September was productivity month and if you receive our monthly gazette you know that I decided to take that seriously, ha! I was starting to feel the frustration rising inside for not being able to work on my own business, but going from client projects to more client projects, not giving myself the chance to tackle those deserted items on my goal list. Well, I said “enough” and chose September – as my schedule allowed it – to focus on Reverie Lane Designs matters.
I of course knew that I couldn’t do everything I wished I could accomplish in just one month, especially since I still have client projects to work on, but I made some specific choices and picked what I should give all my attention to. I know I’m not alone in that sentiment, feeling stuck and tumbling around with the motion not taking the time to dream or practically take steps towards those dreams and goals. That is the reason why I am sharing with you here today what I did/am doing during my productivity month in order to maximize my efforts in being productive now but also on the long run.
In that productivity mindset and in the hope of creating new lasting habits which will last beyond this month, I did a few things this past month. I am of course still in the midst of it all but this is the plan I am following.
I tend to want to get things done right away and over with even if they aren’t high priority tasks. I struggle with letting things be. If they are on my to-do list they must be competed, period. Well, as a solopreneur it can be awfully toxic if you are trying to create white space and find a way to work on your own creative endeavors. For that reason, as painful as it is to do, I made the decision to not have any starting project in September. To just continue working on my ongoing projects and use the extra room for Reverie Lane Designs projects. I know I must have missed some booking opportunities but wow what freedom! Freedom to say “no” and be excited about the outcome of it all. Freedom to create extra time for my own business, that’s what I wanted after all. It absolutely made any inconvenience so worth it. And guess what? I’m not going to be bored in October, because even after blocking the whole month of September I still booked some big projects for the following month which will make up for September’s lack.
When I first started considering doing a productivity month I completely felt overwhelmed, because I do have a lot of untakled goals and ‘must do next’ tasks for my business and the thought of them all is a tad bit much. I quickly knew I needed to pick some of them to actually be able to accomplish anything. It was hard to decide but after a couple of calls with my business coach with her helping me to bring clarity not only on what was high priority for me but also what my business could support right now and needed to grow in this season, I was able to select a couple of things to focus on. With that in mind, without revealing too much too soon (teehee) I am working on a project which will be centered on the idea of branding being a holistic or rather comprehensive notion for a business, working on branding from the inside and out – strategy, design and content. I wanted to really dig deep and gather everything I have heard from you all through the years, your struggles, your needs and your wishes when it comes to branding your business as a whole. I am quite thrilled about it and cannot wait to have it all ready to present the world, haha!
The second task on my list for this month was to finally update my website. I have started working on a new version of my website at the beginning of this year and had the developer work on it in the spring but I still haven’t had time to enter all the content. It’s been such a sad thought for me for weeks, knowing I had a beautiful website designed just sitting there waiting for me to finish while I worked on everybody else’s brands. So I finally started uploading slowly but surely portfolio images, copy, client reviews, etc… I am also quite excited to show you all. It won’t be live this month but it’s well on its way to be revealed!
This also has been on my list for a while ( you see a theme here?!), building my team! For some reason, beyond the investment aspect of things, I have been terrified and quite hesitant to hire people to help. I knew I needed, I knew it was the next logical step, but something felt wrong. I finally figure out that my issue was trying to mimic others’ business models. Trying to follow others’ pace. The truth is my business is different and really every business is different when you are talking about solopreneurs. I tried to hire a virtual assistant and it just didn’t go as I had hoped or I had heard it would from others who went with that route. I realized I needed to follow a different path and start right away with a business manager or brand director as some call them. Somebody who didn’t need me to help them help me. I am busy and don’t have time to train somebody or to give little tasks here and there but rather give missions and have that person create the tasks within that. Going through that experience also showed me who I need to hire next and already have two other job descriptions in the works. All that to say, it’s good to hear about what others do and what route they choose but ultimately you need to find your own pace and create a path, certainly inspired by others’ experiences, which fits your business and your growth.
This isn’t necessarily business related but I believe it touches every area of life to cultivate a grateful heart and walk daily in that attitude. I heard about The Five Minute Journal a while back and then again last month and decided to get one for both me and my husband. The main reason I wanted to start the journal during my productivity month was to make sure I kept my heart encouraged and focused on the positive no matter how well this month went. Too often we chase after things we consider ideal yet still find ourselves unsatisfied even after we get them. The Five Minute Journal is helping me acknowledge what’s good, to count my blessings in a way but also to know when a good day is a good day even if some things didn’t go as planned. At the end of the month my main goal was to be happy with even just the initiative of trying and any small victory I would have made. Having grace on yourself is part of the success!
Lastly but certainly not less important is my presence and my time spent on social media. Social media and particularly Instagram has been key in my online influence and I didm’t want to be absent but I also knew I needed to change my strategy a little bit this month to be effective in maximizing my productivity. What I ended up doing is not following a rigid posting schedule but just letting the flow happen naturally. Not wrecking my brain about what, when, how it looks, what should come next, is there too much graphic design stuff or too many quotes, etc…It does takes a lot of energy and time to put together a monthly strategy and calendar for social media and I wanted that energy and time to be reallocated. It’s been great! I’m still posting relevant and valuable content, a bit inconsistently perhaps but it hasn’t affected my following or the engagement of my audience. Once again well worth it!
I could probably write a blog article on each of these elements above but I wanted to give you a succinct recap of what I have been up to and how I maximize my productivity with the desire to grow my business and not just work in it. 2016 isn’t over yet. There is a whole quarter of possibilities ahead of us and with some discipline and motivation we can finish strong.