It’s almost mid-January and I’ve just spent a few days sequestered in a very luxurious hotel room in the city (thanks to my business travelling husband’s status and points), where I enjoyed uninterrupted time on my business plan for 2019 while doing a very intensive mind-dump and to-do list purge! I highly recommend it if you can arrange a weekend like this!!
During this time not only did I enjoy room service and my city view, but I was able to strategically plan my next two years of business projects, goals and objectives but most importantly, I also planned HOW I was going to achieve everything without draining my energy or time.
If you are a fellow creative entrepreneur and are struggling to grow your business, then read on!
What I’ve learned most over these last few years of being a creative and building my online business is; how to focus on important tasks, managing my time so I’m not working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and lastly how to rely on those around me for support and advice!
PROBLEM - FOCUS
Firstly, being creative means I can easily come up with ideas and projects and classes and so many other things in between. These ideas come to me most often when I’m in the shower (anyone else solve world problems and think up of crazy ideas while in the shower??!!) or when going for a walk outdoors or flipping through a magazine. The problem is, when I think up a new idea or design or project, it normally takes my focus away from a project that is already in progress! Which means I end up with a pile of unfinished projects, my mind becomes cluttered, I feel overwhelmed by the amount of work that I’d need to get done, and end up walking in circles because I’m completely unfocused and overwhelmed!
SOLUTION to achieving better focus
I’m convinced that staying focused on a task or project is a life skill that we have to work to develop. Especially in this day and age where we are bombarded by quick images and videos on social media and the internet! About a year or so ago, I bought an oversized journal where I plan out my month, brainstorm ideas, and write down anything that I need to track or reference. I then make sure to plan out my week in advance (usually on a Sunday night), where I will focus on tasks that I need to get done. Anything else that pops in my cluttered thoughts, get written down in my journal to reference later. I make sure to use my journal and daily planner each day so that I remind myself of what I am working on and only allow my focus to wander when my most important tasks have been completed!
In essence, staying focused on the task at hand means I finish projects, but also in a timely manner so that I have time to spare to explore the other creative ideas that swirl around in my head. To recap, write out your month’s plan in advanced with what you hope to achieve, use your daily planner to break-down your tasks and watch your efficiency improve while your time expands!
PROBLEM - NOT ENOUGH TIME
Speaking of time, where do the weeks go these days!?? Is it the rabbit hole that we easily slipped down when on social media?! The hours we spend binge watching on Netflix?! The time we spend in traffic?! I’m not sure what it is, but if you’ve been following my slow living posts, I’ve made a conscious effort to help slow time through the week. HOW you ask?! Keep reading, I’m really pleased about finding extra time in my day.
Working from home, being a full-time mom and building and maintaining a gym membership and a social life are all FULL TIME JOBS! Agreed?! So how in the heck can we possibly slow things down and buy more time in the day?! Well, my solution won’t offer more free time every day, but I have found moments in my week where I feel like time is in MY control, and where I feel like I have more to spare.
SOLUTION to finding more time in the day
Easy! I set my alarm to wake up 20 minutes earlier. That’s it. 20 minutes. Do you know what you can do with an extra 20 minutes each morning?! First off, drinking your first cup of coffee before everyone else wakes is heavenly! I normally spend that time on Pinterest being inspired by beautiful interiors, yummy recipes and creative business advice. What a wonderful way to start the morning. This also leads to creative monkey brain where ideas swirl, but I’ve touched on how to tame that brain in the first section of this post!
Next, 20 minutes means, I can empty my inbox and answer any client emails and inquiries. This normally means I check-off a few things from my to-do list early on in the day! Yay!
Lastly, 20 minutes extra means I can get the kids off to school, walk to the dog and make it to the gym by 9 the latest!
Trust me, waking up 20 minutes earlier isn’t that bad at all, and the best part is, if I know I have a light day ahead of me, I simply hit snooze a few times which means I get 20 minutes more sleep those mornings. Added bonus!
PROBLEM - BEING ISOLATED OR FEELING ALONE
To anyone who is a solo creative entrepreneur, I applaud you! We need to balance and juggle time for creativity as well as time to marketing, accounting, P.R. and customer service, just to name a few!! However, you are not alone! We all are struggling with similar issues and can often feel very alone!
SOLUTION - you are never alone!
These days there are so many opportunities to join groups online where you can get advice, encouragement and support! Find your people online! Facebook is a great resource to use to connect with people who are in similar businesses, industries or your local area! Find them! Hit that magnifying glass and you’ll be amazed at who you can connect with. Don’t forget to be active in those groups, comment and share your knowledge. Try not to be spammy. Remember your goal is to connect with like-minded people!
Ideally, if you can work on connecting with other creative entrepreneurs in your local area, nothing beats a really inspiring coffee date! I normally book these dates as often as I can, but be careful, saying yes to too many coffee dates steals away from your productive time very easily!! I normally schedule one every few weeks or so.
What I’ve been able to gain most from these groups and in-person coffee dates most is, reassurance. Reassurance that I am not alone. Reassurance that most people who are in a creative, business environment often are looking for people like you! To be inspired by, to share with, and to learn from.
When you open yourself up to socializing with like-minded individuals, they can fill you up and leave you feeling revived! You will leave being inspired to focus better on your goals and will want to use time your wisely so you can book more time in your day to help inspire you again and again!
Doesn’t that sound amazing!?
My advice to fellow creative entrepreneurs who are struggling to grow their business is very simple, easy to achieve and rewarding on so many different levels!!
I am a firm believer that when you are focused, find extra time each day to use as you chose, and surround yourself with like-minded people, you will see that growing your business will not only become easier, but you will achieve more success and have fun doing it!
If you can afford the time or money, book yourself a night in a hotel room. Make yourself a list of what you’d like to achieve in that time, and enjoy the time and space that you’ve created for yourself!
Order in room service, take a hot bath at the end of the day, and feel the benefits of a mind dump, a thought out business plan or even working on your creative skills!! Whatever your goal is, enjoy some selfish, well-deserved time to yourself! The after effects are magic, I promise!
Cheers to being a creative entrepreneur! I know you’re probably like me, I wouldn’t trade it for the world!