systems

Making Time For Multiple Passions In Your Life + Business

If I take a second to reflect over how I ended up here, doing what I do, it all sort of makes sense. In that way where you think, “oh, of course this is what I do. How could I be happy doing something else? The 12 year old in me knew that we’d end up here.”

I say that somewhat light-heartedly but in reality that’s a huge moment of clarity, right? I could get into how peculiar of a child/adolescent I was, and what my hopes and dreams were but that’s probably a little awkward. Instead I’ll leave it at this: it’s no wonder I get to work with a lot of different business owners, doing a lot of different things, from home.

So all of that to say that growing up I had a lot of ideas of what I wanted out of life. I would get very anxious and upset that I couldn’t do them all or that they didn’t make sense together or that there was no clear path (i.e. college degree) to get you there.  

As an adult (or whatever you call this) I can say that I still have multiple ideas and passions and things I want out of life. The thing is that now, through this business and the idea of entrepreneurship, I suddenly see how it’s a lot more plausible to have these ideas and make them happen. And it’s still slightly overwhelming, but in that extremely exciting-I’m-about-to-go-on-a-rollercoaster type way.

But how do we make time for everything? I’m not perfect, by any means, but I’ll let you in a little #behindthescenes of my life and how I manage to make time for multiple interests, passions, and ideas.


PICK A PRIORITY

First things first, I highly recommend picking a priority. For me this priority is out of a necessity to pay my bills – so the thing that I can depend on to bring in income and support myself (and my other ventures) is TheCrownFox services. I re-launched not too long ago and building up that steady and reliable income has been exciting and a sigh of relief compared to the ebbs and flows of my business last year. You might pick your priority in another way – but I think it’s important to have the main focus be something that a) you love doing and want to work on and b) can solve the most other issues in your life (i.e. bills).

For some your priority might be your full time job. You might have to focus on that first because there’s a boss breathing down your neck and deadlines. That’s fine! Priorities can and will change – but knowing what gets precedence over everything else is essential when you move into the next steps.

"Priorities can and will change, what you are focused on now doesn't have to be permanent." [tweet that!]

I’d say that common priorities would be your main business (most profitable), or your full time job, or being a parent (if you’re a working-from-home-with-babies parent this is totally your priority – I get it!). Now that definitely means you have other obligations, passions, or projects – and that’s awesome – but whatever your priority is here is the thing that we will schedule and work around. I’d also take a moment to list out your other passion projects or side hustles you want to work on, so that in the next step we can create a timeline for all of those.

For me, this looks like: TheCrownFox services as a priority. A product line, a podcast, and a template shop are all passion projects that I want to pursue over the course of the year, but they are a) not bringing income yet and b) require me to have enough income from my priority to fund. Completely separate from TheCrownFox I also have a food blog I want to start with my partner, so that is something I’ll keep in mind in the next steps.


CREATE A TIMELINE

Knowing your priority and your other projects is a great first step, but next take time to create a broad timeline. We’ll get into specifics later, but first step back and look at the big picture and see what you realistically can make time for in the space of this year (or the remainder of 2017).

For me the list of passion projects started at around 8 ideas (TheCrownFox services, product line, podcast, membership/mastermind, a separate community around the idea of #30daycreate, a freelance designer membership group, a food/cocktail blog with my partner, a template shop, and a local SEO business). I quickly narrowed it down and pulled out things that might come up in the future, but definitely weren’t an option for right now – and that’s how I settled on the priority and passion projects for this year.

Once I had that narrowed down I thought about timelines – TheCrownFox services don’t really apply here, because it’s got the top spot in my to-do list and daily schedule. But, I roughly mapped out the remainder – a podcast before the summer, a food/cocktail blog that is in production during the summer/launch in the fall, a product line launch in the fall, a template shop production all year and launch in the winter. It’s just a rough sketch so I can say, okay, if I want to launch a template shop with 10 templates, I should maybe knock one out a month to be ready, etc. This is pretty loose and in my head there will be no hard feelings if one of these ideas gets pushed into 2018 – they are passion projects after all and not meant to be too overwhelming or intimidating.


FOLLOW A SCHEDULE

After having a more broad view of how to manage my schedule, I then moved into more specific daily/weekly/monthly tasks. I know the daily/weekly tasks required for my priority – things like writing blog posts and newsletters, client work, posting on Instagram, etc. I can allot X number of hours per day to that. But within my schedule I also pull aside a few hours each week to focus on the passion projects in my life too. So Friday’s are a big day for reflection and growth in my business – I like to schedule coffee chats then and take time to really focus on my vision and plan for this business. But part of the day, lately, has also been segmented off to focus on planning out what I need for a podcast and research (since that’s first on my big timeline). I have a rough schedule and due date and just make sure that I spend 2-4 hours on Friday turning away from TheCrownFox work and focusing my attention towards that.

I get how that can be hard! What if you’re so busy and so overwhelmed that 2-4 hours isn’t an option? If you find that to be the case, I’ve got a few thoughts: first, maybe your priority task needs some outsourcing (a VA or something to free up some time). My other thought is – I am not a fan of multitasking, but – I do like to double up on my time like when I am trying to run or go for a walk and get some exercise, I spend that time also brainstorming and thinking through problems. So, maybe there’s a more mundane task in your life that you can use as brainstorm/thinking time for that passion project. Eventually you’ll need to devote actual hours to doing the work/making it happen, but at least in the beginning you can get into the habit of pulling aside even 30 minutes for it.


GET HELP

As I mentioned above, you might find you are low on hours and high on ideas. After you have dwindled down the list to what is practical, I do think the idea of outsourcing so that you can do your best work and be your best self is an amazing goal people should have. Sometimes the money isn’t quite there yet, but even freeing up an hour a week (like finding a social media scheduler VA), means an hour that you can devote to something else – like your passion project.

Other sorts of help might come in the form of a partner. The podcast isn’t something I am doing alone. The food/cocktail blog isn’t something I am doing alone. There is a support system built into having a partner, which is awesome and motivating to do more and find more time.


BE FLEXIBLE

Lastly, I’d like to mention how important it is to be flexible and forgiving of yourself. I think we all tend to be a little to hard on ourselves when things don’t go exactly as planned (myself included). While I get that timelines and deadlines need to exist, remember that your priority needs to take priority and that these passion projects – while yes they are important – are not the end all be all right now. If you really want to work on that side project and launch before the summer, but it ends up launching mid-summer, that’s okay. At least you got around to it and it exists now in the world and can grow.

"Being flexible & forgiving with yourself when it comes to managing multiple projects is essential." [tweet that!]

In all, I hope this encourages you that yes, you can do more than just your main business or focus – but no, it doesn’t need to feel completely overwhelming and stressful. If you want to hear more about my ideas on time, money, and happiness we are diving into it on more personal level in today’s weekly wine down (sign up below)!



I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!


Expand Your Team Part 3: Establish an Efficient Workflow

In this Expanding Your Team series we’ve gotten to the point that you’re ready to bring on a design assistant, but what’s next? Establishing a workflow can be a tricky component of this process – we covered exactly what you could pass off last week, but now let’s talk about how.


WHAT ARE YOUR MOST REPETITIVE TASKS?

The easiest and most effective ‘getting started’ strategy is passing off the repetitive tasks. This is a good idea in large part because it allows the designer to ‘get used to’ your branding and how you like things done and designed. It’s a great exercise for building up trust and a good working relationship.

Repetitive tasks might include things like blog post graphics, social media graphics, or newsletter graphics. If you already have templates created this might be as simple as passing the templates over to the designer (along with any brand specific fonts you use, stock imagery, etc.). If you don’t already have templates designed that would be a great first project for your designer. The best bet would be to send over what you do have (your brand fonts, colors, etc.) and collect a few samples of other graphics you like – I’d make a secret Pinterest board and share that.

If your designer is establishing a look/feel for this, and not working from templates, keep in mind that ‘round 1’ might take a little ‘back and forth’ to get it perfect. You’ll want to account for that in your initial assignment/due date expectations!


OUTLINE YOUR EXPECTATIONS

Within these sort of repetitive tasks take time to outline specifically what you are looking for with your designer and how often you need it done.

Some key things to keep in mind are giving enough time between assigning blog posts and when you expect the graphics to be returned to you. I know a lot of us tend to wait until the last minute to write our blog posts, but your designer will need at least a day or two to get you the graphics back (please, please remember that you are not the designer’s only client and that they do need lead time for projects)! This is why repetitive tasks are a good start because it not only helps establish the relationship, but it helps you get in the habit of assigning tasks and turn around times!

An example might be that you need ten quote graphics per week to post on Instagram and that you would like them done by the Wednesday before or that you need the weekly blog graphics done the Friday of the week before. Within these expectations to your designer, you should also note what that means for you as far as getting content to the designer.

So if you need blog post graphics by Friday, you should have content available by Wednesday (or whatever you and your designer decide on for lead time/turn around time).

You’ll also want to make note of anything specific you need file wise – usually just a web quality file sized appropriately for Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram suffice in most businesses (at least the ones I’ve worked with!) but if you have any specific requirements or file types needed, make note of those too.

"If you have any specific requirements for projects, be sure to explain them to your designer first!" [tweet that!]


SET UP A REOCCURING TASK IN ASANA OR TRELLO

I’ve mentioned before that the goal is get clients set up using Asana, because that is my preferred way or organizing tasks. This is super efficient when it comes to these reoccurring type tasks because you can set things like ‘Instagram Quote Graphics’ to repeat being due every week (and you can set yourself the task of ‘compile content’ a few days prior.)

In time when you move away from simple repetitive tasks Asana will be a great tool for sending over work and communicating any questions or revisions. With these more repetitive tasks you can learn the system and allow both you and the designer to get used to using it together.

"Use smaller, simpler projects to get used to working with a designer." [tweet that!]


MAKE A PLAN FOR FILE SHARING

This definitely differs from business to business, depending on what you currently use, but informing the designer how to actually return the files to you is a must! I’ve been in situations where I’m unsure of what’s expected so I end up emailing the files, and uploading them to Asana, and sending a Slack message to let someone know where the files live.

What I recommend here is just adding the designer to whatever you are currently using whether it be your Google Drive or Dropbox or if you would prefer them to just upload straight into Asana or an email. Long term I think emailing everything will get sort of clunky and something like Google Drive or Dropbox is the most efficient, but to each their own!


PERFECT + MOVE ONTO BIGGER PROJECTS

Like I mentioned, I think these sort of redundant and easy-to-replicate projects are great for getting started. I’m sure you hired a designer for bigger and more important projects though! So once you’ve done this for a week or two and have good communication and processes established, you can move into more unique and “one-off’ projects (and make the most use of your new designer)!

Got any questions about working with a designer that I can help you with? Let me know in the comments! If you’re ready to start working with a designer in your business, click here.



I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!