Today I’m going to answer a question that was sent in by puttypeep, Matt.
“I’ve spent the last two months working full time on my two blogs and whilst satisfying, for the most part, I find that there always appears to be so much to do, from design, to promotion, planning and so on. There always seems to be so many ‘things’ that are essential and necessary.
What do you see as the essential tasks that you need to regularly do? Are there things that you never do and instead outsource or delegate? What do you consider the key time wasters?”
A Common Problem
One of the great things about blogging as a medium, and the reason it works so well for us multipotentialites, is that there are many different components to it: writing, design, marketing, building relationships, multimedia, etc. But while this can satisfy the multipotentialite desire to do a variety of different activities, it can also be one of our biggest challenges.
When you’re a talented little scanner, who picks up skills relatively quickly and loves learning new things, it becomes tempting to do everything yourself. It’s easy to perform tasks simply because you know you can, and not because you’re excited about them. That’s when the trouble strikes.
For the longest time, I tried to do everything myself. To be honest, I probably still do way too much and should be outsourcing more. That said, I feel pretty happy with my balance right now. Here are some techniques I use to determine how best to spend my time.
Decide in advance which activities have the highest ROI in your business
I have a category of activities that I know are important. For me, this includes any products I’m creating, my coaching work, puttytribe emails, and blog posts. I consider these to be “high ROI” activities because,
a) they have a major impact on my business,
b) they bring me the most joy, and
c) they are activities that only I can do.
This type of creative work requires that I be in a peak productive state. I need to be creatively inspired and able to focus. The other type of work that I consider important is community engagement (but more on that later).
Ritualize Your Meaningful Work
Each morning I wake up and decide between one of these “high ROI” activities. I’ll either draft up a blog post, write a puttytribe email, work on my new book or prepare for a coaching call.
Sometimes I need to get a new post out by the following day or I’m meeting with a new student that afternoon, so there’s no question as to what I’ll be doing. Other days, I can choose. But it’s always a choice between these important activities, not between say, creating a product, and answering emails.
As long as I get one meaningful task done per day, I’m happy. Then I can move on to the other stuff.
If I find myself answering emails, tweeting or doing other non-creative tasks during my prime productivity hours, I know I’m in trouble. I prefer to save that stuff for later in the day, when I’m feeling less creative.
Decide what sorts of activities are most meaningful to your business, and then plan out a chunk of “sacred time,” each day to work on one (or more) of them.
Keep a List of “Less Important” Tasks to do for Later
Just because you’ve consciously decided upon the high ROI activities in your business, that doesn’t mean that you should leave all the minor things by the wayside. Instead, add them to a file on your computer or make a list somewhere.
Later on, when you’ve gotten your meaningful work done for the day, you can pull out the list and knock off a few things. Or if you have no interest in doing these things yourself, you can outsource them.
It’s really important to keep a list though, because you want to get all of these minor tweaks and tasks out of your head. You don’t want to be remembering that you need to add that testimonial to your sales page while you’re trying to write your next book.
Ritualize and Batch the Community Engagement Part Too
In addition to my morning ritual where I do the deep, creative work, I also set aside a chunk of time in the evening for engaging with my puttypeep. I’ll take an hour or two and just reply to emails, blog comments, and do my tweeting.
This stuff may not seem as important as creating content for your site, but you can bet that treating your peep right, being appreciative and showing your community that you care, is incredibly important for business.
Every little interaction creates an overall impression of who you are and what your community is about. After all, your main goal is to help people, right? Set aside a special time for this.
My General Rule
If all else fails, and I’m still stuck on how to best spend my time, I will simply ask the following questions:
- Among these options, which action would truly have the greatest impact in my business?
- What would happen if I didn’t do this task right now? If the answer is “very little,” it’s probably not that important.
- Which activity would be the most FUN to do right now?
If you’ve already done your meaningful work for the day, and nothing is truly urgent, then go with what’s most fun.
What tips do you have for deciding between the essential and non-essential work in your Renaissance Business?