GUEST POST BY KAITLYN OF THE CROWN FOX
Coming from a creative background I used to quite literally “scoff” at the idea of owning my own business. That seemed like too much work when all I really wanted to was MAKE things.
Fast-forward a few years and wouldn’t you know it, I own my own business. In the beginning it was a struggle to find balance between doing the things that were necessary to keep my business afloat and still find time to do the things I actually loved, but over the past year I’ve managed to discover three ways to find time for my creativity and I’ve noticed three huge benefits it has brought my business.
outsource the work that's not your specialty
Early on I read that you either have time or you have money. I had no money, so I thought time was my only way to accomplish anything – that meant time learning skills and processes I didn’t enjoy. In retrospect I disagree with the time/money argument overall.
I understand that starting a business is hard and can be expensive and you want to save where you can, but even the smallest investments (I’m talking $5 for a Pinterest tool) can free up a lot of time. Even better, it can grow your business and bring money back into your business even quicker.
As your business grows you’ll find there are more and more tasks that you don’t really love or excel at. I would start outsourcing or finding software or apps to help you with those steps as soon as you can afford the investment. Maybe it’s bringing on a VA for a few hours a week to help with social media management or inbox management (my biggest pitfall, yikes!), or investing in an app like Buffer or Edgar to help schedule social media automatically.
What this does for you is saves you hours per week that you can then re-devote to something you love: your creativity. It can lead to better client work or products that in turn boost sales. It probably feels like one of those chicken or the egg situation, but to be honest: doing anything you can to avoid tasks that drain you and make you hate your business will ultimately be the best choice.
hack your schedule to make the most of your time
Another way to find more time for creativity is to stop dilly-dallying and multitasking and wasting the precious hours you do have in a day. I absolutely hate multitasking and I’m wary of people who say they are good at it. Because honestly, how?! Switching between writing content, creating graphics, client work, etc. all in one day makes my head absolutely spin and leads to more breaks, less productivity, and more overwhelm.
Instead, focus on creating a schedule that lends itself to your most productive self. I highly recommend implementing both time blocking and day blocking so that you can create an easy, repeatable, and functional schedule.
Time blocking basically means segmenting your day into particular tasks so that you aren’t switching between tasks every ten minutes. Time blocking is great and you’ll find tons of online business owners recommending it. I took it a step further and implemented day blocking into my schedule and the results have been stellar.
Basically what that means is I segment off days to devote to certain tasks. So Monday has a huge emphasis on administrative tasks (like going through that inbox, blegh), and social media scheduling. Friday, my least productive day, has a focus on creative brainstorms and letting my brain relax and just make things without pressure or deadlines. Thursday I allot a good amount of my day to creating content for the next week or two. Of course, having client work throughout that causes a little bit of ‘random’ in my days, but overall each day has a heavy focus for growing/working on my business.
Setting up your own blocking will probably take a bit of trial and error. It takes time to see what days are your best or worst days for certain tasks, but if you stick with it you can create an ideal week schedule that lends itself to giving you more time overall (and the ability to schedule specific day(s) for uninterrupted creative work).
turn everything else off
The last way to find more time for creativity (read: getting all that other stuff done) is probably the hardest – turn off notifications, alerts, noises, and distractions.
I know how hard this one is, as I am literally glued to my phone most of the time. But, remember how easy it is to get started taking a “quick break to scroll through Instagram” and then an hour later you somehow ended up your ex-boyfriend’s sister’s new roommate’s feed and you’re like “wait, what? I need to write a blog post.”
So, as hard as it is, put it down, turn it off, and avoid it at all costs. If that’s too hard then implement part of your time blocking to include a five-minute break to answer your text messages and SET A TIMER and STICK TO IT.
This one is the harshest, and maybe you’re more disciplined than me, but I also find it to be the most helpful in letting me fuel through my tasks for the day and leave me much more time to get creative and do the work I originally started this whole business for.
Now that we’ve covered just how you can find more time in your day or week, I want to also talk with you about just how beneficial creating that extra time for creativity can be in your business.
What do I mean by “creativity”? I’m assuming you’re some sort of creative entrepreneur, so maybe you paint or illustrate or design. Maybe you make beautiful prints or stationery or jewelry. Whatever your passion truly is, that’s what I want you to make time for. Why?
fuels new ideas
Overall, it’ll fuel new ideas for your business. You know how your best ideas seem to come at 2 in the morning or in the shower? It’s when your brain finally relaxes and starts to solve problems all on its own. The same thing happens when you’re creating and just enjoying the moment doing something that you love. I can do my best client work when I’m just immersed in a creative session, versus sitting down and thinking, “okay make a logo.”
I’m a strong believer in the notion that you already know a lot of the answers you need, you just haven’t realized it yet. When you give yourself time to be undistracted and unburdened and just be in your ‘zone of genius’ a lot of those answers start to float to the surface naturally. This is a huge reason I am such an advocate of making time to allow that to happen.
brings you joy, motivates you to keep going
We’ve all hit that moment of being SO over running your own business. It’s hard work, stressful, and there are so many facets you have to learn and understand to be successful.
What focusing on time for creativity can do is help you avoid that feeling of burnout or stress. It brings you back into your ‘happy place’ and motivates you to keep going. I know whenever I try to do a lot of administrative work I get really overwhelmed and start to second guess myself and my business – but then when I get into a creative zone and start making things that are helping other business owners, it motivates me to power through those harder moments and keep going.
give you the freedom you initially craved
I think a lot of us got started working on our own businesses because we were seeking a level of freedom. That creative spirit led us to want to pave our own path and make something of our own. Giving time to actually do the things you love is fulfilling that initial goal.