Recently I decided to come clean about being a total scatterbrain. I’m disorganized, messy, and easily distracted.
This definitely doesn’t match the image most of us have when we think of successful entrepreneurs. It’s all color-coded calendars and offices that look like styled stock photos. I wish I was that person, but sadly I am not.
The combination of disorganized and easily distracted lends itself well to a lot of half finished projects and unmet goals. I get an idea, I start to work on it, I forget what I was doing, I get a new idea, start work on that one… you get it.
This year I made a few goals in January – probably similar to many of your goals – write an ebook, launch an e-course, make a bajillion dollars, etc etc. But when I did a mid-year review I realized I hadn’t made good on any of it. I had notebooks full of ideas, outlines, and plans, but I hadn’t shared anything with the world, meaning that all that work was helping no one.
So in an effort to get more done and be a total boss for the rest of 2015, I’ve experimented with a few new productivity tricks and tools.
Task Management With Asana
I am obsessed with to-do lists. I love the feeling of getting organized with a new list, checking off items as I go, seeing what’s left to do. The problem is that I’m always starting new lists. Writing to-do lists is actually a form of procrastination for me because I’m writing what needs to be done on yet another sticky note rather than just doing it.
While this is definitely still a crutch, Asana has helped immensely. Now everything is transferred into Asana and organized into one master list with deadlines attached. It keeps me on track and helps me to visualize how much work I have coming up in any given time period.
The feature that helps me most in Asana is creating recurring tasks. I set up all of my marketing activities as recurring weekly tasks so that I’m reminded to schedule social media, write a weekly blog post, even share posts in different Facebook groups I’m in.
I can honestly say that I’ve seen an increase in my traffic and engagement since creating these tasks for myself. Consistency matters, and this helps me stay consistent every week.
I Created My Ideal Week
For a long time, I just worked on different tasks whenever I felt like it. This usually led to Friday rolling around and me wondering how I’d accomplished so little.
Now I have set days and times in my calendar for certain activities. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday my main focus is tackling client work. Tuesdays and Thursdays are for marketing, brand building, and product development.
Basically, this makes scheduling my week out much easier, while also helping me to get into the headspace I need for each type of work without switching every hour.
I Review My Tasks Regularly
At the beginning of each week, I do a brain dump of all the things I need to get done – marketing activities, project milestones, client work, meetings, etc. Everything gets written down.
Next, I divide these items into categories that correspond with my ideal week schedule. My categories are:
- client work
- brand building & marketing
- product or service development
- personal development
The tasks then get put into Asana with a deadline. Next, I determine approximately how much time it will take and I add it to my calendar. Now all of that work is scheduled so it’s actually going to get done!
I also do a mini version of this each morning where I add one other category – who do I need to contact today? Whether it’s a follow up with a potential client or collaboration partner, letting a client know about a piece ready for review, or just calling my doctor’s office for an appointment, it gets written down. In my world, if it’s not written down it’s probably not getting done, so this is really helpful.
Morning Writing Routine
Even though I technically have two whole days set aside for marketing and product development work, I’ve found that creating a morning writing routine has been the most beneficial thing I’ve done for my business this year.
Every morning I make coffee and sit on my balcony with a pen and notebook. Sometimes I write for 20 minutes, sometimes I write for a couple of hours. Some days I work on blog content, some days I work on products like an ebook or e-course. Some days what comes out is complete garbage and I never use it, some days it’s some of my best work.
Since I started this routine I have blogged consistently every week – something I have always found challenging to do for myself while managing editorial calendars for several clients. I have also managed to write a draft of an ebook in less than a month, a task I always assumed I would need to rent a cabin in the woods for an entire week with no distractions to do.
Plus it’s just a nice way to start the day while enjoying that first cup of coffee.
After putting all of these things in place, I’m closer to my goals in one month than I was all year. Which goes to show that even disorganized scatterbrains can get it together and be a boss.