Achieving maximum productivity is a constant cycle.
- Analyzing your current habits
- Cutting items out
- Batching tasks together
- Prioritizing the tasks that are going to take you to the next level.
Rinse + Repeat
While you’re never really “done” the process of editing your schedule (more things always seem to show up on your list).
There are systems you can put in place to make it easier to achieve “maximum productivity”.
As a “creative” I THRIVE off of flexibility and do MUCH better when I don’t have a list of “shoulds” hanging over me.
However, I know that flexibility works best when there’s just a little bit of structure.
So when it comes to goal setting, I try to give myself a lot of space to move in different directions, but still have a “Big Picture” plan.
I’ve found this free download from Paper and Oats to be great starting point.
I try to write down one major goal I’d like to achieve - maybe it’s launching a course, or posting everyday on instagram - and that becomes my primary focus for the month.
Only having one major goal still gives me “wiggle room” to try new things or incorporate new ideas into my schedule.
I’m also a big believer in setting goals that YOU have control over.
For example, instead of "I want to grow my email list to X number subscribers."
Say “My goal is to publish 4 content upgrades this month on my blog”.
At the end of the day, you can’t really control getting people to sign up for your list. But you CAN control how many times you publish on your blog, post on social media, and execute on effective strategies that help your list grow.
Here are some tasks you might consider “batching”:
- Writing content
- Client work
- Creating Graphics
- Course creating / digital products
- Scheduling social media
- Taking photos
- Working on emails
Create a Batch Calendar
I’ve seen some people schedule “batching” into different days (Marketing Monday, Admin Tasks Fridays) - but that doesn’t really work for my “creative flow”.
And it’s SUPER important to focus on finding that “flow”.
For example, I’m hyper focused early in the morning - and as the day goes by, I seem to really slow down (especially around mid afternoon). And then, without fail around 4 I suddenly have a second wind.
So, I have 3-4 items on my to-do list each day and break my day into "time blocks" so I have a good amount of time to get each item completed.
Here’s what my day might look like:
- Early morning - write a blog post
- Mid morning - designing client work
- Afternoon - client meeting or emails
- Late afternoon - schedule instagram posts
It might work for you better to write blog posts ONLY on Mondays, or have 2-3 days of the week where you only work on client work. Like I said, it’s all about determining your own “creative flow” and for me, I like to mix it up a bit each day :P
What's your “creative flow”? Maybe your rubbish in the morning but LOVE working late at night. Whatever works best for you!
OH, AND - it's totally acceptable to simplify your day, especially if the weather is really great :)
What if I have a full time job and this is my "side hustle"
When I worked on my blog/business after my day job, I would try to only get ONE thing done per day.
I would try to work 1-2 hours in the morning before work and a couple hours in the evening.
I also loved (and still do) having early Saturday morning sessions of work time where I don't get any interruptions!
Carve out a couple of these "sessions" throughout your week and batch just 1 task in each session.
I truly believe that small steps add up over time and if you can conquer a couple tasks each week, by the end of the month it adds up to big progress:)
This is sometimes referred to as the “Pomodoro method”.
I set timers for EVERYTHING.
It especially helps if I’m procrastinating. I can convince myself that if I just write/design/tackle emails/whatever for only 20 minutes then I can take a break.
And then once I get started working, my day goes on with ease. (I seriously always fall for my own tricks!)
Project Management System
There are a million different project MGMT systems out there, and different processes.
I love and use Basecamp for nearly everything. I have all of my client projects on Basecamp, my own blog/website and I'm even planning my wedding using Basecamp, ha!
I would LOVE to do a meaty post about how I manage projects, because I think I have it down to a science :)
But for now, here’s a quick sneak peek:
At the start, I always create todo lists - these evolve as the project goes on, but it's a great starting point.
First I break the project into “Phases”. Typically:
- Brand Identity
I also create a to-do list called “feedback” so when my client logs on, they can easily see what their current focus is and it keeps the project moving smoothly.
You can create these "phases" for anything - your blog, course creation, client onboarding, etc!
- Set goals you have control over the outcome
- Batch everything
- Find your creative flow
- Set timers
- Utilize tools and systems to make it easier
- Don't forget to give yourself free time because, self-care!!!