There’s often a million and one things to fit in daily when managing your own business, freelance work or a personal blog, and so managing my daily tasks and productivity is an essential part of my business and overall wellbeing.
Whilst I’m certainly not an expert on this whole organisation thing (you need to look to my amazing friend Louise for that), I have definitely found a few things that do work for me, and so I thought I’d share my productivity tips for fellow small business owners and freelance workers out there!
1 – Break your daily tasks into bite-sized pieces
As I write this post right now it’s a Sunday afternoon and I have a million tabs open so I’m already breaking all the rules in one go, because truly the first rule for a productive day is to manage your expectations by breaking up all your tasks into more manageable bite-sized pieces.
Every morning I go to my studio, find my prettiest notebook, and start a to-do list. But, the secret is to start creating different to-do lists. This was life-changing for me.
Every day, write down all of the things you need to accomplish, big or small, but make sure you separate them. It sounds really simple but it’s so effective.
I have small tasks like responding to social comments to bigger tasks like updating a section of a website, for example.
I also really like to-do lists that have my whole day at a glance that includes small, silly things such as drinking more water or anything non-work related because as you’ll see later on this is such an important step to overall productivity.
2 – Strictly define your distraction-free periods
We are all beautiful and different and therefore our productivity periods are completely unique to us all. What’s important is finding what works best for YOU.
I’m one of those annoying souls that can work very effectively first thing but also very late at night which means that ultimately I’m often burning the candle at both parts of the day! But, what’s also true is that I completely flake in the middle of the day so I use this time to work on light-personal tasks and go easy on myself.
So, in your everyday life think about when you can build a meaningful and focused deep work period of habit into your day. And when it comes to putting those tasks into action, I use an old-fashioned egg-timer to create structured, distraction-free periods of work. Yes, you can use technology for this, but I prefer to keep this out of sight in my deep work periods.
Mine phone goes into Airplane mode as often as possible. Something else that is super handy is grabbing a notebook whilst you’re working and rather than reaching for your phone or similar to distract you, jot down any distractions that pop up during your initial deep work sessions so you can take steps to prevent them in the future.
3 – Find your perfect work environment
Again, like the above, we’re all different and therefore as well as time periods we work best we also have places and environments we work best in as well.
When it comes to admin, 80% of the time my studio is where I work but when it comes to the evenings I love to work in my living room with headphones to zone out. And on this Sunday afternoon, I’m in this exact spot!
I also really love escaping to cool coffee shops when I have heavy admin days. My favourite in my local area is Mad Cucumber, an ultra lovely vegan cafe with the best vegan cake ever! And this is the exact spot the above photos have been taken!
Ultimately with this step, concentrate on tweaking your environment so that focusing feels natural and easy and it’s okay for that to change for different activities as I’ve outlined above.
4 – Treat your productivity like the day you leave before a holiday
Just how much do you get done before you go away? Tell me I’m not alone?! Without knowing it on occasions like this your natural productivity is leading the way.
When you have all the above steps in place, it’s also worth starting to look at days you were super productive and evaluating what was working and what wasn’t. You can ask the same question of your personal working habits.
So, for example, if you get up and clear your inbox first thing does this give you motivation for the rest of the day or kill it? If it’s the first option, this is what is working for you, but if it’s the latter, alter the time you do your emails and repeat.
And like me, is your energy non-existent in the afternoon? Look at why that is and be really honest with yourself. Remember, the 9-5pm thing for a creative business rarely exists. I find peace and harmony with my working life by breaking my day into my most productive periods even if that involves a 9-1pm and then 5pm onwards kind of approach! But trust me, this kind of continuous trial and error is by far the most efficient way to optimise your to-do for your working and personal life.
5 – Self Care- be kind to yourself always
This last point is super important because good self-care is so fundamental for a productive life both for work and in ourselves. Self-care is not simply about the practical things that we are led to believe it is.
While staying in bed, eating well, and sleeping when I need to are extremely important, it’s also crucial to take care of our mental and emotional well-being. I’ve been working so hard on this over the past month and realising that self-care is a necessary component of self-love. Because as the phrase goes, ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’.
You simply have to take care of yourself first. This has always been the biggest struggle for me, but because I’m surrounded by the wisdom of so many beautiful souls I finally realise that creating a routine of regular activities that foster and support your well-being and personal growth is so incredibly important.
What are your productivity top tips? How do you manage your workload and get down to business? Would you like to see more business posts like this? Leave your tips, tricks and requests in the comments below! xoxo