Are you running around in circles, sitting at a desk covered in post it notes, waking up worried you forgot something? Maybe you are so busy getting through the day that you might finish that one reheated cup of coffee by 4pm? Are you ready to find more time in your days and reduce decision fatigue? Ready for those precious work hours to feel productive?
If you answered yes to any of that, I’ve been there. I was you. It was time for me to make a change. Let me tell you, I’m so glad I did!
Whether you are a multi-passionate entrepreneur, mompreneur (with or without childcare), just starting out or just plumb feeling overwhelmed, there are ways to reduce your stress and stay on top of things. Promise.
Before I share the top 5 ways that systems helped me juggle and do #allthethings the past 8+ years, let me paint a picture for you. For me, my plate was very full. I tend to do that to myself. It’s like I visit the all you can eat sushi bar (you know, the ones with the conveyor belt of never-ending deliciousness!) and don’t know when to stop! Now, I’ve gotten better at this, but every now and then, things creep back in and I find that my tasks overfloweth!
Until recently, I’ve always run my business(es) with a corporate job as well. If nothing else, it taught me how to prioritize and get serious about having systems in place that helped my life run as smoothly as possible. There was a lot of trial and error, but I’ve finally found something that works for me.
Not a copy/paste template that never gets tweaked or customized for your unique personality and business. We all work differently, serve different people and have a unique zone of genius. The way we structure our days and systems should absolutely reflect that as well.
So, how do you put those things in place and actually manage the chaos?! Here are the top 5 ways that systems helped my productivity:
This doesn’t necessarily mean having set office hours. If you’re like me and are also home with kiddos and no childcare, you know that’s not a thing. BUT, you should be able to set a total number of hours each week that you can dedicate to working. For me, that’s 2-3 hours per day. Whether I fit that in during nap/quiet time, early in the morning or after bedtime, I can realistically make that happen. Define what that time commitment is for you.
You saw that coming, right? Honestly, though. I have a defined & optimized workflow for all of my offerings, blogging, social media, duty days, etc. and you should too. Having those in place allows you to reduce decision fatigue and focus on the custom, unique areas of serving your people. That means that you’re not wondering where client projects are, what’s next or what small step you need to do in order to complete repetitive tasks.
Within those hours per week that you work, schedule a task for certain durations in each of those hours. For example, if I am writing a blog post, I’ve found that I can usually do that in 1 hour. So, I’ll block 1 of my hours for a blog post. If I’m recording video content, I know that I need 1 hour for one week’s worth of content. By telling my time where to go, I ensure that I’m focused, getting all the things on my list done and that the plan is realistic to execute.
tip: use Toggl to track how you spend your time and learn your habits.
The best laid plans always need a back up plan, right? Life happens. It’s important to have a system that can be flexible when you need it to be. Whether that means customizing a template email, moving tasks around or rescheduling them, or being able to assign things to others when needed, flexibility is key.
Possibly the hardest part. We can have all the systems and tasks perfectly blocked on our calendars, but if we don’t have the discipline to do the work, it’ll get us nowhere.
It really all boils down to structure. Getting there can feel daunting and it isn’t without a lot of reassessment along the way. It’s never going to be perfect the first time. Systems evolve, just like your business, over time. However, having a system in place is paramount to improving your productivity.
Are you already doing any of these things? What do you think you’ll try next?