6 Tips For Staying Focused & Getting Things Done

It’s that time of year, y’all. You know, when you are with family and everything feels wholesome and warm. And also you are crazy stressed and so busy you want to break down and cry like everyday? I know that’s not just me! Running a business, a blog, side hustler or not, is always overwhelming - the holidays only make it more so! But here are 6 ways I’m staying focused this season. Grab the worksheet below + follow along!

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AUTOMATE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE

I am a big fan of Buffer, so I have started making a goal of mine to schedule posts a few days ahead of time. On Sunday I will schedule Twitter and Facebook posts for Monday-Wednesday, and sometime on Wednesday I will schedule Thursday-Friday. I still get on and retweet/interact with people in “real-time” (during scheduled blocks) but find it much easier to resist getting on social media and being distracted.

This month I am overhauling my social media game, big time, and really starting to up my Instagram and Pinterest game. I know most people love Tailwind for Pinterest scheduling, but I am not quite ready to invest yet. Instead, I have scheduled time, 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes during lunch, and 10 minutes in the evening, to pin content. Pinterest is what I would do even if I wasn’t working, so it’s not hard for me to take time to find the pins (I save them in a private board first) in the evening, while I’m trying to relax. For Instagram, I schedule through latergramme, which still requires me to take five minutes to get the alert and actually post the photo - but the captions are prewritten, the hashtags are already planned, so ultimately scheduling it ahead of time is saving me time the day of.

Blog posts are automated for me, too. I write those about a week ahead of time and have scheduled to go up seamlessly. Because I have so much happening the next two months both personally and for TCF related growth (lots coming, y’all!) I have been working to get ahead and have all those blog posts written, scheduled, and off my to-do list. I’ve been following Nora Conrad's plan for outlining and drafting content long before I actually sit down to write it and have been pleasantly surprised with how much quicker things happen now.

So for you, action item: What can you automate? Can you go ahead and schedule most of your “big” tweets for the week? Buffer IS free, y’all - so no excuses! Getting that stuff out of the way now will make it easier to relax and enjoy time with family and loved ones, use your time more efficiently, and stay focused on the tasks that you need to do/can’t wait until the holidays are over.


LOOK & PLAN AHEAD

Y’all might’ve heard me talk about goals before. I really, really, really care about having a goal and a plan to get there. It’s the only way to run a successful business. So - looking ahead, what are your goals? Are the things that you are doing now actually serving those goals? If not - stop doing them!!

As I mentioned before - I love Pinterest. But I get caught up reading so many people’s advice and trying to implement random parts of their strategies, and then I realize it doesn’t serve me AT ALL. It’s a complete waste of my time! So I nix it. Reevaluate yourself and your practices - are they actually accomplishing what you need them too? If not - get it out of there!

Action Item: Think ahead - what is your biggest goal for the year? Now… does every single thing you do business-wise push you closer to that goal somehow? Be honest! If it doesn’t, then maybe it isn’t worth your time? It’s okay to try out a business practice that works fantastically for someone else, realize it doesn’t work for you, and get rid of it. You are definitely allowed to evolve! Need more help? Check out this #GoalGetter Kit!


SCHEDULE TIME TO RELAX

If you are anything like me, if it’s not on your calendar - it’s NOT happening. Sometimes, if it’s not on my calendar with fiftyleven reminders, it’s not happening. So, especially during this time, I have been scheduling time for myself to be with people I love. For instance, I blocked out time that my sister said she wanted to go shop for decorations, and I blocked out time to help her clean and set up for guests. 

Spending time with people is just as valuable as the other things you put on your calendar. And I know - I know - about the side hustler struggle, where you are squeezing work into every single moment you can. I get it! But, you are going to burn out. You are going to burn out and spend an entire week not able to do anything, binge watching New Girl on Netflix, and making pointless to-do lists (I’m totally not speaking from experience…). Take care of yourself! Let yourself relax. It will only make your work that much better, when you get back to it.

So, here’s your action item: Schedule time to unwind, relax, and enjoy something outside of your business for 30-60minutes this week. I find it hard to relax, I enjoy working on my business - so I hear your objections. But I don’t care. Give yourself some time away from the computer. Even if you just go on a walk. Relax!


TAKE ON LESS WORK

Everyone is busy right now - it’s not just you. If you noticed a decline in client work, or newsletter subscriptions, or anything like that… it’s because people are busy. Really busy. So if you have less time to do work, that’s okay. There is less work to be done! Last week was my last few days at my 9-5. You know how much work I had? Zilch. Like… we have lots of clients, y’all. I was doing work that isn’t due until after Christmas. People are busy - it’s okay to do less work right now.

I know this can be a dangerous idea, if you aren’t bringing in passive income or have a decent savings account. So, I understand the need to hustle, hustle, hustle. For  me, in my situation, this time of year means less spending too - I’m eating with family more often (not spending money on food), I’m going out less, and I only ask for money for the holidays. But if that isn’t your situation - disregard this rule for THIS year, but next year, start implementing strategies earlier in the Fall to save up a little cushion to get you through a less stressful Holiday season. Even if it’s sacrificing those yummy PSLs or whatever - your sanity is worth it. (That’s your action item!)


GET DOUBLE (OR TRIPLE!) USE

I’ve had this epiphany lately - and I’m going to share it with you. I’m working on a course for February 2016. I was feeling stretched so thin, writing blog posts, creating course content, creating resource vault content, etc. Then it dawned on me - it can all be used, re-used, and re-used again. So now -  I only create with my course in mind. Then, I pull out small segments and turn that into a blog post. Or a tweet. Or whatever. So by the end of it I’m accomplishing a few things:

  • I’m generating buzz about my course
  • I’m saving time and energy
  • I’m getting subscribers and viewers that are interested in topics that I want to teach about
  • I’m forced to really dig deep an create amazing content for my course, because I am giving away a lot of it for free beforehand
  • I’m getting my course done early

Maybe you aren’t creating a course - but whatever content you ARE creating… what else can you use it for? Can a quote from your blog post be used as a tweet? Can your awesome periscope turn into a longer, more detailed blog post? Whatever it is - make it do more work for you. 

Action Item: Figure out what is the BIGGEST thing is on your plate right now. Then divide it up into smaller, more simpler sections. Use those smaller segments of information elsewhere - so you don’t have to come up with new tweets, graphics, quotes, etc.


ENFORCE YOUR TIME BLOCKING

This is a super hard concept for me. I get distracted, or I want to watch one more episode on Netflix, or I’m making good headway and don’t want to move to the next task. BUT (!!!) time blocking is a life saver and a good way to be more efficient - you just have to really work hard to follow your set schedule.

How can you make that an easier goal? Schedule breaks. Schedule time to check your email. Schedule time to scan twitter. Schedule time to walk your dog. Schedule time to sit quietly and let your brain wander. Schedule everything so that you don’t feel the need to improvise on the spot.

Then, what I do to help enforce it, is set a timer on my phone. I hear the blaring alarm and it helps my brain be like “DONE. NEXT.” so much easier. Plus, I don’t waste time checking the clock obsessively, because the timer is going to tell me when to move on anyway. 

So, try this action item: Take one day and write down everything you do - even the things you don’t want to admit like eat an entire cake (me), drink an entire bottle of wine (also, me), and finish the latest season of your favorite show (definitely me). Then, revamp that into a more ideal and efficient schedule. Use this as a model to schedule and time block out other days.


All that being said - I sincerely hope everyone is having a good (relaxing) holiday season. Part of the reason I’ve become really intense about these productivity methods is because I have so much happening these next two months. I can’t wait to share all the things with you all! The first thing I want to introduce is Brand Vixen, a bi-weeky newsletter. If you’ve read past posts - you know how I feel about newsletters - but I am seriously SO excited about this and making it amazing. The end goal is to transition from newsletters to a community of amazing, influential, supportive, and well-branded bosses. You can learn more about it here.

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Posted on November 30, 2015 and filed under Business.