjoys working in my biz so much (her words!) that it can be hard not to want to work. all. the. time.
But deep down she knew this was a recipe for burnout!
It was helpful for her to create a time blocking calendar of her week which showed the number of hours she’d set aside for work, and the number of hours she would force herself to go out and play (yes, even if the work wasn’t done.)
For her it worked best to work mornings and evenings, taking a set number of hours off during the day rather than taking evenings off when is was way too easy and tempting to “just work a little longer.”
She was surprised to find that she was actually a lot more efficient knowing she had a deadline for when she had to turn off her laptop for that day!
When chatting with other online business owners about productivity, I usually hear two main themes:
A) They work best when they have a solid chunk of uninterrupted time and take zero breaks until the work is done.
B) They do their best work when they can take frequent breaks and complete projects in short bursts of work.
I’m definitely in the first camp.
Say I have an appointment at noon on Tuesday, then call at 3PM that same day, followed by a webinar at 7PM…
I can pretty much call that day a write-off because I’m not getting anything else done that day.
Whereas if I know I have big stretch of time ahead of me where nothing else is expected of me, and I can sit down and smash out crazy amounts of work in just one day.
Knowing this about myself, I try to schedule all my calls for the same day.
Same thing if I look at my list for the upcoming week and see I have a million little admin type tasks, I try to set a separate day for tackling those all at once, leaving the other days for uninterrupted work on those bigger projects like content creation or Square Secrets & Square Secrets Business course updates!
The problem with working for yourself is that no one is reminding you to take a 15 and a lunch.
You’re the boss now, which means you are also responsible for the well being of your employees (aka yourself!)
If you know you do better with frequent breaks, schedule them!
Don’t wait until your eyes start to glaze over and you’ve been staring at the same blank page for 1 hour before you realize you need a time out.
Set an alarm, and when it goes off, drop what you are doing!
Get a snack, step outside, tackle a non-work related task. Then come back refreshed and ready to kill it!
P.S. For a flashback to how I set up my weeks when I was still offering 1:1 custom design services, check out this post. A lot of those principles still apply to how I structure my week now!
Constantly checking your inbox is not making those inquiries or sales come in any faster.
Once a day is enough, especially if you can give an expected response time in your custom, on v on brand auto-response.
Your auto response is your chance to show your personality, while also setting boundaries early on!
Your potential clients will respect & value your time a lot more knowing you have boundaries, and you’ll be cutting wayyy back on the amount of time you spend sending “sorry, no” emails, because you’ve already addressed that FAQ in your auto-response.
You can check out my tips and scripts for spending less time in your inbox over here.
Want to know how I forced myself to stay out of my inbox?
I took the Gmail app off my phone.
It was kind of on accident actually…when I couldn’t log in after changing the password and gave up when Google needed me to complete eleventy-seven verification steps.
But it’s been nice not having 24/7 access and I’m rolling with it.
Automate your inquiry process with a CRM like Honeybook!
It’s crazy how many steps in the process you can hand-off if you take a little time up front to customize your workflow and email templates!
Check out this post on 12 ways Honeybook helps streamline your Squarespace web design business for more on automating your client process from start > finish!
Which brings me to my next point!
Is there something you are doing over and over each week on repeat? Find a way to automate it.
For example, when a student enroll in my Square Secrets Course, they are automatically enrolled in the newest version of the course – the one that covers how to use Squarespace 7.1 to build their site.
BUT they can also ask for complimentary access to version 7.0 if they need it!
Rather than have hundreds of students emailing us each week to request access, we set up a simple Zapier automation between Squarespace (where we host our website) and Teachable (where we host our courses) that allows them to auto-enroll themselves!
Yes, the softwares that help you automate can feel like a big investment when you’re starting out and on a baby business budget (I’ve totes been there!) but you can’t put a price on your sanity.
And you want the hours you are working to be spent getting stuff done! Not chasing the little things!
Speaking of the little things…
Are there things you are spending lots of time on in your business that could honestly be done just as well (or better) by someone else?
Say managing your inbox is currently a 1hr a day task.
As you grow your biz, you’re going to reach a point where it becomes a 2 (maybe even 3) hrs a day task.
You may want to ask yourself if responding to 50+ emails a day is really the best use of your time…
Orrrr is there someone else who with proper training and the info could take this massive to-do off your plate?
The inbox (and a lot of little admin tasks just like it) are sort of maintenance tasks.
While they are necessary to keep the cogs turning, they don’t really require constant decision making or coming up with new ideas to get the job done.
So these are the types of things you can easily pass on to someone else!
This frees you up as the business owner to focus on how you plan to move your business forward.
Outsourcing means you spend a lot less time working in your business and more time working on your business!
Everything feels like a priority when you are the one in charge and wearing all the hats.
But if you haven’t looked at your goals lately, it might be time to sit down and take a long hard look at what it is you’re really trying to achieve here!
Prioritizing your end goals will help you to know exactly where to focus your efforts when you do sit down to work.
It really is possible to spend all day every day working in your biz and never actually gain any traction.
Focus on your one thing!
And then think about whether the tasks you have in front of you serve that one thing.
If not, give yourself permission to let those things go, at least until you’ve achieved goal #1.
Getting clear on your most pressing goals helps you prioritize the daily, weekly and monthly things you spend time on in your biz.
And not just your goals for you business, either!
Want a real life example? Check out this post.
Trouble turning off your brain when you are off the clock?
Tune in next week where I’m sharing my best tips for taking back your life and stop obsessively thinking about your biz!