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    5 Tips for a More Productive Day

    By Dannielle Cresp

    5 Tips for a More Productive Day by Dannielle Cresp on Creative Womens' Circle

    Productivity and creativity aren’t always the best of friends. Sometimes you’re really feeling it and want to do all the things and other times it can feel a bit like you’re wading knee-deep through mud. Here are some of my favourite ways to push through and make a really productive day.

    • Start with Two To-Do Lists. First write down all the things you need to get done, not just today, but all of them. Doesn’t matter about order or priority for the mean time, just get them all down on paper. Once they’re all there, take a highlighter and highlight all the ones you want or need to get done today. Put them on your second to-do list and put that first big one out of sight.
    • Get your working environment ready. It might seem like procrastinating but think about what you need for the tasks on your to-do list and get them out so they are within reach before you start. Nothing makes it harder to stay productive than searching for something you need desperately mid-task. Also get a bottle of water so you’re keeping hydrated whilst working.
    • Decide the order of your to-do list and eat the frog first! When deciding the order of tasks, do the hardest thing, or the one you don’t feel like doing the most, first. Then do something that’s quick and/or something you enjoy. Once that thing you didn’t want to do is out of the way you’ll feel lighter and more able to get on with everything else.
    • Batch your tasks so you can stay in the right mindset. Need to write a series of blog posts? Do a few together whilst you’re focussed on writing. Need to organise your social media for the week? Schedule your posts and social media updates in one hit – guarateed to make you feel super on top of it all.
    • Take proper scheduled breaks. It might seem counter-productive to be taking a break when trying to be productive but it’s amazing what 20 minutes of fresh air and slowing down will do for you during your efficiency and creativity. If you try to run at full speed all day, everyday, you will get tired and worn out and your productivity will suffer. Taking a break allows your body and your brain to reset and even in a world of deadlines, we all need that!

    Just a little bit of planning at the beginning of the day can really help make it a more productive – and ultimately more creative -one. Giving yourself the permission not to do everything on your big to-do list and just taking it one day at a time can really make a big difference. Tackling each day like this really helps you to prioritise what the important things are to you and your creative business, which is the cherry on top!

    Dannielle is a blogger, serial organiser and passionate traveller. She has a secret love of 90s teen movies and can often be found hanging out on Pinterest. She is on a mission to help people bring happiness (and fun) back into their homes with a dash of organisation and a sprinkle of their own awesome style over at her blog Style for a Happy Home.

    Image from © Lime Lane Photography with text overlay


    Posted by: Dannielle Cresp
    Categories: organise me, regular columns | Comments Off
    Posted on

    My Advice: Staying on top of admin

    By Lizzie Stafford

    There aren’t many small creative business owners who would openly admit to loving their admin work. Tasks like bookkeeping, emails, invoices and social media build up and eventually seem to take over, so you feel like you have little time left for the actual creating. We asked three organised business owners how they stay on top of the books without going insane. In the wise words of potter Ilona Topolcsanyi: “Admin is like a leg wax: if you move quickly, the pain is minimal and the results are pretty damn sexy.”

    admin-main-2

    Check your emails twice daily. No more, no less.

    Bek Smith, photographer, Bek Smith Photography & Journal

    “Keeping on top of admin is so important when running a business and it’s sometimes easy to let the most important tasks slip past you if you don’t have a productive system in place. As a photographer running my own business, the best piece of advice I have been given is to check your emails twice daily. No more, no less. This way you can tackle your inbox in two chunks and focus your full attention on each gorgeous client.”

    admin-natcaroll

    Create a routine. Schedule manageable, bite-sized tasks into your weekly calendar. 

    Nat Carroll, creative director, designer & illustrator, the Seamstress

    “Instead of leaving things like marketing, taxes and blog writing to the last minute, which leads to unnecessary stress and tight deadlines, try creating a weekly routine that incorporates these tasks into more manageable, bite-sized items that you can follow through on every week.

    Try to stick with it, no matter how busy you might be. Block it out in your calendar. I find Monday mornings are a good, quiet time in the week to plan my goals, write posts for my blog or work on my next self-promotional piece. I also like to finish up on Friday afternoons by dealing with my finances; I’m creatively exhausted by then and need a different kind of task to carry me through until the start of the weekend.

    I’ve found that approaching my business in this way creates more structure to my week, which helps when you only have yourself to answer to. I’ve also found that I am closer to my goals because I’ve worked at them every week, in little baby steps, instead of feeling overwhelmed by my ‘to-do’ list and struggling to find the time to make those things happen.”

    admin-potter

    Your time is important. Regularly measure and assess the value of it.

    Ilona Topolcsanyi, potter, Cone 11 Ceramics + Design Studio

    “In the first few years of our business we needed to do everything ourselves because we couldn’t afford to pay someone to do it for us. As the business grew, we assessed the value of our time. We asked ourselves: “Would we be better off paying someone to do that so we can concentrate on what we do best?”

    What are (my) roles and responsibilities? Can I afford to hand this task over to someone else? If not, then am I equipped with the skills and knowledge to complete this task within a reasonable time frame? Will it save me time and money to be trained?

    A few simple computer programs allow a lot of the boring tasks to be automated, reducing the amount of time I need to spend tied to my desk.

    I use Campaign Monitor (to manage the studio mailing list and e-newsletter). We have an ipad in the studio with a link to the subscriber page (on our website), which allows visitors to join the mailing list. Gone are the days of transcribing the long list of illegible email addresses.

    For the bookkeeping we use QuickBooks and take advantage of features such as automated recurring expenses, importing electronic bank statements and issuing quotes that I can easily turn into invoices. While we can’t afford a regular bookkeeper, we also can’t afford countless wasted hours trying to figure it out. So we invested in some basic training.

    For the rest of the tasks that I can’t teach my computer to do for me I allocate two mornings a month with a lovely cup of coffee, a raspberry danish from Dench Bakery and re-runs of Sex in the City.”

    Lizzie Stafford is a freelance writer and editor and owns and runs Künstler, an independent magazine and bookstore based in Winn Lane, Brisbane. She is the Brisbane events coordinator for CWC.

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    Posted by: Lizzie Stafford
    Categories: business tips, my advice, organise me, regular columns | Comments Off