One of my aims this year is to use this blog to offer up some of the business advice that I have learnt over the last couple of years. Although I am by no means an expert on all thing business I always think it is interesting to hear about other people's experiences and I hope you can all take a little something away from my posts!
January is always a month that I look forward to, the studio gets a well needed tidy up and I can start to plan the year ahead with a fresh outlook after much needed time off over Christmas.
January is full of reflection, lists, spider diagrams, stock takes and the most exciting part: I have time to design the next collection!
Once all the planning is done I start to feel a little overwhelmed with just how much needs to be done! With all this in mind I thought I would share some of the advice I have gathered over the last few years on how to get the most out of your working day, how to stay motivated and how to get that to do list ticked off!
Here are 10 things that work for me:
1. Start the day with 3 aims
I used to write absolutely everything I needed to do on one big list, I would then start the day by looking at said list and feel totally overwhelmed to the point where I wouldn't even know where to start and procrastinate for half the morning. Plus I would finish the day feeling disappointed that I hadn't achieved a lot!
I now write down just 3 things in the Morning that I need to achieve that day, simple but important tasks such as completing orders. I usually write these on my whiteboard which sits on my studio wall so I can refer back to them all day!
Ticking these 3 things off at the end of the day is so satisfying!!
2. The Pomodoro timer technique
If you are easily distracted this is a great technique.
- Decide on the task to be done
- Set a timer to 25 minutes
- Work on the task until the timer rings
- Take a short break for 5 minutes (go ahead and check your Facebook or make a cuppa!)
- After four lots of timers take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes
You can download an app on your phone with the simple timer, just search for Pomodoro timer in your app store!
3. Write everything down in one place
Lists, ideas, memos, drawings all in one notebook which you carry with you everywhere. This can become your bible!
4. If it will take less than 3 minutes, just do it, don't write it on your list!
5. Switch off social media
Social media can be such a time drain, make it easy and switch off those notifications while you are trying to compete tasks. (That dancing dog video can wait) Set yourself specific times that you are allowed on social media or use software such as hoot suite to schedule your tweets and posts for the week in one go. Easier said than done I know!
6. Reconigse when you work best
Are you an early bird or a night owl? If you can figure out when you feel and work best during the day then you can use that time to do all the things that use up the most brain power.
If you are like me and are pretty useless in the late afternoon use the afternoon to do tasks such as social media, emails and small tasks that are easy when your not functioning to well! Plus you can team these tasks with a nice cup of tea!
I work best in the morning so I make sure the first tasks of the day are the most important tasks!
Sometimes it just isn't happening. If you are having creative block don't force it. If you are like me you will end up getting yourself more and more frustrated to the point where you will do sloppy work! Get outside, walk round the block, ring your friend or have a snack. Switch off calm down and come back to the task with a clear head!
8. Have working hours and then switch off
One of the biggest perks about being self employed is being able to set your own working hours however this can also be the hardest thing. I know it isn't always possible to switch work life off when you get home but do give it a try!
This year I began working on Lucy Alice as my full time occupation and I have found that setting myself strict studio hours has really helped. I feel more motivated in the studio and more relaxed when at home. Moreover having an end of day ritual can really help you switch off. Have a tidy up, close all the tabs and write your to do list for the next day so that you can really switch off!
9. Plan something nice and create rewards!
To help motivate your working hours, make sure you plan something nice for your day off. It doesn't have to be big, it might be a coffee with a friend, a family walk in the woods or trying your hand at making bread. You can think to yourself 'If I complete these accounts I can buy myself that magazine' Having something to look forward to always makes me work through the boring parts!
10. Enjoy yourself and don't burn out!
A lesson I am still learning, you don't need to go at full speed all the time you just need to keep going and not give up! It isn't the end of the world if that email doesn't get replied to straight away or if you have to say 'no' to an opportunity if you simply haven't got the time!
What do you do to keep motivated? I would love to hear your thoughts!
Wishing you all a positive January full of exciting plans!
Lucy Alice :)