As a 2x small business, podcast producer, and a mom, productivity is extremely important to my day to day. You guys have asked how I manage it all but before I share my go-to productivity tips, I want you to know one thing:
Your productivity does not equal your worth.
There are some days when I feel on fire and really, really productive and then there are days where I don’t get anything done. The only thing that I get done is keeping my kid happy and alive. And those days you are just as productive and just as worthy. Rest is productive.
So I think for lack of a better word, I want to call these productivity tips or hacks–ways that I have found to be more efficient in the way that I work and to feel more at ease in the way that I run my businesses and create content.
HACK #1: Create before you consume.
Anytime I’m working on content creation, whether that is writing Instagram captions, putting together a mood board for a shoot on Pinterest, or even copy for a sales page, I do it first thing in the morning. That’s when my brain is most fresh and I feel I have the most energy. I make sure that if I wake up and I look at my phone, I do not scroll through Instagram. I do not look at Facebook. I do not open my email. I just go straight to creation mode so that my brain is free from seeing anyone’ else content or questioning the value of what I want to put out in the world.
This allows me to clear the noise, speak from a truly authentic place, and quiet the ego voices in my head, negative self-talk, all of that stuff.
Each month I have specific times set aside where I write out Instagram captions in a Google doc first. I always write my captions before attaching a photo to them. My workflow right now currently looks like this: 1) I write a bunch of Instagram captions, however, they come to me (braindump style), that I believe are going to serve my audience, are going to add valuable content. 2) Then my integrator goes through and decides which content should be paired with what (i.e. which would be great as a graphic, which one would be great as an image, and then she helps me plan the content). But really my strong point, and what I love most about Instagram, is writing captions.
Hack #2: Become an early riser.
This tip is going to scare some of you, but just hear me out, okay? It’s time to join the 5:00 AM club. I’ve started to wake up at 5:00 AM, Monday to Friday. Do I wake up at 5:00 AM every single weekday and make myself feel guilty if I don’t do that? No. But if I need to sleep in, I will do that. I will give that to myself.
Another way I decided to push myself out of my comfort zone is to start with my body first by being active (if you follow me on IG, you know I’m obsessed with my Peloton). Sometimes that helps me get out of a rut or get to the next level to get my mind and body ready for the day.
Is waking up at 5:00 AM uncomfortable? Yes. Purposefully, I will tell you in the first week or two, it was hard, especially when it’s so dark and cold outside and you just want to stay in your bed. But this small change has made such a huge impact, especially on me because I am a mom and it’s a guaranteed two hours to myself. I start the day alone with quiet. And if the whole day goes nuts after that, I know that I had two full hours to myself where I wasn’t working and I just got to hear myself think. Because as a mother who runs two businesses, I really don’t get to hear myself think very often. And I really, really need that time. Am I right?
Joining the 5:00 AM club has seriously been so major for me and my happiness and my energy. I can’t recommend it enough even though, let me just be real with you, when the alarm goes off there I am so tempted to stay in bed, but I know that getting out of bed is just going to make my day so much better in the long run. So I do it.
HACK #3: Every singly day prioritize three things that need to get done.
And these three things shouldn’t include a goal of inbox zero or really anything admin. These three things should be the things that are going to move your business forward.
They’re going to make you money.
They’re going to help you reach your ideal client.
They’re going to help you make big moves in your business.
So, every day I prioritize three things and then I do them in order with no distractions, no answering emails, not even in between. For me, emails are an afternoon thing most of the time because I don’t need a lot of brainpower to answer them but for the things that move my business forward, I need that brain power.
The other reason I started doing this (and some of you might’ve seen my Instagram posts about this) is that I felt like I was working 10, 12-hour days and I would get into bed and I would just be like, “I know that I worked all day, but what did I actually do for my business? What am I actually doing here?”
And so by prioritizing three things every day, no matter how long I’ve worked, I know when I get into bed at night that I did three things that were really important that are going to move my business forward.
HACK #4: Schedule block your days.
This hack has made the biggest difference in my business, especially because I am a photographer. I am a business coach. I’m a podcaster. I am a mother who has very limited daycare, so it is extremely important to me that my schedule isn’t all over the place constantly.
What this looks like for me:
- Mornings 9-12: No meetings/calls
- Afternoons: Editing
- Every Tuesday: Rulebreaker Podcast
- Monthly Block: Time Off
- Monthly Block: Deep Dive Project Work
My daughter is only at daycare from 9:00 to noon, three days a week. Because of this, I don’t do meetings in the mornings anymore. I make the most of those three hours where I have a quiet house and I can really think and do content creation, brainstorming on where the business is going and all of that stuff. I only do phone calls and meetings in the afternoon.
The other schedule blocking I do is I only record podcasts on Tuesdays. This way I can spend three to four hours at a time on the podcast. Once I’m in the zone, I’m ready to stay in the zone for the rest of the day. I can knock out three to four podcast episodes in a row on one Tuesday versus doing them sporadically all over the month. I know on Tuesdays that is my day to show up for the podcast, to come with all my energy and stay in the zone. Scheduling block helps me plan my week and know what’s coming up and what needs to be planned where.
Figure out what times you feel really creative and you feel like you do your best work and then do your favorite parts of your business during those hours. Save the stuff that you’re not super energetic about or that don’t need a lot of brainpower for the afternoons or for the mornings, whatever suits your energy best. Ask yourself: “How can I be the most efficient in spending my energy?”
HACK #5: Keep your phone on Do Not Disturb.
I just started doing maybe like six weeks ago, maybe eight weeks ago. Who knows? I don’t remember, but it’s been so life-changing that I can’t even remember how long I’ve been doing it. Whenever I’m recording podcasts, writing content, taking a nap, whenever I need to not have my phone buzz a million times with notifications, I put my phone on do not disturb.
Don’t worry; you’ll still get all the notifications, but you won’t hear (or feel) them. When I’m doing content creation work, my phone is out of reach so that I don’t go to grab it. It’s like totally across the other side of the room so that I am not distracted.
Do you ever notice how much you reach for your phone and look at it? I didn’t really notice this for myself until I realized my phone was taking my attention away from my kid. This small hack puts the notifications and the texts, and the attention sucking out of your mind and just away for the moment.
HACK #6: Outsource what has been sitting on the back-burner.
Every time that I’ve done this, it has literally changed my business and helped me grow so freaking quickly. If there’s something that you keep meaning to do and it keeps getting pushed to the bottom of your list, ask yourself if you can outsource it. Outsourcing in my business has been so, so huge for me and freeing up my time to work on my clients and bettering their experience.
Trust me, I get it. It can be really scary to outsource something and to pay somebody to do something that you’re capable of doing. But I can tell you… My time is so valuable to me that I am willing to pay people to do things that frees up my time, whether that allows me to do more work or projects that I’m really interested in, whether that allows me to go plant my garden next week. Whatever it is.
What it would be worth if you could get hours and hours of time back and also have somebody who is maybe even better at doing it than you are? I know it can be scary, but just think about how non-scary and awesome it could be if you did it.
If you have any questions at all on any of the tips that I gave you, hit me up in the DM. Looking for more small biz tips? Check out this Confidence Exercise for entrepreneurs here.