One of the things I’ve been working on this year is thinking about how to make everything in my life easier.
From signing up for a meal prep service, to choosing a workout app that allows ME to set the time, to disengaging from drama that doesn’t have anything to do with me, I’m paying attention to what I’m spending my time on and weighing whether it’s REALLY worth the energy.
See, I’m the classic perfectionist and checking shit off my to-do list is my vice of choice. It feels SO good to write out a list and scratch those tasks off one by one like a total boss, but sometimes it’s better to just pick a couple of tasks to conquer each day.
So my current focus is on not over thinking every little project and taking the easier path if it really doesn’t make a big difference in the end. (Hint: often it doesn’t)
Here are a few of the things I’ve been doing for my blog + business to save time and energy throughout the week . . .
Take photos with my phone
I want to be consistent on social media and also generate a stockpile of photos for days like today when I’m so in the groove I’m eating popcorn for lunch at 4pm. This means using the iPhone camera that is always right next to me instead of hauling out my DSLR every time I need to shoot a photo. Even when I was clinging to my 4s and its crappy camera (until last year when I finally upgraded) I still used it for all of my blog and Instagram photos.
Only check email twice/day
Six years ago, on my first trip to San Diego, I did something crazy….I turned off all the alerts on my phone. No Twitter, no Facebook, no email, NOTHIN’! And it felt SO GOOD to not have my phone buzzing and beeping every 5 minutes telling me about emails and tweets and messages and likes.
And so, when I went back to work a week later, I did something crazier….I didn’t turn the alerts back on.
When I realized how many internet emergencies didn’t happen when I wasn’t available via email all day I made a permanent change. No email on my phone at all AND (the more important part of this one) I only open my inbox twice/day. Once in the morning (after I’ve been fully caffeinated and settled into work) and once before I close my laptop for the day around 5pm.
Create only two image sizes
If you look at any social media guide it will give you a long list of a million different image sizes to use for Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, InstaStories, blog posts, etc etc etc. Secret they don’t want you to know because they want you to save + share their fancy infographic…you don’t need to use them all.
Instead of creating separate images for every single platform, I make ONE single square image that works for my blog posts, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Pinterest gets its own tall image because it still generates most of my blog traffic and you gotta take up as much real estate as possible in that grid! But all the other platforms seem to do pretty well sharing one single 800×800 square image.
Never add tasks the day-of
The curse of the solopreneur is having a constant stream of new ideas, things to test, updates to make, stats to analyze, and people popping up wanting to collaborate. It feels good to knock out new ideas in the moment and respond to requests immediately, but damn if it doesn’t throw off my whole day.
I plan my entire month in advance, so when new tasks pop-up they never get added into my already scheduled day. It may sound inflexible, but those tasks have been on my calendar for weeks and they’re a priority for a reason.
Depending on the urgency, new tasks might make it into tomorrow’s list, but more likely I’ll fit them in next week or next month. For tasks that don’t have a deadline, I have a Random Tasks list (for admin tasks and updates) and an Ideas list (for all those product and promo ideas I want to test). This way they’re in and out of my brain quickly, and I can get back to focusing on what I already planned to accomplish.
Shoot Instagram stories in one take
When I post tips or updates on Instagram stories, I rarely publish the first video I record. Sometimes the lighting is off, I forget what I wanted to say, or end my video with something awkward like, “Ummm ok, so yeah the link is in my bio and ummm…you should click it?”
Now, instead of posting an update one piece at a time and letting my perfectionist brain edit every video, I turn on my phone camera (instead of recording inside IG), talk through the entire thing at once, and use the CutStory app (here’s a version for you Android peeps) to chop it into Story-able pieces. This means the 1 minute video actually takes me ONE MINUTE.
Psssst! All of my Instagram Stories ideas + tips are over in this month’s masterclass (Available until July 19th!)
I hopped on Instagram a few days ago to see if any of you had ideas to make blogging and business easier. Here’s what you said . . .
I’ve learned to allow myself grace with my editorial calendar. I plan my content out a year at a time, but then I manage it week to week. If I only get one blog post out, it’s not the end of the world as long as I keep up with social media and get my email out. (Haven’t missed an email in 1.5 years!) – Miranda @spookylittlehalloween
It’s not really a shortcut but I always tell myself that the thing I’m creating is a rough draft. That helps me to actually make the thing instead of second guessing every single decision while I’m creating. Then when I’m done I can decide if it’s good to post/share. Most of the time, I’ve put in enough time and effort that I don’t go back make any changes…I just roll with it. Doing this has saved my perfectionist self from going insane! – Amanda @amanda_creek
Literally just this week I’ve started using photos from out various holidays for my Instagram feed. They were all taken with my DSLR and since my regular life doesn’t have a huge amount of variety it allows me to have more variety in my photos and share some of the more beautiful places I’ve been able to visit. – Meghann @meghannlawrance
I finish things (particularly digital products) to the point where they are a “good enough,” 80% done draft and go ahead and release them. I have to remind myself that my audience doesn’t know what the other 20% in my head looks like, and most times that 20% only impacts me and my preferences as a designer, so it’s okay to make those last little changes to a Version 2 or an upgrade. – Alysha @basilandbark
I’ve started using more stock photography for Instagram! I love taking photos but Instagram made me not love it as much…so I took that pressure off! – Dana @dananicoledesigns
I schedule my Instagram posts once a week so I don’t have to think about it every day. And I note down captions as I think of them on my phone so when scheduling it’s easier. I’m also inviting my community to contribute to my blog – 1) because I want to share their stories but also 2) because then it’s not just on me to keep creating the posts. – Ruth @theantihustleproject