Trello, Organization & Productivity

10 Office Items that are Destroying Your Productivity

Emylee here. As self-dubbed “masters of productivity” we know a thing or two about what’s helping you stay on track and what’s steering you off course. Some of these things are simple and some might downright surprise you, but chances are you have at least one of these items in your office that’s straight up destroying your productivity. So it’s time to face the music and cut it out.

Emylee here. As self-dubbed “masters of productivity” we know a thing or two about what’s helping you stay on track and what’s steering you off course. Some of these things are simple and some might downright surprise you, but chances are you have at least one of these items in your office that’s straight up destroying your productivity. So it’s time to face the music and cut it out. | Think Creative Collective

Take a look around your office or workspace right now. Are any of these offenders in your space right now?

  1. A cute little pet that needs your cuddles?

  2. A computer that’s constantly pulling you away (like, just stop)?

  3. A speaker that occasionally plays a tune you want to break out in dance to?

  4. A phone that somehow seems to never stop buzzing (byyyyye)?

  5. A cute little baby or child that for some reason needs you?

  6. A view of the great outdoors and naturey things?

  7. A coffee pot that wants you near it at all times?

  8. A stack of papers, bills, invoices and receipts (get them out)?

  9. An inspirational print that makes you daydream at your desk?

  10. A calendar that constantly reminds you of the things you need to do?

Ok, hopefully by now you realize that we’re totally joking. Please do not get rid of any babies or coffee pots because you think they’re hurting your productivity. Chances are...they are...but who the flip cares?

We live in this environment of wanting to have a clear cut and dry solution of “good” and “not so good”. So when we see lists like these we cling on to them thinking “gosh, there must be something on this list that I don’t know about! It has to be the answer as to why my productivity sucks!

It’s not.

In fact all of the things listed above could probably enhance your productivity if you let them. Dance break to some Beyoncé? Don’t mind if we do.

Here’s the thing. It’s time we give ourselves some damn grace. Some days we’re going to rock productivity. Some days we’re going to just suck at it. It happens and it’s okay.

You’re not broken.

It’s when we put so much weight into it working all the time that we begin to fail at it more and more. It’s when we beat ourselves up over having an off day that those off days come more frequently.

You’re doing the best you can.

You’re really good at your job.

You’ve got this.

We can only teach you our magical ways as much as we can. At the end of the day your life is still unique with its own set of circumstances that make your day-to-day different.

We encourage you to start looking at things a bit differently (even the things we share with you). Ask yourself, “can I soak this material in and then tweak it to fit my truth?”. No more soaking things in and letting them hang over your head like you’ve been doing it all wrong, okay?

Promise?

Cool.

Now that you’re ready to accept goodies in a new light let us share with you what we use. We personally use and love Trello. It’s a free project management system that’s the bee’s knees. We love it so much that we created a little program that walks you through how to master it for your type of business. You can find it here.

We’ve also found some shortcuts that help make Trello that much better. We’ve bundled them all up for you here. You’re welcome! How you can you use what we teach about Trello to fit your truth?


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Systems, Business

Why Your Business Needs a Systems Audit (If You Want to See Growth)

Emylee here. Words like “systems”, “audits”, “workflows”, “processes” and “checklists” - they can either make the extreme Type A person rejoice and ask for more or they can make the whimsical creative clam up and cringe.

Here at Think Creative Collective, part of “thinking creative” is to put on the business hat every once in awhile so we can check in with our growth and sustainability. And that’s exactly what a systems audit does for you.

Emylee here. Words like “systems”, “audits”, “workflows”, “processes” and “checklists” - they can either make the extreme Type A person rejoice and ask for more or they can make the whimsical creative clam up and cringe.  Here at Think Creative Collective, part of “thinking creative” is to put on the business hat every once in awhile so we can check in with our growth and sustainability. And that’s exactly what a systems audit does for you. | Think Creative Collective

But it’s not as scary as you think!

Running a systems audit on your business simply means carving out some time (perhaps an entire day) for you to check in with the way you run your business. It’s a deep look under the hood so you can spot problematic areas that are sucking too much time or energy away from important tasks. It’s designed to help you quickly notice areas of improvement so you can implement new systems that will ultimately save you a ton of time, frustration, and make you more money.

You see, as creative small business owners we relish when things are working, even if they aren’t working well. We’ve convinced ourselves that we’re creatives first and business owners second so if there’s a system we’re using we’re usually sticking with it to the end of time.

Even if we hate the system.


Even if the system causes us frustration.

But there is so much value in taking a second look, truly knowing how long it takes to do a task, and always asking ourselves if it could be better.

For instance, take how you onboard a new client.

Let’s go to the very beginning stages. How does your client initial contact you?

  • Perhaps through a contact form on your website
  • Maybe they find your direct email and open communication there
  • Perhaps they message you on social media

What’s your next step for each of these ways of communication? What’s your preferred method that you want every client to use? How are you redirecting them to that preferred method?

To go from initial contact to scheduling a discovery call or consultation meeting could look different.

  • Perhaps you get the contact form in your email or you see their email directly and you respond back asking when their availability is. This results in a few back and forth emails for you both to set a time that works.
  • Maybe you’ve seen their message on social media and you take the time to answer a few of their questions first and you communicate for a day or so on Facebook or Instagram. Then you share your email or you ask for theirs so you can move the conversation there. This then results in a few back and forth emails for you both to set a time that works.

What if in your systems audit you realized that this took you a total of two hours per inquiry to even get them on the phone for a meeting? Wouldn’t you want to streamline that a bit?

  • Perhaps you set up an autoresponder on your email that acknowledges their inquiry, introduces yourself and provides a link (in the email) for them to book their discovery call or consultation with you.
  • Maybe you set up an auto response system inside Facebook or one to use for Instagram that acknowledges their inquiry but lets them know you’d rather they fill out your contact form or email you to start the process (thus, triggering the auto response with your booking link).
  • Perhaps you skip the autoresponder all together and provide the booking link for your free consultation inside your contact form itself.

These are all variations of time-saving system hacks that you can find in your own processes by doing a systems audit. And there’s plenty more where that came from! We’re talking taking a look at every nook and cranny. In fact we listed all the places you might want to automate in your business over here.

Still not convinced? Perhaps there’s some tweaking we can do to your social media posting, specifically Instagram. Here’s what your process might look like:

  • Take picture
  • Edit
  • Upload to Instagram
  • Write Caption
  • Post
  • Type out your 30 hashtags individually

If you’re doing this for every single picture and every single post you’re wasting a lot of time.

Try this:

  • Batch shoot pictures
  • Batch edit pictures
  • Batch upload to Later using the app on your phone
  • Open Later on your desktop to batch schedule
  • Batch write captions inside Later on your desktop
  • Post as Later alerts you on your phone
  • Type in one phrase that auto-populates your 30 hashtags for that image

Boom.

None of this is rocket science, it’s simply looking at each and every process with a fine-tooth comb. It’s asking yourself if you’re using the systems and tools you already have to the best of their ability or if there are systems or tools you need to look into that can save you time and energy.

It’s when we save this time and energy for big and small tasks that we begin to open up our day to other things. It’s when we have a process for things like client onboarding or posting to social media that we stop resenting it when these things pop up.

If you’ve gotten to the point where you’re rolling your eyes about a new inquiry because you are dreading the process that comes with booking them then you know you have a problem on your hands. We know, cause we’ve been there.

It was when we dreading blogging, dreaded being on Instagram, dreading posting in our Facebook group, dreading when someone asked us if we offered a service we had discontinued that we would groan and complain.

Once we got a stack of those dreadful tasks we realized it was on us to look at our systems and do better.

Is it time for your business to do its own systems audit?

We’ve got good news for you: you can use the same format we used for our own systems audit for free. We’ve put together a totally free course called Your Biz On Autopilot because we know how many of you need to do this. But most of you won’t. Because it isn’t sexy or creative or fun...yet - until you free up loads of time to spend on tasks you do find fun.

Well, it’s gonna help your business run smarter not harder so it’s time you do it anyways.

You can enroll for free by heading to Your Biz On Autopilot.

We can’t wait for you to dive in and have some major a-ha moments about the areas of your business that need your attention. We’re literally giving you time back in your everyday after you take this course. You’re so welcome!

Get your booty inside Your Biz on Autopilot right now.


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Systems, Organization & Productivity

5 Tips to Help You Focus on Your Business (After Your 9 to 5)

The dream is real, y’all! Whether you work on your “hustle” full time or you balance your biz with another full time job, we get it. Sure, it would be easier to have every day, all day, to work on your dreams, but in reality, bills have to be paid and a girl’s gotta eat.

So where do you spend your extra sliver of precious time and energy once you come home from the 9 to 5? What are the key things that you should be focusing on that can propel your business forward? It’s easy to get side tracked on doing the “fun” things, but especially in the beginning there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes grunt work that’s just got to be done.

Since we know it can easily get overwhelming for you to know where to turn your focus, we’ve broken down the 5 key things that we think will make the most impact on your business.

The dream is real, y’all! Whether you work on your “hustle” full time or you balance your biz with another full time job, we get it. Sure, it would be easier to have every day, all day, to work on your dreams, but in reality, bills have to be paid and a girl’s gotta eat.  So where do you spend your extra sliver of precious time and energy once you come home from the 9 to 5? What are the key things that you should be focusing on that can propel your business forward? | Think Creative Collective

1. Start With a Clear Mapped Out Version of Your Week (Friday)

We suggest laying out your week on the Friday before, if not a whole month in advance. Sounds crazy we know, but if you can learn what is actually doable in the time you have, you can plan accordingly. Setup all the baby steps and must dos inside Trello, set dates, and then the Friday before copy the tasks over to My Week. Even if you’re not necessarily blogging (which we think you totally should be!) we bet there are still things that you can map out and designate days for to get completed. Not only will you have a clearer vision of what needs done, but you can clear up your headspace so we can be present with friends and family during the weekend. You’ll know that Monday is covered!

2. Spend Some Time Being Present Online (Everyday)

It’s really easy to get stuck in our own little “creative” bubble, but the power of being present online is incredible. We make sure to post on our favorite social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest) multiple times a day. If you know you can’t be on your phone at work try a scheduling app like Later (for Instagram), Post Planner (for Facebook and Twitter) or Tailwind (for Pinterest), so you can plan everything beforehand.

It’s also beneficial to be present in any online groups you might be in. (Need one to join? We'd love to have you in ours! )

Becoming known for what you do is so powerful, and it easily transitions into more referrals. More referrals means more work (which is money in your pocket). Try answering questions as they come up in groups, adding advice when it’s asked for, and always try to give more than you promote. Work on building an authentic and knowledgeable brand.

 

3. Get Back to Clients or Customers (2-3 times a week)

There’s no reason you need to respond to emails every single day, so let yourself off the hook with this one. It’s easy to get sucked down the rabbit hole of Gmail, so dedicate 2 to 3 days a week where you respond to clients or customers and limit it to 20-30 minutes max. If you blog, this could even include responding to comments on your posts.

It’s never fun from a client’s perspective to hear crickets when they’re interested in your product or service, so be in tune with your response policy. It’s good to let them know up front (like on your contact page) how many hours or days it might take you to reply.

That being said, if this hustle is your full-time, make it as professional as any other job and always respond within 1 to 2 business days.

4. Take Note of Your Results

When you’re still working the full-time job you’ve got even less time to lose than most. It’s very important for you to take note of what’s working for you as quickly as possible, as well as what isn’t, and to be able to adjust accordingly. On the other hand, you want to be able to see what is working well and see how you can replicate this for other parts of your business.

Use our favorite method of “tweak and repeat” to try new things and measure the results. Not everything is going to work for you (wouldn’t that be great?!) so take note, make small tweaks, and try again.

See where people are hanging out the most on your website by utilizing Google Analytics. 

5. Work on Getting in Front of More People, not Necessarily Making More 

It’s so, so easy to convince yourself that if you “just make one more thing” or provide “one more option” that that will be the thing that’s going to make it or break it for you. Unfortunately, this just causes you to invest more money and time into the creation of goods or services that nobody knows how to buy!

You’ve got to work on getting in front of more people, being talked about by your peers, and being heard. You can try emailing business that are on a similar level with you and who reach a similar audience to see if they’d be interested in doing a dual shout-out. Or try sending freebie products to big name brands to see if they’ll share it on their social media.

Try to spend your week strategizing between one and three ways in which you could market your brand, and map them out. Then pick one of these to implement the next week, and see what works. You might be surprised by your results, and by who says, “yes!”


We believe in you and we know you can do this. Working a full-time job while working your hustle is no joke, but if anyone can, you can. If you feel like you need some extra help with getting it all organized we definitely suggest you check out TrelloForBusiness.com and heck, while we are at it, we got a super sweet freebie to unlock some awesome time savers.

We’ve put together our top 22 keyboard shortcuts for Trello and Mac users. What the what?! And we’ve conveniently put it in a PDF so you can print it out and reference it anytime you want. Genius, I know. You can thank us later.


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Organization & Productivity, Trello, Time Mangement

What To Do When Time Blocking Doesn't Work for You

Emylee here. We get asked about time blocking by other creatives quite often. Do we use it in our business? How do we set it up? The truth is: we hate time blocking. It never worked for our brains, and we kind of thought part of us was broken. We thought it was time blocking or bust, and that if we didn’t time block we must be scattered and fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants type of workers. Well, we don’t really fall into that category either, so what does that mean?

Emylee here. We get asked about time blocking by other creatives quite often. Do we use it in our business? How do we set it up? The truth is: we hate time blocking. It never worked for our brains, and we kind of thought part of us was broken. We thought it was time blocking or bust, and that if we didn’t time block we must be scattered and fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants type of workers. Well, we don’t really fall into that category either, so what does that mean?  |  Think Creative Collective

When we created the boards and workflow that we show you inside Trello for Business we like to think of them as a unique marriage of time blocking + organic productivity. Because if you’re anything like us it’s hard for you to commit to specific task days. For example, if we set Monday as writing days and Monday comes and we’re not in writing mode it ain’t happening.

We very much look at the big picture, lay it out in easy to get done chunks, and check off as we go. It doesn’t mean there’s still not structure to our days and weeks, it just looks different. So when some more questions about time blocking came up in our group the other day we found ourselves explaining it like “well, we don’t time block, but we do organize our tasks”. So how is it different? How, if time blocking is something that just doesn’t work for you, can you still be productive?

First, give yourself some grace, you’re not broken. Just because you can’t work in time blocking chunks doesn’t make you unproductive. It doesn’t mean you can’t get just as much done in an organized way. You just need to reframe your thinking. 

It's definitely helped me assign due dates to aaaaaall my ideas and tasks to actually get shit done. And, breathe :-) My life was cluttered in lists and ideas that kept floating around in my head, they are now getting the pretty little card and deadline they deserve. And I get to exercise, have my nails done, and smell the roses while getting more done. 
- Marie

Secondly, the way that we show you how to use Trello inside our program Trello for Business is truly a new way to look at getting your to-do list done. It’s not time blocking, and it’s not scattered either. Let us break it down for you.

  1. Brainstorm all the ideas

  2. Map out the big picture

  3. Pull out projects that can happen next

  4. Get to the nitty gritty

  5. Set dates

  6. Go week by week, day by day

Here’s the thing. A creative’s brain never stops. A small business owner’s brain never stops. So we think that something as rigid as time blocking has to be the answer to our problems. But that rigidity is sometimes, well, too rigid. It doesn’t allow for creative freedom and whitespace. It doesn’t leave room for your mood or your life.

By starting with the brainstorm you’re able to get all those hairbrained ideas out of your head and into the physical space (hello, good juju). Just by getting those out into the world you’ll be able to sleep better tonight, we guarantee it (#NotADoctor).

Once you see all those wild ideas, you can now begin to ask yourself which ones can happen now. Which ones seem the most fun, the most rewarding (financially and soulfully) and which ones are in my wheelhouse to get done now? Moving things out of the “would be nice” list to the “okay, let’s make this happen” list really reigns in your focus.

So once we’ve pulled out the projects that can happen now we like to go into launch mode. You might need to reframe your head around the word “launch” at this point. You can “launch” your blog even if you already have a website. You can “launch” a course or a coffee mug. You can “launch” a Facebook group or a social media marketing strategy.

So let’s go into launch mode for 2-3 things. No more. Do not stockpile your launch pad with all your dreamy to-dos. Let’s tackle just a few at a time.

Okay so say we’ve got three things in launch mode. Maybe you’re going to launch:

  • A blog (on your pre existing website)

  • A better (or actual) Instagram strategy

  • An line of coffee mugs

Each of these would live as their own launch with their own tasks. You want to now break down all the nitty gritty details and steps it’s going to take to make these things happen. Some example steps for launching a blog might look like this:

  • Decide if you can add a blog onto your current website

  • Design what the blog page looks like

  • Decide on how often new content is coming out

  • Poll audience or ask questions to figure out a blog niche

  • Decide if you’re going to offer content upgrades to posts

  • Research how to add content upgrades to posts

  • Brainstorm ideas on what to write

  • Outline or write X blog posts (depending on how often you’re putting new content out)

  • Decide what your blog graphic should look like

  • Design blog graphic

  • Format blog post

  • Create social media workflow for posting new content

There are details we’re missing for sure, but this gives you a good idea as to how detailed you should be getting in this step. Now, here’s the most important part of the entire process.

Assign dates to each and every task. 

This right here is the make it or break it factor. This is the difference between “I’m thinking about it” and “I’m doing it”.

Inside Trello for Business we walk you through exactly how we do this in our own business for tasks like blogging or product launching. We’ve got the workflows built right in for you so you don’t even need to think about those aspects . Then it’s as simple as looking at your calendar and moving the current week’s pieces to, well, your current week.

So come any day during that week, you’re only looking at the tasks that need to be tackled that week. Your big picture plan is on an entirely other board so your little biz brain won’t get distracted.

Can you see how this is semi-time blocking, but not? It’s like task blocking. With freedom. Because now that you’re just looking at your 5-day (or whatever-day) workweek, you can move around tasks as your mood or life sees fit.

Realistically you’d have other tasks in your week, like client work, other content creation, and steps of your other launches (like the Instagram strategy and coffee mug collection). But at one glance you see if Tuesday would be a great day for brainstorming blog ideas of if you can can swap it with a task from Thursday instead. You aren’t harming the flow because you have all week to get it done. Just don’t not do things, silly.

With this method you’ll be checking off things like hotcakes, because you are giving yourself the space to breathe. You’re working on multiple launch tasks so you don’t get bored. You’re tackling the bigger picture steps that make a launch successful into tiny doable chunks.

To find out more about what Trello for Business has to offer, be sure to head over here.


Already in love with Trello (we get it, we are too)? We’ve got some shortcuts you might not know about. Want them for free? Okay!

22 Time Saving Keyboard Shortcuts

We’ve put together our top 22 keyboard shortcuts for Trello and Mac users. What the what?! And we’ve conveniently put it in a PDF so you can print it out and reference it anytime you want. Genius, I know. You can thank us later.


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Organization & Productivity

44 Quick Tips to Becoming the Most Productive Person You Know

Abagail here. Superhuman productivity is possible. Just like anything else it takes practice, dedication, and hard work. But once you unlock new levels you will not only feel like a total badass, but you are bound to see bigger results in your business, less stress in your everyday life, and the accomplishment of your big, scary goals more quickly than you ever thought possible.

Abagail here. Superhuman productivity is possible. Just like anything else it takes practice, dedication, and hard work. But once you unlock new levels you will not only feel like a total badass, but you are bound to see bigger results in your business, less stress in your everyday life, and the accomplishment of your big scary goals more quickly than you ever thought possible. | Think Creative Collective

Now, I could give you 4,683,592 ways to be more productive, but I think we should just start with 44. Your homework: pick 5 you want to start implementing in the next week and focus on those first. Once you master them you can always add more.

ARE YOU READY TO BECOME THE MOST PRODUCTIVE PERSON YOU KNOW?

1. Create goals.

Goals help you focus. Goals help you know where you are headed. They ground you in direction and give you a map to start on. Studies have shown that the more ambitious our goals, the happier we are. By deciding our own goals, our happiness is not reliant on others (source). Start with setting just one goal for this week. As you practice, you can jump into more long-term goal planning.

2. Organize your priorities & to dos in advance.

I used to waste literally HOURS every week trying to remember every little thing I was supposed to be doing. By planning well in advance and being clear on priorities, I now jump into every day with a clear plan of attack. (P.S. this is exactly how I do that.)

3. Continue learning.

You do not have the ability to know everything. But, by continuing to learn every day, you become a greater asset not only in your own business, but to every client and customer you interact with. You also have the opportunity to learn better and more efficient ways to run your company. Dedicate at least 20 minutes a day to learning something new, whether that's by listening to a podcast, reading a book, or checking in on your favorite blog. Heck, just by reading this you are already getting your daily dose of learning.

4. Get rid of distractions.

What pulls you away? Is it a loud environment? Is it who else is at home? Find a way to cut out distractions. That might mean getting a decent pair of noise canceling headphones or having a little self-control and turning off your Gilmore Girls marathon while you are trying to work.

5. Cut the crap.

Know when what you are working on just isn’t worth your time or attention. If it isn’t ultimately saving you time, energy or money, then why are you doing it? What’s the motivation? Is it just because everyone else tells you to do it? Cut out the crap that just isn’t working and move on.

6. Turn off notifications.

I can’t even express to you how freeing it is to turn these tiny little distractions off. They buzz, beep, blink, bounce, and every other annoying movement or noise you can think of. Notifications are meant to grab your attention, hence why they distract you. But no one really needs to know every time they get a new email, a new like on their latest Instagram post, or when their sister finally gets around to posting pictures of her new puppy. Turn these suckers off and then when you actually have time to dedicate to social media and email, you can look into them.

7. Batch your tasks.

Ok, before your eyeballs roll in the back of your head, stop for a minute. I too used to think that batching was stupid. I thought it was what organized cool kids did (which I thought I could never be, btw). But, ‘tis true. This hack does, in fact, work. Now, I am not suggesting you batch write an entire month's worth of blog posts in a day (that would be insane), but I am saying you should batch how your mind works. So put all your writing together. Put all your design or graphic tasks together. Email everybody at the same time instead of sporadically throughout the entire day. You will find some batches can be done for longer periods and some just can’t. For instance, writing — I am good for a solid 2 to 3 hours, but then I am fried and you better not ask me to write again for 2 days. In that time I may be able to knock out 2 or 3 blog posts and a handful of Instagram posts, but that’s it.

8. Delegate.

Your mom probably did this to you growing up and you didn’t even notice. She was the master of delegation. Not all delegation means hiring team members. It may mean you need to put your partner in charge of taking the trash out or your kids need to do their own laundry. I know, I know. You like everything done a certain way — life and business — and you are afraid that if someone else does it, they won’t do it “your way”. I challenge you to think, “What if they can do it better?”. Delegate what you are the least efficient in, hate most, or what ties up the most unnecessary time. And then have someone smarter than you do it. You are the boss, but find someone who’s brilliant at that specific thing and then just let it go.

9. Assign yourself a maintenance day.

We get so busy in the day to day of our business that we tend to forget about the things that just need to be done as part of a routine. Once or twice a month, schedule a “maintenance” day. Dedicate your entire day to things like updating your social profiles / settings, website maintenance / changes, running reports, analyzing analytics, etc.

10. Plan to assess results.

You would be surprised by how much making the time to just step back and see what’s already happening or working in your business allows you to refocus and have even better clarity on your day-to-day.

11. Hire help.

If you like where you are at, awesome! But if you want to scale your business, like really see a steep incline in growth, revenue, etc., people are key. Systems are awesome all day long, but eventually you simply run out of time to manage all the balls floating in the air. Hiring isn’t usually something I would suggest right out of the gate, but if you are starting to feel like you are simply “in charge” of too many things, you might need to take a step back and see where you can hire help. Hire before you are ready.

12. Say goodbye to trolls.

If there is someone in your life — whether they are someone you know or not — who is putting bad juju on you and your business, then get them out! Unfollow them on social media, stop communicating with them where possible and move on. You do not need anyone telling you that you aren’t capable! You are and you deserve awesome people supporting you every step of the way.

13. Set up canned responses.

If you find yourself writing the same email more than once a week or even just a slight variation of it, then you NEED to set up a canned response. I know it can feel daunting, like one more step, but girlfriend, this alone could save you hours and hours in a normal month. Not sure what it is? Here is a quick tech tutorial.

14. Develop processes and checklists.

Again, I thought this was dumb. I’m starting to think I am more stubborn than anything else, but I too was resistant to processes and checklists. I “thought” that if I could do something enough times I would “know” all the steps. Lordy, I was so wrong. This simple hack has saved me time and time again from sitting straight up in bed, worried I’ve forgotten a step. The stress is literally gone. And some processes that used to take 2 to 3 hours have now been cut down to 15 minutes. Not sure how to get started? You can copy and paste all of ours here.

15. Stop multitasking.

I get it, our brains goes a million miles an hour and we want to be able to watch Netflix, eat a sandwich, and write our first novel at the same time. Hello, we already know this doesn’t work, but we set ourselves up for failure over and over again. Just complete what you were doing, i.e. reading this blog post. And then you can move on to your next task.

16. Plan to launch.

I wish I could count the number of times I have seen people work SO incredibly hard to do the work. To build the product. To create the course. To narrow the service. To write the blog post. And then they never tell anyone about it. And then they lose all this time because they are already on to the next thing before they have gotten the full value out of what they have already created. Give yourself the space to promote. You not only get more traction, but there are so many learned experiences you get from putting in the effort that you can implement on future launches. Do it, my friend. You can thank me later. Here’s our quick-start guide to planning an awesome launch (with a freebie!).

17. Close your tabs.

Are you a victim of 1,000 tabs representing 1,000 tasks that must be followed up? Close them. Go tab bankrupt and start over. If it deserves a place and you aren’t working on it right now, document the page for later in whatever project management system you are using. Generally, you don’t need more than 5 tabs open at any given time to accomplish the task at hand. So just let it go. And if you seriously struggle with “losing” them, then at least put them all in one window and minimize it for later.

18. Continue to stay inspired.

You’ve got to fill your brain to keep it running. It needs more than just food and water to function. It needs a desire to move forward. Stop and read a book. Meet a friend for coffee. Browse Pinterest for pleasure, not work. Spend time AWAY from electronics. I’m giving you permission.

19. Reward yourself.

When we reward ourselves after a job well done, it makes doing it the next time that much sweeter. Take the time to recognize milestones and relish in the present. You can’t always have your head 6 months ahead.

20. Create a morning routine.

Remember the days when you thrived on routine? Think back to grade school. You knew when recess was. You looked forward to lunch. Like clockwork, you knew when basketball practice was. Everyday you got up at the same time and did all the same things before you walked out the door. Yes, I realize life as an adult is a LOT crazier, but I encourage you to at least implement routine into your morning. Get up at the same time. Eat a good breakfast. Have some time to just think. Enjoy a peaceful house before the dogs start howling and everyone else is begging for your attention.

21. Check your email at a dedicated time.

OMG. You guys. This was life changing. The urge never really goes away, but if you can have a dedicated time to respond once or twice a day, it will save you from being interrupted every 20 minutes. Just try it for one week and then you can argue with me.

22. Have an ergonomic working situation.

True confessions. I slouched my way into 3 months of physical therapy. And I want you to take WAY better care of yourself. They say sitting is the new smoking. We are a more sedentary society than ever. The least you can do is make sure you set up a workspace that is decent for your health. Have your monitor at eye height. Sit in a chair with back support that is high enough that your elbows can lay lightly on the desktop. Your shoulders should be back. And if your feet don’t touch the floor (I so feel you), then you NEED a foot stool. I don’t care if looks a little less insta-worthy — your health comes first.

23. Use music to your advantage.

I personally MUST work in silence, but if music helps you focus, then by all means. I’ve got two awesome suggestions. Harry Potter white noise and scientifically proven productivity music. Yes, I know I’m awesome, but you can tell me again anyway.

24. Know when you are most productive.

Seems pretty simple, but I’ve been surprised by how many people ignore their own body’s signs of productivity. Some people are naturally more creative in the morning. Some people rock it at 2:00 a.m. I am not going to argue that one is better than the other. I want you to embrace your own body and utilize that time to conquer the most important parts of your day! Deal?

25. Drink more water.

This one seems a bit obvious. Recently, I’ve read that we might actually be over-hydrating. Personally, I know I ignore my own signs of thirst. Literally, as we speak I should be taking a sip of water, but I keep writing anyway. I won’t tell you to drink 8 cups or the equivalent in oz. to your weight in pounds. But what I will tell you to do is listen. If your body needs something, it tells you. If you smell, shower. If you’re hungry, eat. If your mouth feels like the desert, go get a damn cup of water.

26. Exercise regularly.

I could go all science geek on you, but I won’t. You sit a LOT. Me too. Whatever your normal activity level is, I encourage you to try and do a bit more. I get it, right now it’s freezing outside and every plant is dead as a doornail. But do something. Even if it is just taking an extra set of stairs or parking further away every time you go to the grocery store. Baby steps.

27. Tackle the BIG stuff before lunch.

For some of you, this may be the opposite of what I’ve just told you. I just said that you should listen to your body and do the big stuff when you are most creative. BUT, I also want you to be mindful of your overall schedule. For me — creativity = morning. So I NEED to put the big stuff in before lunch. For you, it may mean shifting your schedule, but I would always try to keep that high productivity time first in your work day, whether you start at 7 a.m. or 7 p.m.

28. Take more breaks.

Your mind needs breaks. Take them. Embrace them. And then limit them from taking over. Maybe you know you can handle a 45 minute sprint, but at the end of each one you get a 5 minute social media binge. Totes fine, you just need to make sure you get back to work and you don’t let that break rule you.

29. Celebrate milestones.

Whoop! You just did this awesome huge thing. And before you can say, “I’m so awesome I just BLANK!” you are already 10 steps down the, “What do I do next?” road. Stop, take a breather, and give yourself a pat on the back. You are doing awesome things, so take a minute to notice.

30. Follow the 80/20 rule.

Only 20% of what you do each day produces 80% of your results. So how can you find your ROI? Where do you see the biggest bang for your buck? Put your focus on what is already working and again, cut out what just isn’t.  

31. Brain dump daily.

I’ve found the #1 distraction for me is my own brain. I am so focused, setting myself up for success and then this random thought happens, as if my own brain is taking me captive. Generally, this is because we just let these meaningless thoughts float around. “Take out the trash. Give the dog a bath. Email Sarah back. Set up that ad….” It can go on for days like a never ending to do list. Instead of storing all of this in your brain — dump it. Put it on your Trello board. Write it down, whatever it is that you need to do. Then focus on the task at hand. Once a day, go through the “dump” and see if there is anything that needs to be addressed or turned into a task with a deadline. And trash anything that is left over. You got this.

32. Clean your work environment.

You can tell me if you want that living in the mess “helps you”. But it doesn’t. It’s distracting. It takes up physical space. Heck, it might even start to smell if you aren’t careful. Take 5 minutes at the end of every day and give your space a little sprucing up. Take the dishes to the dishwasher. Throw away the trash. Get rid of the sticky notes. You got this.

33. Stop having so many meetings.

I can’t tell you how many pointless meetings I had in my corporate job. And when I started my own business this habit leaked over. When you’re confused, “Let’s have a meeting.” When you need to delegate something, “Let’s have a meeting.” When you have something to say, “Let’s have a meeting.” You know exactly what I am talking about. I would venture to guess that 90% or more of your meetings could be scrapped in exchange for well thought out communication channels, whether they are with team members, friends, family, or even clients. Yes, some meetings are 100% warranted and need to happen, but have an agenda, get through it, and move on. Communicate better. Period.

34. Create a caffeine curfew.

My whole life changed when I stopped drinking caffeine after 3 p.m. In college, I was invincible (or so I thought) and caffeine “didn’t affect me”. But as you age your body changes. Put a curfew on it 6 to 8 hours before you plan to go to sleep and you will be shocked not only by how much easier it is to hit the hay, but by how much more rested you are the next day.

35. Don’t watch TV in bed.

So I feel a bit like a hypocrite saying this, as I am fully aware that I have a TV in full view of my bed. That said, since separating sleep and entertainment (like, in a different room) I’ve slept so much better. I literally spent years “falling asleep” to TV. And I know I was more tired, irritable and frustrated than I ever needed to be. I just needed more restful sleep.

36. Set up night settings on your phone.

Did you know your iPhone (sorry, I know nothing about Androids) has night settings? You can set up a certain time of day to not only control the type of light (warmer and less blue), but also a sleep schedule. Your iPhone will remind you to go to sleep so you have enough time to be well rested before you start again. Well worth setting up.

37. Get a good night's sleep.

Can you tell I think you need some sleep? Do it, babe. 8 full hours. You might even need 9. I used to think I was better with 4. And yes, I do full well know I need less than my husband. But I was seriously kidding myself with 4. I needed more. And I am going to guess that if you are still reading this, you need more too. Make it a priority. Your health and your business depend on you being at your best!

38. Do not scare yourself awake.

Do you have a crazy alarm that sounds like a bomb detonating every time it goes off? Did you know you literally might be scaring yourself awake? This practice sucks. Your body was never meant to be jolted into morning. At the bare minimum, pick a different tone, a softer, gentler way to wake up. At best, never set an alarm and work on creating rhythm. I swear, I wake up on the dot within 5 minutes every day without an alarm. Now, if that just seems totally bonkers, try this app. This app will pay attention to your sleep cycle and wake you up during light sleep. Waking up during light sleep feels like waking up naturally rested without an alarm clock.

39. Visualize your results.

I believe amazing things happen if you want them to happen. I believe visualizing what you want is so incredibly important. As a Christian, I have had to strike a balance between when to call on prayer and when to literally just see myself in the future in this new and exciting place. No matter what your religion or beliefs, take some time to see what you want, so you know what you are working towards.

40. Meditate.

Girl, this is SO hard. Sure, I can sit and think all day long. Thinking is not the problem. But with meditating, I want you to clear your mind. This takes practice. The only way I have been successful is flat on my back, staring at a white ceiling. Too much popcorn and you start counting. A crack and you’re down a trail. A spider on the ceiling and it’s all over. Just lay there. Focus on your breathing and try and try again to completely clear your mind. Even well practiced yogis still struggle. It’s ok, no one expects you to bang this out on your first session. But oh, the relief. It’s amazing how much we hold on to. If we can just let it go, crazy things happen.

41. Get a little woo-woo.

Still following me? Yes. Awesome. Try some new things. Be open. Don’t judge until you’ve done it. Here are just a few of our favorites.

42. Show gratitude.

Every day, as a part of your routine, write one thing you are thankful for. Reflect on your results, accomplishments and even how other people have influenced you. Perhaps throw a hand written card into the mail to thank someone.

43. Set affirmations.

In the same way you might visualize, write down what you want. Tell the world as if it were a statement of truth. Document it in the same place every day. My favorite way is inside My Week in Trello.

44. Just say NO.

Did someone just ask you to do one more thing? What if you said no? What if you said that wasn’t necessary? What if you thanked them and moved on? You can and do have the power to say NO.


Still feel like you could be doing even more? We feel you. That’s exactly why we put together this free audio training. Inside you will get 3 no BS strategies to jumpstart your biz and accomplish more than you ever have before. Sound awesome? Download now.


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