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6 Tips to Brighten Your Day & Streamline Your Workflow

Entrepreneurs are a unique bunch. We wake up in the morning, go through our routine, and either head to an office or home workstation to start grinding away. Many of us didn’t know when we started our venture just how busy our lives would become — there may have been this notion that the people who work 8 to 5 are the ones who have it tough, while business owners could watch Netflix while answering an email or two.

The truth is, while building your brand and ma king business happen takes a lot of work and determination, there’s a lot we can do to make our lives better along the way.

Luckily for you, the folks at Cloud Spot know a thing or two about streamlining a workflow, and we’re happy to share! Here’s our top 6 tips to help you be happier, more productive, and to quickly get back to doing what you love.

1. Eat the bug.
Ever watch Fear Factor contestants faced with the reality of eating a bucket of bugs? Everything in their body is telling them not to do it- but they do it anyway — and they do it as fast they can. This is what we call “eating the bug.”

We all have things in our day that we don’t want to do. Just the thought of doing that one task that you’re dreading sometimes makes us want to crawl right back into bed, right? That’s why you should tackle it first . Get it out of the way! It may be something that’s tough to deal with, but once it’s done, you’ll feel the weight lifted off of your shoulders, allowing you to feel better about your day. And when you feel better, everything becomes a whole lot easier.

2. Put the flow in “workflow.”
If you’re anything like us, you’re connected to people in about ten different ways at once – e-mail, Slack, Trello, social media, text messaging, and so on. While we know it may be hard to remove yourself for a while, it may be helpful to get your flow going; or to put it plainly, those connections might be disrupting your flow .

Have you ever had that moment where you were just on a roll? You know what we mean — a time where you felt completely focused and unstoppable. Maybe you were writing a blog post, or maybe you were on a photo shoot. Whatever it was, having a real flow is something that all of us should tap into every day. And although it’s hard to admit, those incoming Facebook messages will interrupt you while you’re trying to focus. You’ll have to not only spend time tending to Facebook, but you’ll also have to spend time trying to regain focus on the task that you were on. If at all possible, try getting rid of every distraction you can for a portion of your day. It helps us build a flow, and know it will help you too.

At the same time, try adding elements that will add to your flow . For myself, that means electronic music without words, natural light through the window, and a scent diffuser nearby. Which combinations are right for you?

3. Reward yourself
Positivity is huge when talking workflows. It’s all about having a mindset in which you can be productive and be your best at the same time. As entrepreneurs, we can be at a major disadvantage here. Think about it — someone who works in an office with other people can gain positivity from others. They can get pats on the back for work they completed, they can go to lunch with friends or grab coffee with others. A lot of us don’t have people around us during the day to help us be positive. And that’s why it should be a priority to reward yourself.

Let’s imagine you’ve got 3 hours of work to complete. Believe it or not, it’s not ideal to just sit down and power through it, or you risk hitting a wall or losing your positive outlook. Instead, break up your work into manageable sections, and set rewards once you complete each section. Here’s a sample of how that may look:

  1. Respond to 8 email messages, then take a break
  2. Transfer last week’s photos to a hard drive, then get a coffee.
  3. Send 2 proposals and generate an invoice, then take a short walk.

Replace the sections with your own, make your own goals, and watch your workflow change your outlook on working itself!

4. Go on a work vacation.
This doesn’t mean taking your laptop to Hawaii every week, but what we’ve got in mind actually carries some similarities.

If you’re working from the same location every day, you’re deflating your workflow. We’re human- and while there’s parts of us that love routine, creativity spawns from inspiration, from change, from learning- and a good way to hone in on your creativity is to change your atmosphere regularly. Do you have a laptop? Try spending an hour or two at Starbucks, or the park, or the beach. Some of the best work I’ve ever done came at times where I wasn’t at home or the office.
And it’s not just the visual element of being somewhere else, it’s stimuli to all of the senses. It could be a song at the cafe, or the breeze on your skin at a trail; you never know what may give you that extra burst of confidence and creativity to get your work done better.

5. Automate everything you can.
Computers are getting more useful every day, and no matter what industry you’re in there’s going to be tools that help you complete your tasks automatically (and probably better than you could have).

Here’s a quick list of apps we use on a daily basis that help us with our workflow:

  1. Cloud Spot – We’re photographers, so when we designed our software we had a clear understanding of the hurdles that photographers have every day. Cloud Spot saves photographers time and makes digital photo delivery easy.
  2. Slack- With a simple interface and a program that just works, we think Slack is the best way to communicate with others from the team, eliminating emails, Dropbox, text messages, and conference calls altogether.
  3. Trello- Think of it as your own canvas for ideas. You can list tasks, collaborate on issues, and keep track of things you’re working on.
  4. Medium – Blog posting and copy writing is now really simple for us. It handles formatting, drafts, and publishing for us, so we can focus strictly on content.

6. Go to bed with an empty head.
As much as we don’t like to admit it, entrepreneurs work from morning to night. Sure, maybe we’re not actively typing an email or on the phone with a client all the time, but admit it — you’re thinking about the business even when you’re in bed. We’re not here to tell you not
to do that. We do it too. But you can still make changes to your overall mindset.

If you’re trying to go to sleep, but you’re burdened by something that happened during the day, or about something that didn’t get finished, or even worse — about the thing you procrastinated on — chances are that you’re not going to sleep well. And the way you’re sleeping is going to affect your workflow the next day, whether it be positively or negatively.

Make it a point to get everything out of your head before you slip under the covers. Something still needs to be done? Do it. Was a client upset about something? Let it go. Whatever it is that you’re still hanging on to before the night is over, handle it so that you can rest easy every single night. We promise, it will help set your mind straight and give you the positivity to make tomorrow’s workflow even better.

Written by the Cloud Spot team:
Ryan Killackey
Gavin Wade
Doug Boutwell

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