The creative brain is fascinating. There are so many ideas, passing thoughts and good intentions that are so often lost in a matter of seconds. One of the most common side effects of our sporadic tendencies is a long to-do list that never seems to dwindle.
It’s really irritating, right?
But who wants to be tied down by rules and lists…I mean, you wanted to be your own boss for a reason… FREEDOM!
The freedom that comes with self-employment is a fickle mistress. It seems glamorous, it seems easy. When you have all day to do whatever you want, that HAS to be the best case scenario…but then you find yourself at 9pm and you’ve made prettttty much no progress.
And the guilt sets in.
“Why do I suck at this? Why can’t I just get it done? Why is nobody booking me? How do people do this? I’m a fraud.”
Oof. It’s rough. And it’s REAL. I’ve been there and I know you have, too.
It’s time we debunked the myth that working from home and entrepreneurship is a cakewalk. Friend, its HARD WORK and requires boundaries and some real, raw EFFORT. For many of us, entrepreneurship is the “good life,” but good ≠ easy.
The discipline it takes to be productive may not come naturally to you. It doesn’t to many creatives! BUT good news! You don’t have to get an MBA to fix this problem. You just need to decide to make little changes that will have a HUGE effect on your productivity!
I’ve put together my favorite life-changing and super simple productivity hacks that took me from crying to killin it! Let’s get to it!
1| Set working hours with planned breaks
Decide what your working hours will be and stick to them! Take a lunch break EVERY DAY and let your brain rest.
2| Create a Weekly To-Do List
This one, y’all. LIFE CHANGING. A weekly to-do list only holds what you plan to accomplish that week. Be careful what you put on that list and ignore all other backburner projects until you decide they are a priority for the current week.
This frees your mind of everything else (and the guilt from not doing #allthethings) and allows you to focus on the most important things.
Pro Tip: Have a brain dump where you keep a running list of all the ideas swirling around in that creative brain!
3| Commit to Time Blocking to Increase Productivity
Once you’ve got your weekly priority list created, look at your week and block out time for every single thing on that list. You’ll have to estimate how long each task will take, and you might not estimate perfectly on your first try, but you’ve gotta give yourself grace…you’ll get there and find that your time management skills improve quickly.
4| Define & Batch Your Work
One of the best ways to increase productivity is to separate your to-do list into projects, tasks and errands and reserve certain times of day to each. It’s important that you spend your most focused and productive time of day on your projects, which take more than 20 minutes to complete.
A task is anything that takes you around 20 minutes or less and requires a relatively small amount of brain power. This most commonly includes quick emails, paying bills, writing notes and the like.
Batching your tasks is one of the best ways to get more done and get it done faster!
When you intermix your little tasks in with your projects throughout the day, you lose focus and waste time.
Pro Tip: The big kahuna, friend: batch and limit your email time. Seriously…only check your email 1-3 times every day and have intentional, focused inbox time.
5| Do first things first + one thing at a time
When laying out your week, decide what’s most important and do that first and only that. Even if it’s the biggest, scariest task of your week, get it done first and the rest of your week will feel SO MUCH BETTER! The feeling of accomplishment will absolutely increase productivity. Multi-tasking isn’t actually real (#science) and it’s not efficient. Close those tabs, friend!
6| Turn all the distractions off for better time management
Turn off the TV, quit Netflix, close those 15 browser tabs I know are open right now (especially email!) and turn your notifications OFF when you’re working!
Ultimately, friend, you need to know that if you don’t tell your time what it will be filled with, it will fill itself. Only you can decide to change that cycle.
Here’s to taking ownership of your work and managing your to-do list like a literal BOSS. Aaaaaaand cause I love y’all I put together a little step-by-step guide to implementing my favorite hacks for managing your time and getting your most productive week yet! Download that bad boy!
If you want to get your work done more quickly, try HoneyBook’s client workflow automation software. You’ll be happy you did!
Ready to finally master time management, ditch the overwhelm, and increase your productivity in life and business? Get our Ultimate Guide to Time Management.