Or, how to feel more productive and amazing…
Everyone’s busy. I get it. We’re all running from one thing to the next, trying to squeeze every ounce in to our day, feeling stressed, harassed and in all honesty, quite a bit deflated by it all. We’re failures!
Except, that we’re not…
I’ve discovered that by doing less I can actually achieve more. And feel better about myself. Double win!
A year in the life of a year book
Last year I purchased a year book. It was a thing of beauty with gorgeous illustrations, monthly affirmations, premium quality paper, and all the tools and tips you could ever need in running a small business. I used it every day, without fail, and found that I built small habits in to my working week. It certainly made me feel more organised and I was achieving more than I had hoped for. But there were also large sections of the year book that were just not relevant to me. I didn’t really engage with the finance section because I have a whizz-bang excel spreadsheet that does all that for me. And I also found that recording my social media follower numbers forced me to start chasing and craving engagement and likes. It became counter-productive and distracted me from the main goal – to sew and sell.
Keeping it simple
So, this year I saved myself a tonne of cash and have created my own year book. I used a simple jotter notebook and chunky felt-tip pens. It’s bright, colourful, and fully adaptable to me. I’ve set out my business goals for the year, my overall plans for the website, and an ideal production strategy based on key dates throughout the year. I know what I want to achieve and when I need to get started.
When every month isn’t the same
I learnt last year that I actually like to work in four-week blocks. I find that my systems and processed are best suited to that time frame, And I also find myself eager to start planning and moving on to the next four week section. 31 day months just weren’t working for me. Those extra three days were a drag and a challenge to plan for. So, in my new year book I create a calendar for the next four week block. In it I mark in what I’m going to sew on each day being realistic and knowing what I can achieve in a couple of hours. I also note when I’m going to visit each of my shops to restock, when I’m going to stock up on supplies, and when I’m having a day off each week, and plan my four weeks around those.
And here’s the game-changer
I also mark in two catch-up days in each four week block. These are two days when I know that I have time to sew but I don’t plan anything specific in. I use the two days to catch-up on things that I might be behind on, or get ahead on things coming up. It’s simple but genius. And it’s allowed me to stop stressing about getting behind because I know that I have a day coming up where I can get back on track.
Working this way is not everyone’s cup of tea. That micro planning can drive some folks crazy. They like to have more flexibility and go with the flow. But, for me, the structure works really well. It enables me to plan out my time and be more effective. I know what’s coming up and when I need to get it done by . I’ve factored things in from my personal diary and I’m realistic about just how much I can do each days. And some days I know that it’s absolutely nothing. And that’s ok.
Less is most definitely more
So, what with days off, catch up days, and being realistic, I’m actually scheduling less in to my calendar than I used to. And that’s ok. I’m not working frantically to keep up. I’m not working weekends. I’m not missing out on time just for me. Because I’ve planned out my four weeks, every working day is super productive.
That feel-good feeling
By the end of the four week block I’ve ticked off everything that I wanted to get done. I’m feeling really organised and amazing. And I’ve found that, although I’m working fewer days than previously, I’m actually achieving more and reaching my goals and not feeling disheartened about the whole thing.
Less is most definitely more!
One thought on “Less is most definitely more”
I love your tips for planning and I understand totally how hard it is to organise our schedules so that we get things done but have the flexibility to respond to unexpected events. I tend to go with the seasons and divide the year into 4 three month blocks and like you I enjoy the feeling of moving over onto something new and forgetting about what I did not get done in the last season, it will come around again next year!