From Kait Fontenot… One thing no one tells you when you begin your own business is just how difficult it can be to stay on track. Let’s rewind 3 years to when I began my first business. No one told me how difficult it would be having to keep myself in check everyday and knowing when I could actually stop working. Partner that with being a new mom and it felt like I couldn’t keep my head above water. After three years, two businesses, and hundreds of clients later, I’ve found a few effective methods that keep me productive, on-task, and on-schedule. I’d love to share those tips with you today!
Tip 1: Own your space.
Working from home can be a little tricky, especially if you live in a small space. In my first business, I went from a 2,100 square foot home with an actual office to a small two bedroom apartment. In either one, I never took the time actually create a space for myself. Now, I cherish the time I’m able to sit in my office and feel completely at-ease. Having my own organized space helps me feel focused. If you’re living and/or working in a tiny space, you don’t have to feel bad about not having a true office just ensure the space you’re utilizing feels good. Rest assured, money spent creating a space where you can be creative is money well spent. I feel much more productive and creative when I’m in my own space versus sitting on my couch or in a coffee shop.
Tip 2: Stay organized.
In any business, being organized can make or break projects. I learned quickly that printing and holding onto too many papers makes me feel sloppy and confused. I go paperless as much as I can, utilizing Dubsado for contracts, invoices, and design proofs. I log receipts with Quickbooks and toss them to the side. Find a way to truly stay organized that helps your mind feel less cluttered and stick with a system! I purchased the Ikea Besta Storage Unit to keep papers, my printer, and unnecessary objects out of sight.
Tip 3: Have a realistic routine.
This is a huge one for me, as a mom. Working for yourself means you technically have no boss but you’ll quickly find that also means its very easy to want to stay in bed until lunch and stay awake until 1am binge-watching your favorite show. It took me a while to realize that even though I’m my own boss, I have to keep myself in check just like any of my other bosses would have. While I have access to things like Dubsado, SeventeenHats, and so many others, I find utilizing Google Sheets works best for me while mapping out my daily and weekly schedule. And, I can easily access it from anywhere. I wake up everyday at the same time, I try to go to bed at a good time to get enough rest, I take Thursdays entirely off work, and I map each days workflow out and use the highlight feature in Google Sheets (yes, I love google sheets!) to color-code items in terms of importance.
And here’s the thing: you need to be realistic with how you’re scheduling yourself. You are not superwoman and you know you aren’t able to complete that many tasks in one day. Be realistic and upfront with yourself and give yourself a little break if you can’t finish allll the things. I even utilize my schedule to add in gym time, which is essentially my brainstorm and de-stressing time.
Tip 4: Plan ahead of time.
One of the biggest stress-inducers with owning a business is how many hats we have to juggle ourselves! The quicker you learn to batch-create, the better off you’re going to be each day. I suggest find one day a month to sit down and map out a content calendar. In that calendar, you can curate each weeks’ blog posts and social media content. From there, I like to schedule my social media in Planoly and even have my hashtags prepared there. For weeks at a time, I don’t have to worry about what I’m promoting, what I’m posting, or how I’m going to stay active on social media when I’m too busy.
Another key piece of insight on this is to constantly be taking notes. I have a huge list of topics and ideas saved in the notes section of my phone that I can quickly pull from. I also carry a notebook around for when inspiration strikes.
Tip 5: Stay inspired and take care of yourself.
Burn out is REAL. I’ve experienced it more times than I can explain and it is debilitating. It is so easy to fall into an uninspired, unmotivated trap when you work alone most days. I suggest filling your work space with inspiring content, taking full days off to take care of yourself and pamper yourself a bit, saving the weekends for you and your family, and exploring the city you live in. Get out, meet local business owners, find a new lunch or coffee spot, and get to exploring!
And, when you feel yourself comparing to others on social media, remember its okay to take a break from following them. Its perfectly fine to step back and do what you need to do to stay inspired.
So, how do you stay productive? I’d love to hear how you avoid burn out and stay on-task!