In honor of back to school (maybe it’s all of the email campaigns we’ve been writing for our clients), we’re looking at how we approach going back into work. Not that we’ve been slowing down much (or not working), but I will say that things have felt intentionally…lighter during these sun-soaked months. And with fall right around the corner, I can already feel the need/desire/expectation to goal-set, get ready and ramp things up before the end of the year. So, this fall we’re going back to work, but with a twist. Back to work…*YOUR* way. Because who says you have to do all of the things because everyone else is? We’re breaking down our favorite productivity hacks that keep the studio going like a well run newsroom.
I hope you find these productivity hacks insightful and in no way restrictive or as a “do this, not that,” approach. The biggest piece of advice when it comes to working your way is figuring out what works best for you (and your team, if applicable) and not everyone else.
You hear me right. Sacred. Time can easily get lost amongst the meetings, task lists and client asks. If there’s one thing that’s going to make you feel more productive in your business (and in your personal life), it’s being mindful of where and how you spend your time.
In terms of your business, here’s a few areas to put this productivity hack to use:
For me, I know I can get lost in a copywriting project and completely lose track of time. That’s happened to me one too many times! It’s one thing when you’re in the flow and things are moving and grooving, but it’s another when you feel as if you’ve wasted time and have no finished work to account for all of those hours (or even days!) spent on that project.
If you’re thinking, “Oh yes…that has happened to me!” First of all, know that it’s ok and completely normal.
It’s funny how when we give ourselves more time to complete a task, we will take up all of that time. Now, what if we gave ourselves a shorter amount of time to complete that same task?
This is the exact approach I started implementing in the day-to-day workings of my business.
I started giving myself an allotment of time to spend on a specific task. For instance, if it was time to dive into a client’s copywriting project, I’d give myself an hour to do research and to begin putting together the puzzle pieces of the first draft. If I made a lot of progress and was feeling good, I’d give myself another hour.
I found myself not only getting ahead of projects but also feeling like this productivity hack was a game changer for how I approached work.
I only started implementing automation into various parts of the studio about a year ago (thanks to our Studio Manager, Lauren) and I’ll never be able to go back to the way things were before.
Seriously. This is one of my favorite productivity hacks. With the help of Lauren’s operational expertise, she was able to help me spotlight a few areas in our business that could be automated and free up more time for ourselves—all thanks to Zapier, a program that easily lets you set up automations across apps. Sure, some of these tasks may only take a few minutes, but they really add up over time, and remember my note above about time being a precious resource?
Here’s a few ways we’ve been able to use automation in the studio that have saved us so much time:
Ok, let’s explore the next productivity hack.
As copywriters, we’re big fans of templates. Whenever we kick off a project and get into the writing zone, the last thing we want to do is to spend sacred creative writing time on putting together the structure of a document.
Similar to keeping your time precious and setting up automations, templates play a huge role in making both of those aspects work. I started making templates way back when I was a studio team of one and I realized how long it was taking me to set up one client project. Now, creating templates doesn’t stop at our projects. Since adopting this productivity hack, I’ve been creating templates for pretty much everything.
Investing in a customer relationship management program was one of the first investments I made in my business. I joined Honeybook and it’s been my trusted business partner, if you will, since the early days of the studio. I love that we can add in our brand colors and imagery so it seamlessly integrates into every aspect of our business from our website and emails, to contracts, proposals, and even scheduling. Plus, their support team feels like an extension of ours since they’re so easy to communicate with and are readily available.
This might sound funny, but whenever I’m using Honeybook, I love how it makes me feel.
It’s a good feeling as a business owner. So if you’re looking into bringing a CRM into your business, sure, I’d keep in mind what it can do for you and your business but also ask yourself how you want to feel when using it?
Ok, let’s move onto the next productivity hack.
When I first started my business, I was saying “yes” to a lot of things. Things I thought I would like doing, would grow my business, community or take me closer to my goals.
What I quickly found out?
Saying “yes” to everything was not the way to intentionally grow my business. I quickly dabbled in the realm of burnout (where no one likes to be) and I actually felt further away from my goals. I had sped up thinking that was the way for me to grow when what I really needed was to slow down and take stock of what I really wanted. And then (only then!), would I make a yes or no decision to do something that actually lit me up.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying at some point,…”if it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no,”—coined by the entrepreneur and author, David Sivers.
I think this phrase can be applied to both business and life decisions, but in the realm of productivity hacks, I invite you to keep this phrase in mind when you’re confronted with a task you need to complete.
Taking stock of how you feel when approaching a particular task can give you insight into areas where your time is better spent in your business. Now of course, as business owners, sometimes we don’t have a choice in terms of what we need to do to get things done, but it’s essential to understand what you enjoy doing, which can help shed light on areas where you can potentially outsource when the time comes.
Now, onto one of our team’s favorite productivity hacks.
As creatives who are in constant search of fresh ideas, inspiration and stories, taking creative breaks are necessary to feed the side that needs to show up in our studio almost every day. I’ve found that if it’s been a while since I’ve stepped away from the studio and completely shut off from my work, my creative flow is a lot more difficult to come by, and I tend edge closer and closer to writer’s block.
Whenever I feel this inkling approaching, I know it’s time for me to take a step away. For me, taking creative breaks have no right or wrong and they come in many shapes and sizes. What’s more important is acknowledging the desire to take one and to actually take action.
Here’s some I’ve done recently that been the exact remedy I needed to dive back into work refreshed:
Again, there’s no this or that when it comes to taking a creative break—it can seriously be anything! As long as it lights you up or fuels you in a different way so when you return back to work, you feel a renewed sense of work.
Working…your way, of course.
And there you have it. Our favorite productivity hacks that help us fuel our work in the best possible ways. I hope this blog post was inspiring and welcomed new ideas for you to work with more intention and most importantly, less stress.
Because having a business should be fun, fulfilling and most importantly, freeing. Don’t you agree?
There were a lot of program name drops above. I’ve rounded out all of the programs I mentioned above along with handy dandy links should you choose to give them a try yourself.
*Please note, some of these program mentions contain affiliate links, meaning we’ll earn a small commission if you purchase through these links.