Laundry and dry cleaning completed in an hour and a half. Writing for Instagram in an hour for the whole week. Cooking meals for the week in three hours. Sometimes in order to live the life you want, radical and free, to have a mobile office and lead a life of adventure, we must put systems into place. When I ditch my systems, I find myself behind and overwhelmed. Maybe you’ve been there too. The redesign and branding project started out as fun. Instagram and Periscope started out as fun, but now feels like a chore. You long to grow as a creative and continue to push yourself in your craft, but are finding yourself too deep in the daily grind to get ahead.
We need systems to keep moving forward in our businesses and craft.
Can I tell you something?
I used to hate systems.
I fought them. I thought my art, creativity, and process would be cheapened if I adapted structure. What have I learned? Systems and structure actually bring creativity, moments where you freed up, and creates breathing room to thrive.
What are those pesky tasks? The ones that suck you dry and make you want to go take a nap? Develop systems for those first. Maybe it means figuring out ways to do laundry quickly and efficiently. Maybe it means developing solid morning and evening routines to stay focused throughout the day. If you’re running your own business, it might mean developing a system for on-boarding clients, or standard form emails for inquiries or collaborations.
We don’t add systems to our lives to make life rigid and boring. That’s far from the point. We create systems pave the way. Around here systems create space. They allow me to go to school, to find adventure on the weekends, and to create freely. I’m no longer playing catchup feeling overwhelmed.
Site redesigns take time. Reaching quarterly goals and drafting business plans aren’t for the faint of heart. When focusing on growth, both personally and for your business, using structure creates space to move forward and pursue the big goals you need to thrive and grow.
On the weekends, when I’m out of class and have more natural light, I focus on shooting content for the next week. When I do my grocery shopping for the week, I buy all the ingredients I need, saving a trip. On shooting day, I gather backdrops and props from the closet and make it happen. (A bonus, by cooking and shooting on the weekends, I have meals ready throughout the week.)
I plan out my week on Sunday evening. This keeps me ahead rather than feeling that I’ve fallen behind by making my to-do list on Monday morning. There are unexpected plans that might come up, but this keeps me from being overwhelmed and lets me stay on top of everything.
I spend one hour a week writing my Instagram posts. All of my Instagram posts are latergrams. I spend time drafting thoughtful, well-written posts to delight and engage my audience for the week. Sometimes these are to promote blog posts and other times they are a form of microblogging. Then, I create a shot sheet for Instagram. Instead of working from a paper shot sheet, I opt to use an album in my phone labeled shot sheet. These are my items to shoot for Instagram outside of blog content. Sometimes I have images saved and edited on my phone ready to publish and write according to the images I have. It just depends on the week and the content coming through.
I hate doing laundry. It seems like an endless chore that could take all Saturday if I let it. You know those pesky tasks? Laundry is one of them for me. I choose to stay focused and knock it out. I set timers for when my laundry should be done and when one load is dry, I’m folding it immediately, while the other is being washed. If I have dry clean items, they go in the dryer when the first load of wash is running, keeping things moving.
Always worried about your monthly spending? I used to be. Now I track my spending simply with my calculator app. Every time I make a purchase, I enter the amount into my calculator. This grants me peace of mind and knowing when specific purchases can be made, particularly when I choose to invest back into my business.
Feeling inspired? What systems do you have? What systems are you wanting to develop?