#HandmadeChat No. 10: Organizing Your Day For Maximum Productivity

“Feeling overwhelmed today. … My garden has gone to pot and I can’t keep up, with 2.5 hours on the mower a week, and then the house needs cleaning. Maybe it will lift after I do my big event at our county fair. I’m making lists of my priorities in life, and the yard and house are at the bottom, and by the looks of things, it’s obvious! I’ve had great success in my first 7 months in business and keep telling myself that I can’t be all things to all people. I just can’t figure how to divide my time so that I can keep products on my table at the farmer’s market and in the one shop I’m in and fill a couple of wholesale orders …” Sound familiar?

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While the details may be different, the overarching reality of life as an independent business owner is often the same — so many things to do and not enough time to do them all in. You may get some relief simply by paring down your product line, but you’ll also get some help from last night’s chat: “Organizing Your Day For Maximum Productivity.” Our facilitator was Mary Humphrey of Annie’s Goat Hill Soap, and the questions and tips everyone shared are priceless. If you pay attention, you’ll find two or three things you can do right now to make your business more productive, more profitable, and more fun. Here are a few highlights:

Q2: HOW DO YOU DETERMINE WHICH TASKS TO PRIORITIZE WHEN THE LIST IS SO LONG?

@anniesgoathill: Schedule (maximize) tasks by importance, i.e. production, website maintenance, newsletter, blog, social media.

@AstridaNaturals I try to tackle anything that directly leads to customer satisfaction early in the day. Answering questions… etc.

@IndieBusiness For business, I generally prioritize the tasks that lead most directly to money :)

Q3 HOW DO YOU FOLLOW A TASK TO COMPLETION, EVEN THOUGH YOU WEAR SO MANY HATS AS A #SMALLBIZ OWNER?

@anniesgoathill: Turn off social media (schedule it instead). Turn off the phone. Do not allow distractions. … Seek help with children.

@donnaderosa Break larger projects down into smaller tasks. Or pick one large project and focus only on that.

@soapcoach I have to use self talk because the multi-task demon tries to make me start on something else.

Q5 HOW DO YOU ORGANIZE YOUR DAYS SO YOU CAN WORK *ON* YOUR BUSINESS INSTEAD OF *IN* IT?

@anniesgoathill: A decision has to be made from the beginning, how much time per week (or day) can you allot to your business?

@highwireinheels Another question might be how much time WILL you allot to your business this week (often is different than ‘can’).

@skincaringsoaps It depends on my priorities at that time. It may change from one week to the other.

@mayamadeI have a good friend who also owns a small business. We support each other and brainstorm ideas. Makes a huge difference.

Q6 HOW DO YOU FEEL WHEN YOU REALLY APPLY YOURSELF, ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS AND ACHIEVE A BIG GOAL?

@anniesgoathill: A decision has to be made from the beginning, how much time per week (or day) can you allot to your business?

@bubsandscrubs Motivated to do more.

@highwireinheels Utter joy – such fulfillment, accomplishment and pride when I reach a big goal or finish a huge task.

@indiebusiness It’s a feeling of utter satisfaction. One of my mottos “Do your best and leave the results to God.”

Download the entire #HandmadeChat transcript here. In addition to Mary, several other people chimed in with their tips. You’ll find Mary’s answer to unplanned questions to be informative as well.

If you would like to learn more about Mary’s handmade goat milk soap, visit her website.

If this information was helpful to you, join us on Thursdays at 8pm ET and follow @HandmadeChat on Twitter. Take our survey here, so we can make #HandmadeChat even better and more relevant for you!

Here’s how to participate in #HandmadeChat.

The Next #HandmadeChat …

July 26, 8pm ET: Melissa Rivera will facilitate: Attracting Companies To Sponsor Your Website. See you there!

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