How I Maximize My Time as A Creative Entrepreneur
It’s so easy to get distracted by all the things we have to do, like planning for Instagram, responding to emails, editing work, or just watching videos on YouTube.
But getting back on track with your tasks can be a bit of a challenge sometimes, right?
One of my goals for 2023 is to maintain a consistent schedule and see how it improves my productivity and overall calmness.
And you know what? So far, I love it.
It’s not perfect, but it works.
By planning out my content months in advance and doing weekly recaps of my projects, I’ve found that I feel more clear-minded during the week and less stressed out about work on the weekends. Isn’t that what we’re all going for?
Outlined in the article, you’ll find the steps I took to create my schedule for the next few months and the strategies that have worked best for me and my business as a creative (which used to be a huge pain point).
- The steps I took to create my schedule for the next few months
- The strategies I’ve found to work best for me and my business
Find the Constants
Identify the tasks that you perform consistently, such as checking emails, writing blog posts, and sending newsletters. These tasks may get lost in your to-do list, but they are things you do on a weekly basis.
Some examples from my business:
- I write new blog posts, newsletters, and Instagram posts every week.
- I am doing coaching and mentoring sessions with creative entrepreneurs, teaching yoga classes, and handling administrative tasks.
Make a list of simple, weekly tasks that you perform repeatedly and that take up a lot of your time. Categorize each task according to its type, such as creative, administrative, or teaching.
Schedule time-blocks and combine similar tasks
Once you have combined all of your tasks into similar categories, you can block out time on a regular basis to work on them in a streamlined and more productive way.
Think about it — you wouldn’t go to the grocery store in the morning, come home and eat, and then go back out to the pharmacy for your prescription that’s right next door to the grocery store, right? You would probably just add both stops to the same trip.
Scheduling your time to accomplish tasks in your business is a similar idea.
Let’s use my blog and newsletter as an example again:
Both of these tasks involve writing copy, coming up with content to share with a similar audience (creative entrepreneurs), and planning out where and when I’m going to share the content well in advance.
After finding the combination of tasks that worked for me, I decided to schedule content writing every Monday morning when I’m fresh and excited about the week. Then, on Fridays, I complete final editing and make any necessary touches.
Combine your tasks into similar categories and choose a consistent day of the week to accomplish those specific tasks. You can have dedicated days for creative activities or administrative tasks. I highly recommend this approach.
Plan out what you can
Your goal is to create a schedule for the next few weeks to a month.
Last year, I decided to be more organized. This year, I’ve committed 100% to ensuring that my blog posts go live on Wednesdays and my emails to the community go out on Saturdays — consistently.
I’ve set a hard weekly deadline to complete my content, so I no longer forget that I haven’t sent an email in two weeks. Planning my content in advance for a month for the community and my blog helps me stay on track, avoid any delays, and reduce overall stress.
- Plan everything out. If you plan it, it’s important.
- Make Google Calendar your best friend. I see it as more of a boss, but it’s one of the best steps I’ve taken for my overall productivity.
Create an “external brain”
Using your memory to store everything is stressful and unreliable. Instead, you can create an “external brain” that stores everything reliably, offers instant access, and frees your mind for more interesting work. — Ari Meisel, Less Doing, More Living.
Have you ever had a great idea, only to forget about it later?
Have you ever read something interesting that inspired you to create something, but couldn’t find the link when you needed it?
If so, you need an external brain to help you keep track of everything and stay focused on what’s important.
Here’s how I do it: I use an external brain to capture ideas, articles, podcasts, screenshots, books, and anything else that comes to mind during the day.
This way, I can deal with them later when I have more time.
- I use Notion to capture my ideas, but you can use whatever tool works best for you, such as Notes, Todoist, or Google Drive.
- I organize my ideas into different lists, such as articles, books, and podcasts, to make them easier to find later.
- I come back to these lists when I need inspiration and ideas.
Manage distractions and interruptions
Taking control of what grabs your attention is the biggest hack to being productive.
Have you ever worked hard all day, yet felt like you haven’t accomplished much?
This could be because you did a little bit of everything, such as answering emails, checking notifications, and replying right away, instead of focusing on what actually matters.
This feeling of being busy but not productive has become commonplace.
I believe the pace of today’s world is too fast for our brains, and feeling overwhelmed and unfulfilled at the end of the day has become a common experience. Here are the steps I take to protect my energy and stay focused:
- Turn off notifications when you’re working on your most important tasks.
- Use your mornings to work on what’s most important to you, and let the rest of the day be about other people’s needs (emails, Slack, calls, meetings, etc.).
- Keep your workplace organized. I can’t work if things are not in order around me. Before starting my workday, I make sure to tidy up the house.
- Set boundaries with social media. If your business requires you to be online, be mindful of when and how much time you’re spending on it. Make a plan for when you’re posting, when you’re engaging, what kind and how much content you consume. Feel free to unfollow if what you see on your feed is not uplifting you.
Before you go
Some days and weeks will be better than others. The structure I’m using is not about being perfect, but about having a clear and functional plan. So, be compassionate with yourself when things are not working out as planned. Take a half-day off if you need it. Do whatever you need to recharge, but always come back to your plan.