The 'NOT' Routine
I am an organized person. I fold my underwear neatly, sort my BluRays alphabetically and have to place my pint glasses with the label facing out. When it comes to clients I am the queen of google docs and I like to choreograph the ceremony, like its a silent dance of 8 counts
We ready? Aaaand go, 2..3..4, wait 5..6..7..8, now you! 2..3..4, slow your pace, 6..7..8
If you understood that at all, then you are totally my people.
But when it comes to working days, especially those in my home office (**Proof for the IRS that I do indeed use the 100 sq. ft room for business purposes**), I refuse to stick to a schedule. And to be honest I am still trying to figure it out, and am constantly trying different tricks and tips, from The Ivy Lee Method, to making systems and using them, to taking scheduled breaks every 30 minutes (ha!).
In fact it was part of what made being self-employed so appealing, know that every day is a new adventure, every week is filled with NOT routines.
That's right. A NOT routine. The way that works best for me to be productive and get shit done (#GSD), is to do whatever works best in that moment on that day. In case you are skeptical let me assure you, I am productive lol. I've got a wedding season calendar filled with 20+ events, I spit out about 15 blogs a month and don't forget those client meetings that average 2 hours in length (AVERAGE!!), weekly seminars and educational stuff, networking coffee dates, and of course, seeping out the edges of my life is time with my husband and our multitude of vacations. You heard right, I vacation a ton. Like June had me at 4 weddings and spending two long weekends camping - ahoy ahoy.
How does it get done? It does, really, it does, all thanks to my NOT routine.
Certain things have been proven successful to increase my productivity, so instead of saying, 'I should really do that more often', I just do it. It's that simple. Nike swoosh your day and just do it. Here is what works for me (and most humans in general):
- SLEEPING LIKE A BABY
Yes, I get 10 hours of sleep a night. Some might argue being childless is to blame and I might have to agree. But seriously sleep is SO important! It's not just to recharge your batteries, it's to fight off infections or feelings of crap, it's to let your brain rest and process the day. Sleep is more important than diet and exercise,
- STAYING HYDRATED
Yup, water water water. Drink it like a fish. Add lemon to help out your liver, or drink tea to be cool like me. Currently sipping on Margaret's Soother from TeaSource.
- TAKING BREAKS
At least set a timer so you can see what a time suck Facebook is. I like to get up and walk around, sometimes bathroom breaks turn into dance parties which helps blood flow, then I can concentrate better when I sit back at the computer. Here's where I will mention my favorite Spotify channels: Jazztronica, Coffee Table Jazz, Country Coffeehouse, Brain Food and Acoustic Covers. Currently toe tapping to Study Vibes.
- EATING HEALTHY SNACKS THAT GIVE YOU ENERGY
Aside from snacking on rabbit food, I also enjoy smoothies, e'ry morning. I add hemp protein and cinnamon to whatever mix of frozen fruits for a guaranteed delicious breakfast. Which means my day is more productive because I have easy to use, good for my cells, fuel. The gluten free version of eating your wheaties.
- SCHEDULED WORK DAYS
That means blocking off time on the calendar and designating it as a work day. No meetings, no lunches, no networking or open houses. Just be in your office and #GSD. During slow season I block off multiple days a week, in the summer it looks more like 1 day a week minimum.
- 1 DAY A WEEK WITHOUT WORK
Just like you have to dedicate one day to work, you should absolutely dedicate 1 day to not working. A whole day for family and fun, NO emails allowed. CHALLENGE: quickly Instagram in the morning and then turn your phone off. Like completely off. I try to have a 'weekend', that means two days off, every Sunday and Monday.
- GET INSPIRED BY OTHERS SUCCESS
By changing my perspective on competition and success (thank you Jenna Kutcher) I'm able to scan through my Instafeed and only feel inspired (mostly, I mostly only feel inspired). I opt for the newsletters for Borrowed and Blue, Aisle Society, and a few other friends so that I can get Pinterest content delivered straight to my inbox. Wahbam. Staying up to date on current trends and obtaining plenty of diverse content for my Tailwind App scheduling sessions. But at the same time getting inspired from others who are where I want my business to go.
- ONLY CHECKING EMAILS 3 TIMES A DAY, CLOSING THE TAB AT ALL OTHER TIMES
- PUTTING PEN TO PAPER SANS-INTERNET
There are times when the internet is just a procrastination station. I get to 15 blogs a month by writing uninhibited and often. I'll ramble away in something old school like TextEdit OR one of my old College Ruled notebooks. This also helps when I think I have an idea that is just not inspiring me, if I can't even make an outline (remember high school English) then it's likely not going to magically turn into a good blog post.
- CTRL C + CTRL V: REUSE CONTENT
This makes everything all the more efficient. It helps so I don't have to wrack my brain for every little bit of content creation, trying to think up something new and insightful. I copy and paste into Instagram and Facebook posts, but also my newsletter. Its the best way I know of for avoiding writer's block!
- BRAIN DUMP + TO DO LISTS
9P is when I try to shut down for the night, and the last thing I do is a brain dump, which sorts itself into a to do list. Writing down ALL of the things I think I should get done and numbering them for importance. This helps me sleep at night, cause I know I've organized my thoughts. And sleep helps me kick ass at the to do list the next day, it's like the Kreb's cycle of self-employment.
It's easy to feel overwhelmed as a small business owner, especially when your team is the size of one, you and only you. By staying on top of and organized with things like 'hours spent on clients', mileage and ROI for wedding fairs, I am able to keep a good perspective on what is or isn't working in my business and where the actual money making time is spent. I also use Trello (organizing blog posts + client story) and Honeybook (client management + booking tool) so that the method to my madness will be easily replicate-able once (if??) I decide to expand this gig.
While I may shower at different times, work out sporadically, and dedicate different days every month to scheduling and creating content, the NOT routine works well for me! How do you manage your time?
Still stuck on the 10 hours of sleep a night? Here's a post for all you insomniacs on how I beat the heat and get some sleep.
Prosperity, Love & Happiness,
Header photo by Barbie Schwartz - see more here.