If you’re like me, all the work you’re doing to market and maintain your creative business is probably making you feel a little overwhelmed. You’ve likely got Twitter, Facebook, your email, Flickr, Pinterest and a hundred blog posts open on your Internet browser at all times. And you’re probably flipping between then endlessly, anxiously waiting for your first sale and ready to pounce on the first question you get from a potential buyer. You’re likely flipping back and forth between social media outlets, trying to spread out your marketing messages so you can reach a larger audience. And you may be starting to wonder if you could save time by streamlining your process a bit.
At least, that’s what I was wondering.
Then I found two great posts over at Meagan Visser.com:
After reading, I realized how much time I’m really wasting flipping between tabs and checking constantly for messages from potential customers. And when you’re feeling like there’s no time for all you need to do, then the first thing you need to do is look at how you’re spending your time and how you might carve some extra time out of your schedule.
So, let’s look at some things you can do to get that extra hour in the day that you’re always wishing you had.
1. Stop Checking Your Email and Social Media Constantly
Think about it for a moment, how many minutes do you lose every day from those two distractions?
I check my email and social media constantly throughout the day, anxious to see what folks are saying about my shop and eager to promptly answer any questions a potential buyer may have about a product. Each time I check in on email I waste time trying to clear my inbox or get lost going to another social media site. I check my Facebook constantly, especially since I get notifications on my phone if I’m not active at the computer when something happens there. But, then, I get lost looking at photos of kids of the “kids” I went to high school with while pondering if in fact there is a cult coming to get me soon. To get that joke, see the following image.
To avoid those two major distractions, Meagan suggests checking in on social media and email only 3 times per day- freeing you up to spend more time on those other, super-important tasks like updating your blog, reading and commenting on other blogs, tweaking your shop or actually making some new products.
I know how tempting it is to check everything each time a little notification dings or pops up on your screen- and I’m going to have a hard time training myself not to do it this week. So first, let’s consider those dings and pops our ultimate distraction and turn them off right now.
If you want to get an extra hour in your day, stop reading right now and go turn them off or at least put them on silent so you can check them at a designated time.
Then, check both email and social media when you start your day. Then again at mid-day and then again in the evening. And set different time constraints for each check. If you have to go over a little to finish responding to messages, then give yourself the extra time.
Personally, I plan on spending 30 minutes in the morning checking only emails pertaining to customer questions or messages on social media. I’ll check for the same emails at mid-day. Then for my final social media check of the day, I’ll be messing around for an hour or two, during the hours that most of my target market is online- when they are home from school, not in class and home from their evening jobs. I may end up spending a little more time in the evenings if there’s nothing else to do around the house or in the office/workshop and if there’s a lot of conversation going on online. But I’m going to cut down on the time I’m wasting checking social media and email for conversations and I’m certain I’ll find that I gain at least an extra hour in my day. I’m likely to gain more time if I don’t put the Big Bang Theory on in the background or start singing aloud to some classic rock or new-age indie and acoustic while dancing with my furry, four-legged love child, Cinnamon. (If those last three words didn’t scream “hippie”, I don’t know what will.)
2. Concentrate On One Task At A Time And Create a Schedule or To-Do List
Meagan’s Biz Challenge: Create Some “White Space” post offers amazingly simple instructions on how to literally cut your to-do list in half and make the most of your time.
Using her instructions, I’m going to cut my duties into blocks of time and work on one task at-a-time, until it is finished for the day. And instead of staring at a never-ending to-do list everyday, I’ll break my to-do list down every night into the top 4 things I need to finish the next day. I’ll also schedule time for other tasks that I need to work on every day or every other day, such as writing a batch of blogs, taking product photos and for reading, commenting and responding to comments on other blogs and blog posts.
Do you have any other tips for managing your time and chipping away steadily at your to-do list?