That’s how I feel about Progress not perfection, my upcoming supportive email programme.
Having run several e-courses in my previous life at notonthehighstreet.com, I knew I’d enjoy getting into my first independent course. But I didn’t realise I’d get so excited about delivering something that I know is going to help people during the busiest weeks of the year!
Because it’s a bit different, I wanted to give you a little sneak peek of what you can expect. The programme is very low-maintenance, with three emails pinging in a week, for you to take what you need (and definitely leave the rest!). There are fun playlists as well as practical coping tips. Plus registrants can get in touch for meltdown support (if needed). You can also opt in to getting my care packages in the post (weekly!) for extra fun and nice stuff.
If that already sounds wonderful, click here to sign up.
For a bit more detail on what you can expect, read on for a sample email that I’ll be sending out in week 1:
The theme for week 1 is productivity.
Being productive isn’t necessarily about doing as many things as possible in the shortest amount of time. It’s about focusing your energy on the most important things, staying focused on what’s possible and achievable, and delivering on your priorities.
For small businesses and especially creative people, productivity can feel elusive. It can also feel oppressive – that voice that says “you’re not doing enough” and “I can’t believe you’ve only made 150 of those, you said you were going to make 200”.
That’s the perfectionist and the critic all rolled into one!
So this week, I want to focus on some practices that will help you to be (and feel) more productive now and over the coming months.
What does good look like?
Start by identifying some clear, achievable guidelines for your work and priorities this week. This is lesson one in progress, not perfection – we want to find things that will feel like good achievements, not perfect or exhaustive or over-worked.
You might set yourself minimum targets for each day, giving yourself a clear cut-off. Then add on the “would be nice” and “if I’m feeling extra energetic” options.
For example, as a minimum each day, you want to respond to customer enquiries and get orders out that are due that day. It’d be nice if you could also schedule some social media posts and get a head start on tomorrow’s orders. If you’re feeling extra energetic, you’ll write next week’s email newsletter.
What tools do you need?
Productivity requires planning and support. If you simply try to work as hard as you can for as long as you can, you’ll burn out. A crucial activity for this week is to get yourself some tools and support in place to make sure you’re at optimum performance levels.
What can you delegate to someone else or find a tool for that will enable you to focus on the crucial things? Can someone else be in charge of cooking dinner? Is there a more effective system for your emails that means you don’t waste time reading non-urgent stuff?
There are simple things that allow you to delve into making, doing, and managing: having enough mugs so that you don’t have to wash up.
Set up a morning and evening routine
Routines aren’t just for kids! It can be incredibly reassuring to have things you do regularly in the morning and evening to ensure you’re checking all the essentials and making it easier for yourself to be productive.
A sample morning routine:
- Wake at a reasonable hour, shower, and dress comfortably (and warmly)
- Make tea, coffee and/or breakfast – nourishing yourself is the first step
- Get the lights on, set up some fun or calming music
- Go through the list of orders to dispatch today
- Accept new orders and prioritise them
- Assign tasks to staff
- Check emails
- Write your to do list with “minimum”, “would be nice” and “energetic” filters
And here are some ideas for an end-of-day routine:
- Clear your inbox, filing away everything that’s dealt with, and leaving anything that needs picking up in the morning
- Do a stock check or set a reminder to check in the morning
- Clear your packing areas, desk and workspace – when you arrive back in the morning, you want to see a space that’s ready for action, not in need of a tidy up. Do something that your future self with thank you for!
- Write yourself (or your team) any reminders so that they’re not looming over you while you’re trying to sleep – it’ll all still be there in the morning
- When you’re finished, finish. Don’t faff around for another 20 minutes. Light a candle, start cooking dinner – find something that indicates to you that you’re now in evening mode.
You might also want to add in a routine for lunchtime, to give yourself even a tiny break. Whatever works for you! Remember: it’s about making things better, not making them perfect.