Alicia Grace Co

Time Management

How To Plan Your Week In Tough Times: 6 Tips

Planning, Productivity, Time ManagementAlicia GraceComment

Whether you’re having a bad week, month, or year, it can be tough as a freelancer to buckle down and get to work when your head isn’t in the game. And in a world of Facebook, Netflix, and kittens, there are a million ways for our minds to wander when we’re going through a rough patch. 

When you finally do get down to business, it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed by the work, the marketing, the networking, the follow up, the numbers, the statistics—it’s all a little too much at times. The important part is to develop a process that works for you.

 
 Learn 6 ways you can stay on track and plan your week when you're going through a rough patch.
 

Here are a few ideas to get you started: 

1. Get It Out

You’ve got seven mental lists going at any given time, ranging from what needs to get done immediately for your current clients all the way to what you want to buy your family for Christmas. Your head can positively swirl with all the junk that needs to get done. The best course of action here is to get it all out. 

Grab a notebook and start a new list on each page. Get all the details out so you don’t have to kill yourself trying to remember it all. Once it’s on paper, it’s no longer cluttering your brain, and you reduce the risk of missing something super important. 

2. Break It Down

If you’ve got a full plate, but you don’t feel like starting on any of it, it’s easy to just write off the day as a failure and let the gremlins take you to a place of guilt and frustration. Don’t let valuable time slip away from you because your brain is making you feel lazy as heck. Break up your tasks into small, bite-sized pieces to make them feel like less of a burden. 

Try some of the awesome business software out there like Trello, Dubsado, or 17Hats. These project management systems can help you break down your tasks into manageable pieces, so you don’t get weighed down by how many things you need to do for every project. 

3. Just Do One Thing

I know, it’s easier said than done. Remember, any movement is better than no movement. If you’re having a tough time getting yourself to find the discipline to get started, give yourself a single, simple task and a timeline. You have one hour to get write this blog post. You have thirty minutes to write an email to this possible client. You have fifteen minutes to make this two-second call you’ve been dreading. Just prompt yourself to get one thing done. 

The excitement and relief you’ll get after doing it will make you feel so accomplished, that you may just start a second task! 

4. Phone a Friend

When you’re stuck in a rut or feeling depressed, the best thing to do is to talk to someone. You may not feel like it, but friends can be wonderful motivators. Challenge yourself to reach out. Get coffee, or just invite them to your house for coffee so you don’t even need to get out of your pajamas. A little bit of social time will go a long way. 

Once you’ve got your friend’s ear, let them know how you’ve been feeling and about your lack of motivation. I guarantee they’ve been through the same thing before at some point. They might even have a great hack for you to break back into the game. If nothing else, your friend’s sympathetic mumbles of “been there” will help you remember that this is temporary and you are not alone.

5. Treat Yo’self

It’s all about action and reward. Did you get a post written? Good. You get a cookie. Did you make that call? Excellent, take a ten minute break. If you train yourself to know that once you finish a task, you get a little reward, you’re much more likely to start getting things done. 

6. Remember That It’s Okay

You may not be putting in the 12-hour work days you were doing a month ago, but don’t beat yourself up because you’re not a machine. Just put one foot in front of the other and know your limits. It’s okay to have a tough time. It’s okay to feel depressed. What’s not okay is doing nothing about it. Even if you didn’t accomplish anything but taking a shower, remember that’s a step forward. Give yourself the love and self-care you need to feel better, so you can get back to the life you love. 


About the Author: Kelsey O’Shaughnessy Podgorski
 About the Author: Kelsey O'Shaughnessy Podgorski

Kelsey is the owner of Noted & Noticed, where she helps non-writers and sort-of writers create kick-ass copy to grow their businesses and nonprofits. Kelsey has been writing for nearly eight years and loves to help people get creative in telling their story. To learn more, visit Kelsey at notedandnoticed.com.


Set actionable goals

Set Actionable Goals - Workbook Cover

Get an 11-page workbook on how to set actionable goals in 4 effective steps, designed just for you.

You will also join my newsletter, which will be full of productivity and time management tips.

This is a no-spam zone. Powered by ConvertKit

Automation: A Super Tool for Woman Entrepreneurs With Anxiety

Productivity, Time Management, Organisation, EntrepreneurshipMarissa PaneComment
 Automation is a super tool for entrepreneurs to combat anxiety with. Learn the best ways to make the most of it.

As a woman entrepreneur with anxiety, I often get asked how I’m able to do #allthethings so effortlessly. After I get a good laugh in, because let’s be honest, nothing is effortless, I usually follow-up with one small but mighty word: AUTOMATION!

The process of automating as much of my business as possible is a lifesaver, especially during those bad mental health days. If I sense that I’m going to be under a tremendous amount of stress soon or if I notice that I’ve been becoming more anxious, I can prepare for the storm that’s about to hit by simply getting as much done as possible today, as opposed to tomorrow.

I’m sure you’re wondering how to do that or you think my ‘strategy’ is common sense. Read on to learn some of the many ways you can automate your business.

Trust me when I say that you will regret not automating these things sooner the next time you’re falling into a depressive rut...

Top ways you can automate your business

  • Schedule your social media posts ahead of time (!!)
  • Plan out your entire to-do list for the week on Sunday
  • Set up IFTTT to post a native photo to Twitter instead of just a link when you post to Instagram
  • Set up IFTTT to post your Instagram photos to a specific Pinterest board
  • Schedule a plethora of pins to go out each day via Tailwind
  • Write your email sequences BEFORE the day you want to send them out and schedule them to go out automatically (!!!)
  • Turn on an auto-response to your Facebook Page messages that redirects inquiries to your email
  • Schedule your blog posts ahead of time (!!)
  • Use your email marketing system to automatically send freebies to your subscribers
  • Use your email marketing system to tag or separate your subscribers based on their interests
  • Install Grammarly into your web browser to avoid silly grammar mistakes
  • Link your scheduling software to your Google Calendar so you never miss an appointment AND you’ll avoid becoming double booked when all your systems are aligned.

Shall I go on?

Basically, automation is the bomb diggity and I actually had to pause and think really hard about all the things I have automated because I’m so used to the systems running that I truly forgot about the many ways I use it!

Automation is the ultimate goal-crusher

Now, I know I said that these automation strategies are a tremendous help to entrepreneurs with anxiety, but these strategies can still be a lifesaver if you don't have anxiety.

Perhaps you’re a busy momma who is trying to tackle a side biz while raising a toddler and slaying it at her corporate office. Or maybe you’re a dog daddy and all you want when 5pm hits is to cuddle up next to Rex and binge-watch your favorite Netflix show.



It doesn’t matter what situation you’re in - automation will save you time, energy, and money!

Yes, it saves you money too! Most of the automation services out there are free, so why pay a VA to do the nitty gritty work when you can set up a month’s worth of social media posts in an hour, simply hit PUBLISH, and watch the magic happen?

Now that you’ve got all these ideas buzzing around your head, I’m sure you’re looking for an action item. Where do you start? What do you do? Ahhhhh!

Below is the step-by-step plan to start automating your Twitter posts:

  1. Create a Hootsuite account (It’s free, yo!)
  2. Link your Twitter account to your Hootsuite account
  3. Add a “Scheduled” Stream
  4. Add a “My Tweets” Stream
  5. Compose your first tweet in the text box on the top of the screen
  6. Click the calendar icon under the text box
  7. Choose your desired date and time
  8. Click Schedule CONGRATS! YOU’VE SCHEDULED YOUR FIRST SOCIAL MEDIA POST!

It may seem like the tiniest step ever, but once you start blocking off time to schedule days, weeks, or months of content, you start to see the amazing time-saving effects automation has on your business.

I recommend scheduling some time out of your day to brainstorm social media posts. Think about overarching content ideas - not word-for-word posts. Then, once you’ve compiled your ideas head over to Hootsuite and let those ideas inspire dozens of tweets!

If you want even more bang for your buck, reposition those ideas into Instagram captions and start scheduling your Instagram posts as well. It can all be done in Hootsuite, so utilize your time wisely and do all you can while in that platform!

I can’t wait to hear what part of your business you began to automate, today! Yes, I said today! Start implementing these ideas now and report back with your results!


About the Author
 About the author: Marissa Pane

Marissa Pane is a life coach for entrepreneurial women with anxiety who are ready to implement smart marketing strategies into their business so they can gain the freedom to take care of themselves again while their business continues to thrive. Her passion for mental health began in 2012 when she started her recovery from anorexia, major depression, and generalized anxiety disorder. You can find more about Marissa and her mission on SPIESFitToFight.com and inside her Facebook community, Decaf Doers: A Collective of Ambitious Women With Anxiety.

Web | Facebook | Facebook Group | Instagram | Twitter


Set actionable goals

Set Actionable Goals - Workbook Cover

Get an 11-page workbook on how to set actionable goals in 4 effective steps, designed just for you.

You will also join my newsletter, which will be full of productivity and time management tips.

This is a no-spam zone. Powered by ConvertKit

Prioritising Your Life, One Task at a Time

Life Hacks, Productivity, Time ManagementOlivia Sánchez8 Comments

My first semester of college was rough. Not because I was missing my family or the level of academic study was difficult. The reason my first semester was so difficult was because I didn’t know how to prioritize my day. I would get up whenever, go to be whenever, and while I was serious about my education and its importance, I did miss a few assignments. You see up until that point, other people had prioritized all of my tasks and activities for me: my parents, my teachers, my coaches all told me what to do, when to do it and gave me plenty of reminders along the way. As a result, my transition into making these decisions on my own was a little bit (read: a lot) more rocky than expected. But the good news is that I learned from it and have passed that knowledge on to others, including first time college students. Here are the Top 5 Lessons I learned and that anyone can utilize to make their Adulting just a tiny bit easier. 

Lesson #1: Write it all down

 Prioritizing your life, one task at a time.  [Blog post.]

This is by far the biggest mistake people make! They rely on their brain to keep all their important items in order and what gets me is that they are surprised when items get forget. Sometimes it’s a simple as forgetting to buy milk and having to go back to the store. Annoying sure, but not really critical. But what happens when you forget an important meeting with your boss, miss your child’s school performance, or worse, forget your spouse’s birthday and don’t have a present for them? Yikes!

Now a lot of people think “I don’t want to have to get a planner to write all these things in. I hate planners. It’s just another thing to carry… Blah blah blah.” Okay then, if you don’t like planners, then don’t get one. Get a little notebook you like and make yourself a daily to do list. Or be like my husband, write one big list, cross things off as you go, and add new items at the bottom. It’s more about getting that To Do list out of your head and in the real world, where you can see it. 

Lesson #2: The Biggies

The Biggies are the really large categories you use to classify things. For example, a student’s Biggies might be School, Family, Work. My Biggies are currently School, Work, Family/Friends, and Home. And essentially everything that I have on my To Do list Falls into one of those 4 categories. By breaking things down into these categories, I can clump things together. Not only does it make it easier to write these items down, I can more easily focus on one area a time. 
So how do you utilize The Biggies to prioritize? Personally, I assign days to each area of my life. Sunday and Wednesday are Home days, so on those days, anything I have in that category gets priority over say the Family/Friends category. By breaking it up this way, I’m able to give my uninterrupted focus to items I need to get done in a single Biggie. I’ve also seen people assign certain Biggies to certain parts of the day, like doing their Home items at certain times of the day. It’s really about what works best for you!

Lesson #3: The 4 Ds

Now that you’ve got your Biggies laid out, how do you know what to do first? The method that I employ, and that I feel is the simplest, is inspired by the Eisenhower Box. Basically, I assign, and write, each of my Biggie Tasks into one of 4 categories; called the 4 Ds: Do, Decide, Delegate, & Delete.

Do items are High Priority because they going to happen that day, and must be completed. 
Decide items are Medium Priority, meaning they are important, but you’ve got some time to complete. Schedule time for these another day.

Delegate items are also Medium Priority. The way to think these items as “I’m waiting for something to happen or someone is going to do it for me. I’ll need to follow up later.”
Delete items are Low Priority. Whether they get done or not, it won’t affect your end goals. 

Here’s what mine looks like for my School Biggies:

Do – High priority items!

  • Read chapter 15 and take quiz (due tonight)
  • Discussion Board Post (due tonight)
  • Homework Assignment (due tonight)

Decide

  • Read chapter 19 (due Friday; Assigned to Thursday)
  • Group Project #1 (due next month; group meeting Friday)

Delegate 

  • Group Project #2 (due next week; completed contribution & waiting on other members)
  • Group Discussion Board (due next week; ask partner to write final copy)

Delete

  • Group email (no response needed)
  • Campus email (glance but no response needed)

You’ll notice that I put some notes to the right of my items. This helps me keep track of where I am on a task. While this is meant to be done everyday, I realize that’s unrealistic; you’ve got to have a life too. Once a week works well for this method as well. 

Lesson #4: Do the Hardest Thing First

This is my favorite lesson, even though it is by far the hardest one and took me the longest to learn. We naturally avoid things we don’t want to do and that is the root of procrastination. By doing the one or two items you’re dreading first each day, you don’t waste energy on the dread. For me, cleaning the bathroom is my most dreaded task, but of course, it can’t be avoided. On Sundays, I get up, clean the bathroom first, and then move on with the rest of my Biggie items for the day.

This works well for items that are Difficult or Time Consuming projects. Even if you don’t dread doing the item, energy is still wasted by putting it off, because you have to put in more energy later to get it done. 

Lesson #5: Flexibility is Key

In a perfect world, you’ll be able to accomplish every item in each and every day. But of course, it’s not a perfect world, and stuff comes up to derail your whole plan for the day. Flexibility is key!

This was another tough lesson for me to learn because I’m a Type A overachiever and perfectionist. It is really, really hard for me to leave a task undone and/or less than perfect; and I’m sure there are many other people out there just like me! But with some practice, you can learn to pivot your day as things change.

Now these lessons won’t solve all your problems and it will take time for you to get accustomed to thinking this way. For me, it took a few weeks to get the hang of it. But it is so worth it and had made my life so much more manageable. We all know that adulting is hard. Sometimes there is so much to do and it feels completely overwhelming! This is understandable and hopefully, these tips will make managing it all a little bit easier.


About the Author
 Olivia Sánchez

Olivia Sánchez lives in DFW, Texas with her husband and their two cats, Serenity and Midnight. Currently, she is an MBA student, works full time for a staffing agency, and assists her husband in managing his business, 8Bit Education. She love learning something new, writing, and education. She is passionate about education and her community.