Working for myself means I have to keep myself motivated every single day, whether I’m in the mood or not. Staying productive and keeping on top of things is so important to ensure I’m paying those pesky bills!
So how do I do it? What keeps me productive through the lazy moods? The illness? The late nights? The ‘everyone else is out having fun without me‘ days? Well, I have six things that keep me buzzing around like a mad woman. Allow me to share them with you…
1. Weekly and Monthly Goals
Writing down what I need/hope to achieve each month is the starting point for me. How much do I absolutely HAVE to make this month to cover food, bills, etc? What goals do I hope to conquer in that time? Then I break that down into each week, creating a realistic amount of work per week that I have to do, with a plan on what I have to do to get there. You can apply this to whatever your own goals are too. For example, want to get 100 new followers on a social platform this month? Okay that means you have to get at least 25 each week, or 3 or 4 each day. Now write a list of ways you can help push this. It’s a really simple system, but this can work to help you stay on top of anything!
2. Specific Tools
How the hell do I keep on track of bills, blog posts, design schedule, deadlines, new projects, and all the rest that life throws at me? Well, there are a number of things I use to keep me productive. I use spreadsheets for blogging (my monthly schedule and new blog ideas), and I also use a spreadsheet for bills too. I write a list of all bills and outgoings for the next month or so, them dates they need to be paid, and highlight them once they’re paid. As for daily to-do lists, chores, and my design schedule; that all goes into my journal. And for anything else that I need to constantly keep on my mind? Post it notes on my desk/wall. Simple, yet effective.
Nothing makes me more productive than someone saying they liked a particular piece of work, or a suggestion for something new I could do! I keep on top of my Etsy shop feedback reviews, and I regularly ask for people’s opinions on new projects on Twitter, and then make a note of them in my journal. Your audience can really push you into being productive, so use them well!
4. Planning Ahead
I’ve probably already shown how methodical I can be with most areas of my life, so it should be no surprise when I say planning ahead is one of my key tips to being productive. The biggest reason for this, is that it means I feel super organised and on top of my game. When I feel like that, it means I have free time to explore ideas, take a step back, and see the big picture. Those moments usually lead to the greatest accomplishments, IMO.
5. Inspiration Sources
Inspiration is like a magic beam of light inside you, that sparks a fire under your ass when you need it most! Sometimes it happens when you’re on the bus daydreaming, sometimes it can be when we have music on and we’re tidying up, or something when we’re drifting off to sleep. Always make notes when you get inspired, or even better; start new projects as soon as you think of them! That’s when they’ll be freshest in your brain and most exciting. I’ve spoke before about things that inspire me; and tapping into those sources is always so helpful.
Was it obvious this one would crop up? Probably. But it’s SO TRUE! Taking breaks is an absolute MUST to stay productive, even though it sounds a little counter-intuitive. Giving your mind a rest, taking some time out and ‘refreshing’ your brain a little always works wonders for me. I’m much more likely to get loads more work done with a few breaks between jobs, rather than trying to power through it all. Also, the quality is so much better too! So give yourself a damn break 🙂
I hope this helps!