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    Category Archives: organise me

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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.


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

    How to Take a Break from Social Media (Without Your Business Suffering!)

    How to take a break from social media without your business suffering

    Do you ever feel stressed about taking a break from your social media and losing all your traction with your followers/clients/customers? It can be hard to switch it off, especially when it’s such a great marketing and customer service tool for your creative business. But every once in a while you will need to step away.

    Here are some great ways to do it without losing your following:

    • Let your readers/clients/customers know before you go, and if possible, how long you’ll be away. Keeping them in the loop is better than just disappearing without a word.
    • Ask them to sign up for your blog’s RSS feed and schedule content for the time you are away. Consider organising guest posts where it’s appropriate or re-publish a series of your most read posts.
    • Have someone take over your social media accounts for that time. If you’re taking significant time off, like maternity leave, and have a business that mostly works without you there (passive income or a shop with ready made goods), consider taking someone on for that time to post to your social media accounts and pack orders.
    • Use a service like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule your Twitter posts in advance, so you don’t lose your reach. Facebook has recently improved their scheduling service too. Let your readers know that you’re doing this and that you might not be there to answer questions a couple of times before you take the break.
    • Decide if Instagram will be included in your social media break – it might seem weird to take a break but still use one social network, but if you’re taking a holiday to a great destination, you can keep your followers in the loop with a holiday happy-snap here and there.
    • If you’re still working but taking a ‘digital sabbatical’, let your clients know that you’ll still be available by email or your regular channels. But if you’re closing up shop as well as taking a social media break, consider preparing some great “we’re back” social media content that’s ready to go when you are back and working again.

    Taking a break from social media, or even from your business, doesn’t have to mean that you’ll be back at the beginning once you log back in. Most people understand that everyone needs a break to recharge their batteries. Having a clear strategy for your social media while you’re away – frequency, content – can help you truly relax while you’re on that break.

    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


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

    Organise Me: 7 Fun Ways to Get Organised for 2014

    Organise Me: 7 Fun Ways to Get Organised for 2014 for Creative Women's Circle

    Can you believe that this year is nearly over? Where did it go?! It might still feel like you’re rushing towards the finishing line for 2013, but I wanted to give you some ideas on ways that you can start 2014 off with a bang!

    Here are my fun ways for getting organised to make 2014 your best year yet:

    • Write down the crazy big goals you’d like to achieve in the next year. They can be business or personal. Use coloured pens and make it look fun to look at. You could draw little pictures next to them too.
    • Buy a big desk calendar and add some monthly goals to it that will get you closer to your big goals. Make deadlines for the big goals you identified. Having goals on a calendar helps to make you accountable and can keep you on track. You could colour code your goals and deadlines for personal, business, skills or travel. Pick the colours that make you happy to look at.
    • Sketch up how you would like your workspace to look and think about what you could add (or remove) to make it flow better and help you be more efficient. Whether it’s a whole room or just your desk, it is so much nicer to work with when everything has a place and you don’t constantly feel buried under mess or can’t find anything.
    • Make a mood board or a Pinterest board for your workspace or desk and treat yourself to something that will help make it a happier place to be. It might adding artwork, or some new in-trays, or hoisting up a peg board or some shelves so you have somewhere to hang all your equipment leaving your desk top free.
    • Read a book on a topic you’re interested in. It might not seem like an organisational tool, but it might just uncover another goal for the year, or help you learn something that relates to one of your goals. If your goal is to hike in South America, then a book on how to prepare for hiking in those climates could be perfect!
    • Get outdoors and have some fun. What does this have to do with getting organised? It helps you to relax and have time to think about what you do and don’t want for the year ahead. It’s hard to get organised and be excited when you’re feeling frazzled, so allow yourself some downtime before you jump on in to the next year.
    • If you’re feeling particularly crafty, you can make a vision board with images that represent your goals for 2014 and put it up somewhere to remind you what you’re working towards. Grab some cardboard and some old magazines and have fun organising and gluing your vision for 2014.

    The beginning of a new year (and the end of a busy one) is the perfect time to work out what we’d like our future to look like and make some baby steps that will set us on the path towards it. Some goals will be longer term, but it can be fun to think of the things we can start now to get us there.

    Have a wonderful and safe Christmas and New Year!

    Dannielle is a blogger, serial organiser and passionate traveller. She has a secret love of ’90s teen movies and can often be found on Twitter. In 2013, Dannielle packed up her life in Melbourne into one suitcase and moved to Canada to make her crazy dream of a more adventurous life happen. But she quickly found the inspiration she was searching for was in Melbourne and has returned home. She’s started a new project on creating a happy (organised) home which you can see here.

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