Become more productive as an entrepreneur
This week I had a number of new clients calling me for help, and all of them – without exception – struggle with this problem: they have too many ideas, and they don’t know where to start. They suffer from a ‘junk yard full of ideas in their head’, as I call it, and they have no idea which ones are the most valuable to focus on. Sounds familiar? You are not alone. Increasing productivity as a creative business owner is one of the main challenges I help my clients with.
It is a very common issue amongst creatives, and not just the artistic types; this counts for most of you who have a business that you have created by yourself, and which stems from all the wonderful creative ideas in your head. Having a creative brain is a blessing and a cruse at the same time.
Tips on increasing productivity as a creative business owner
In this post, I share a few ways to stop the overwhelm
Most of my clients launch their business with plenty of enthusiasm, but then quickly drown in a sea of overwhelm. They thought they knew what they were doing, but they put all their efforts into their product or services, without having a solid foundation or strategy in place. They are randomly posting on all social media platforms, they are trying out multiple offers to anyone who is willing to listen (often discounting out of desperation), and they don’t quite know who their target audience is.
Because they really want their business to succeed (all eyes are on them!), they work many hours marketing their offers (without success), and come up with more and more ideas to try out. It is exhausting, and in return…they don’t get the results they were hoping for. What can they do?
If this sounds like a situation that you find yourself in right now, then apart from the urgent need to get your building blocks sorted (niche, audience, offer and message), you also need to simplify your life. A better routine, easy-to-use tools, and handy apps to improve calm and productivity.
What to do when you feel stressed and chaotic
In my role as coach, no week is the same. Being a coach means having a lot of freedom and flexibility around my time, which is wonderful, but if I don’t keep myself organised, I quickly feel stressed out. With many different activities, I need to organise my week well to accommodate time for client calls, admin, marketing, and also time for my hobbies, social life and family. I go mad if I don’t see it all mapped out in front of me.
But it is not just the day-to-day stuff that I like to keep a tab on, I also keep my ideas and thoughts for the future organised. Business plans, goals, affirmations, content ideas, etc. I like writing things down, and I often flick through old notebooks and journals for ideas that I had some time ago, or notes that I took. If I don’t, I will forget. Or these ideas turn into thoughts that keep popping up at random, and very inconvenient moments (such as the middle of the night).
Here are the things I do to save myself from going mad.
1. Buy a weekly desk planner to keep calm
I have a printed out A4 planner pad right beside my computer, with a simple 7-day grid, which I religiously fill out. I use this one from Etsy*, but there are plenty of similar ones. It helps me to see at one glance what my main tasks are that week, what appointments I have, and what other activities are scheduled. For me, a paper version works quicker and better than having it on a device while I am working.
2. Keep your notes and ideas organised to save great ideas
I am an old fashioned paper girl, and have a stack of notebooks on my desk: one for client notes, one for business ideas and planning, one for finances. If you prefer digital versions of notebooks, there are great apps around, such as Trello and Evernote. I also stumbled on this blog post from Lifehack with some fantastic organisation/productivity apps.
3. Start writing your Morning Pages to clear your head
Morning Pages are something that author Julia Cameron suggests in her classic book The Artist’s Way (A spiritual path to higher creativity). Basically, you dump three pages of random thoughts on paper, by hand, each morning. Not meant to be read by anyone, and certainly not meant to be perfect prose. Just write, and empty your brain over breakfast. This clears the mind, stops overwhelm, lightens the doom and gloom stories in your head, and organises your thinking before you start your day. Try it.
Need accountability and support on your journey?
I help creative entrepreneurs find focus and clarity, and get better at marketing. If you need more than just planning tools, have a look at my main offers right now, and find out more about working with me as a creative business coach.