So you came to this post because you need to figure out how to make time for yourself without neglecting your business and customers, right? You may be a mom, a father, a student or even have a full time job besides your full time business as well. So I'm here to tell you that this blog post is gonna give you some solid tips and gems okay?! Take it from me, someone that has multiple businesses and a hectic life. Keep in mind, that these tips work for me, and are in no way guaranteed to help you (if you don't apply them). It's all about balance. Let's dive in.
Tip #1: Make schedules and lists.
Write it down. Get it on paper. Keep it in view. I am a person that has practically 3000 journals and sticky notes all over and on the other hand, I am a person that has over 100 notes in my iPad's Notes app. I've learned that having them solely in my app. most times I would forget to check the app to see what I had to do for the day and as they say "Out of sight, out of mind". And that's exactly what my Notes app turns into ( Confession: I still do it). So I got in the habit of writing my lists on paper and attaching them to my curtain right next to my computer screen (Innovative! *pats self on the back*). I also have a clipboard that I take everywhere with me,with lists that I hold myself accountable to and make sure I check things off as they are done. I also swear by Trello (look it up!). Having the lists and schedules are all cool but if you aren't disciplining yourself to use them, that defeats the whole purpose. I also keep track of my monthly calendar with a dry erase hanging calendar board from good ol' Wally World (Walmart).
Tip #2: Set deadlines
This goes hand in hand with those lists and schedules. Make achievable deadlines for yourself. Don't tell yourself you're gonna get it done tomorrow when you know that you have a baby shower, a dinner party and a phone conference already scheduled. Be realistic. Also be transparent with your customers as well, If you know your turnaround time is looking like a month, say that from the beginning. Even if you need more time during the project, communicate that and proceed accordingly. Simple. Set deadlines and meet them. Also don't beat yourself over the head if you don't meet them, adjust and get it done!
Tip #3: Don't forget to take a breather.
Whew, chile. This is for me! I am the CEO of working all day, forgetting to eat and to take a nap. Even while I'm talking about this subject, I am a work in progress, I'm human. Anyway, breaks are essential! They prevent getting burnt out, which is never productive. And who doesn't love a nap?! When we work 9-5's, we are usually allowed some type of break time. Schedule yourself a break just like a boss would, except YOU are the boss. Think like one. Even if it's 15 minutes, 1 hour, or the rest of the day, that's okay. Get some work done for the day and take some time off. It will boost your morale, I promise. Sidenote: Did you eat yet today? Don't forget!
Tip #4: Work Smarter not harder!
One of my favorite things to do is automation. It feels good to receive a notification that you received an order, and you don't have to do anything. Or even getting likes on a picture that you didn't manually post. So basically how I make my life easier is by using apps that schedule social media posts like Buffer (my fave), Planoly and Later just to name a few. Don't get me wrong, I still manually post but I use this for those places that I forget to post on, for example, Instagram. I'm hardly ever truly motivated to post on my business pages but it's necessary so I schedule the posts and forget. You can add the photo, add the caption and for some plans, add your hashtags right there as well. Schedule that baby and forget, voila. You posted for the day, your audience engages, you get orders and everyone is happy. The same goes for fulfilling orders. If you have an art (or ecommerce) business like myself, I utilize POD (Print on Demand) sites like Printify to fulfill my sticker orders (I will elaborate on POD sites in another blog post). The key is to, say it with me, Work SMARTER, not HARDER.
Tip #5: Set business hours and stick to them
I am a business order (multiple businesses at this point, Ill plug them all below) but before that I am a wife, daughter and friend. It's so important that we don't get so wrapped up in our business that we forget and ignore outside responsibilities. We can manage those by using some tactics from tips 1-4. The most important thing is to set hours and boundaries. I have decided that I don't work weekends, I also try to turn my office light off and close the door at around 6 pm (don't get me wrong,I still struggle at times). Now that doesn't mean moving to the couch to answer emails, all communication about business stops. Business hours are from 10 am to 6 pm. Firmly. Storefronts and other businesses have store hours and there is usually no deviation, your "small" business is no different. Customers will understand. Set those hours, communicate that and work accordingly. We can't afford to overwork ourselves just because people feel we can do it. Trust your body, you will know when you are over doing it. Take those weekends off.
As I mentioned, these are tips that work for me. As I type this, it is currently Sunday (my offday). This is personal project, so those are allowed. Just don't overdo it. Go spend time with your significant other, go to the park, drink that mimosa, and finish that painting. Work will be there in the morning. Wake up, clock in (or out at your 9-5, or however your day works), update your customers, make sure everyone is good and get to work. Don't forget to breathe, we need you. Thanks for coming to OG's Ted Talk *drops mic
Shameless Plug: If you care about my businesses, read on. I am the face behind the OG Penny brand, which is my art brand. I paint and design pretty things to have in your home, as well as offer myself as a freelance artist, and business guide (in a sense). I am a person that is a hoarder of random tips and facts about business and art. Whew Chile! I am also the curator (I think that's the correct term lol) for BKNK Galleries, a passion project that I am continuing after the passing of a dear supporter Devin Lewis. BKNK Galleries is a online art gallery that launches on July 1st (as in a few days). Almost done lol! I also own LoveOGPenny, an extension of my OGP brand. LoveOGPenny houses any apparel that you see me posting or wearing. All links will be attached below.
www.ogpennyproud.com/links (most of my links live here)