Owning a business is hard.
Marketing a business is even harder.
Trying to do it all and have a life… Well, that’s just ludicrous.
Not to say that it can’t be done, or that I’m not trying, but one thing I’ve learned from starting a business, and then a blog, is that it’s all about the “effective time” you put in.
I’m not always the best at that. I work and write and dream in hopes of putting stuff out there that’s awesome and helpful and prosperous, but it doesn’t always turn out that way.
When I first started Radiant Rumble, I was gaining so much ground because there were deadlines and goals moving at what felt like lightning speed. That was definitely effective time spent. But now that the launch is over and everything is “back to normal”, the blog is another thing that piles up along with all of the other stuff that needs effective-time-spent.
Don’t get me wrong: I wouldn’t and won’t go back. I love having a blog. I hope it will one day help others in similar situations as myself. I hope it’s helping you now. But in the midst of the rest of the business to-do’s, it’s hard to add more to the list, especially when the only one ticking off the things on the never-ending list is you and me.
With that said, there are some habits I’ve come to form, accept that they’re needed, and grow to appreciate in this journey of growing a business. They’re pretty awesome, and have helped in ways I never expected.
I will say, however, they aren’t fool-proof or some magic formula. They’re just what I’ve found that works to keep me focused and creative. They may or may not work for you, but it’s worth a try – as stated before, it’s all about the effective time spent.
My 9 Effective Time Habits
#1. Writing More Down
Simply put, if I have an idea, I write it down – whether on paper or a not on my phone. This is great on the fly, or to remember full ideas instead of half-thoughts. This has also been known to produce more ideas as I’m writing the initial one, so it’s made for a very productive habit.
#2. Emailing Articles to Myself
I have folders and subfolders within my email box, so if I find something and don’t have time to read it, I’ll send it to myself for later. If it’s urgent, I’ll put “READ TONIGHT” in the subject line, because I know I’ll be checking my email that evening and will see it as important. I can then Pin it, or file it away into one of my inbox’s folders for easy access.
#3. Saving Stuff
As mentioned above, I love saving emails, pins, articles, etc., as reference or inspiration. Everything has a category, folder, subfolder, tag, board, etc., so that I can easily find ideas at a later date. If it’s on a piece of paper, I either consolidate it all within a document or email, or take a photo of it to categorize. I then chuck the hard copy because I like to be organized; loose notes/papers just pile up!
#4. Getting Away from the Computer/Office
As hard as it may sound, it definitely helps to take a break every so often – whether it be for a few minutes or a day. Stretch, go outside, read a few pages of that book you’ve been “reading”, whatever it is that will help you clear your mind and get you back into the game. The only catch is that you have to actually do it, which can get hairy when you’re “in the middle of something” or you “have to get this done asap“. Still yet, the answer is Nike’s philosophy: Just Do It.
#5. Personal and Professional Routines
There’s a time to work, and a time to take a break. Finding the balance is hard, because having a business consumes your every thought and action. However, learning to schedule time wisely is something I’ve been working on, and it’s very beneficial when done right! Still a work in progress, but it’s not as annoying as it used to be to step away for a bit. I don’t have a “hard schedule”, but I do have a routine. Hard schedules, in my mind, put me into a box to where I generally freak out if my day doesn’t go as scheduled… lesson learned for another day… BUT, a routine allows for daily things, work things, husband things, food things – all those things that make up a day – yet I don’t have to follow it to a “T”, like with a “hard schedule”. Routines are flexible, schedules are not.
#6. Interaction with Followers
It’s hard, and can even be annoying sometimes, to have to get online to chum up to people you don’t know. However, that’s not the same as actually interacting with people you think genuinely may be interested in what you have to offer, and vise versa (some of the best advice I’ve gotten with social media so far!). Something not genuine is only spinning your wheels at something not genuine. In the end, it’s a dead end road. Be intentional. Be effective. Be genuine. The rest will come with time and lots of patience!
#7. Setting Monthly Goals
Seems like a no-brainer, but if you’re like me, you may have set yearly goals and then stopped there. You may have set monthly goals, but not consistently. You also may have gone half-way through the year and realized you haven’t done anything to bring your company to the next level. I’ve been guilty of all of those things. But one choice can change it all. This past October, I started setting monthly goals for the following month about a week or two in advance. And it’s helped tremendously. I never get everything done (call me a wannabe over-achiever), but I at least try. This habit has allowed me to actually work towards something every single month. When it’s time to schedule goals for the upcoming month, I’ll add new goals, and maybe bring on some previously un-touched goals to try to tackle for the following month. With this goal, I know three things:
- I’m pushing myself every month instead of staying stagnate or wondering what to do (I’m definitely a list person!). Goals written, for me, means goals getting ticked off the list.
- I’m making progress, written down, to look back on, learn from, celebrate, and move forward with. Motivation and confirmation, all in one.
- I’m moving forward, learning, and getting better at what I do.
#8. Breaking Down Goals
Writing down goals for the month, year, week, doesn’t mean anything unless they are broken down into actionable steps that can be accomplished one by one. This year, I made yearly goals (see my top list) and then every month I break them down into actionable steps. This way, I’m making small victories month by month to accomplish my overall goals at the end of the year. If the monthly goals don’t align with the yearly goals, I either put them aside for later, or add them at the bottom of the list to possibly accomplish that month – but they aren’t as much a priority. I need to be working towards those yearly goals in small increments, so doing something that’s not working towards them is just a distraction – however good or awesome that goal may be. If it’s super awesome, however, you be the deciding factor of whether to add it to (or replace another goal) on your yearly list.
This goal not only pertains to my business, but life in general, because they intertwine so much. It’s on my list to clean my desk every Friday – clear the clutter and throw away the trash. This, I know, is the one that falls to the wayside the most, but that’s okay. When I created this list of “Effective Time” Habits, it wasn’t because I always do every single one; it was because I know they all work together to accomplish the same end: Moving Forward. When I don’t get all of them done, I can take a step back and figure out why. Or I can let it go, because next week is a new week and I can clean my desk then (haha)!
Now you know what I’ve been doing since starting the blog, and also why I don’t always clean my desk! It’s definitely something I want to do, but it’s not as important as setting goals for the following month… definitely have to pick your battles sometimes!! When figuring out what habits to adapt, find the ones that mean the most to you, and work on those the hardest. If you want to make them happen, you’ll generally have more motivation and energy to do so.
Thank you all for reading and following, I really do appreciate it. I’d love a tweet or a Pin, comment or a follow!
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