It’s Monday morning. You’ve had a restful weekend and you are in your office with your favorite morning beverage and ready to get started pumping out some creative work. Right in the middle of things a client contacts you with a technical problem they are having with their website. You let them know you’ll look into it and then one of your favorite clients calls and wants to talk to you about some new ideas they have for their business. After that call you get back to sorting out the technical issue and then remember you have a webinar to attend in an hour that you signed up for. All the while you are thinking about the bills you have this week that you need to cover. Your head is swirling with all the things you need to do and then, 8 hours later you have not done anything you originally planned for the day!
Sound familiar? Happens to me all the time.
As well as being a web developer and designer, I have also been a practicing Buddhist for the past 7 years. One of the things that my practice has taught me is the importance of routine. It is critical for creative types like myself to have a routine and stick with it whenever possible because it is so easy to become overwhelmed with all of the elements that are part of running any type of creative business. I came into my entrepreneurship with a background in art and design and have had to learn the business side of things as I go. Part of this is making lists, keeping calendars and taking lots of notes. I have two paper calendars, one Google calendar and three white boards in my office with all manner of work flow lists and charts. I have found that the only way to keep myself focused on what I’m doing is to always follow a routine. It keeps me focused because I know that I start from number 1 and go from there no matter what else happens (save for obvious emergencies)
The days where I can successfully follow my routine ALWAYS make me feel better and more accomplished at the end of the work day. So, as a (hopefully) helpful example, here is the routine I follow during the day:
1. Meditate / Inversion table – Every morning I spend 10 minutes or so in meditation. It’s a wonderful way to set your intention and focus for the upcoming work day. After that I spend a few minutes stretching our on my inversion table because it just feels great and is so good for my body!
2. Shower – Because a clean body is a great way to start the day.
3. Cat Box – Yea it may sound stupid but have you ever been near a litter box that has been neglected for a few days??
4. Breakfast – This is actually very important because it can so easily be overlooked. Feed your mind and body and you will be able to be more productive!
5. Check, Sort, Answer All Emails – If you are like me you have dozens (or hundreds) of emails to go through every day. Like a cat litter box, if they are not tended to every day they pile up and get stinky!
6. Emergencies – It happens. Clients call with something that needs to be done “immediately”, web servers go down temporarily and need to be looked at, client’s emails can be on the fritz. These things happen and they almost always need to be tended to immediately.
7. My Blogging, Social Media Postings, Etc. – This could be one of the most important things on my list because its not “billable” and so it can get easily pushed aside. However, business development and promotion is vital to bringing in new projects and so it needs to be part of your regular routine.
8. SEO/SMM Client Work – This is the time I spend daily working on the SEO and SMM campaigns for my existing clients. SEO/SMM are ongoing projects that need to be worked on regularly to provide positive results for my clients.
9. Cold Calls – You have to make calls and contact people in order to get new work and clients. Spend a little time every day doing this and you will be amazed at the results you get. You don’t have to get new clients every day but if you are persistent and build up relationships with perspective clients then, when they are ready to pull the trigger, you’ll be the first person they call.
10. Existing Client Work – This is the bulk of my day. Working on projects for my existing clients who are under contract with me.
11. New Client Work – This is the second largest portion of my day. Setting up new client projects: New website hosting accounts, new WordPress installations, gathering creative discovery information etc.
I hope that giving you a glimpse into my day to day routine has inspired you or given you something to try out. Please feel free to leave a comment on what YOU do to organize your work day!
Skip and Sandy
P.S. Thank you to my good friend and tremendously talented artist Rose Adare for the sticker on my white board. I really enjoy having little affirmations around me to remind me to be grateful and practice compassion and kindness. If you are interested, her art can be seen on her site at https://www.roseadare.com/