The 6 Simple Ways to Organize Your Small Business in One Day

Let’s talk about how to organize your small business … because I’m guessing our brains work similarly.

“I don’t know if I could be in your head for a day,” my husband Wes told me over pizza in Oakhurst Village one Friday night. “You’ve got a new idea, like, every hour. Whew.”

I blinked. Every hour? You think it’s every hour!? Try every ten minutes …

Y’all, it’s true. Between my ENFJ Myers-Briggs personality, open struggle with anxiety, and chosen career field, I’m wired to constantly consume media and information, which leads to a rapid-fire stream of ideas in my head.

I can only imagine my fellow entrepreneurs and worker bees—whether you own a business or just get after it at work—feel the same way, too. We’re dreamers, innovators, and pioneers. Idea ADD is a thing.

The silo of information is something I always find fascinating. Back in January, I told my mastermind sisters that I think studying productivity is my side hustle.

Here are six ways you can get organized during your workday. (I really challenged myself to include things that you can ACTUALLY implement in one day. I mean, you may have to prep for them, but I’m not going to tell you to metaphorically clean out your business brain from attic to basement in a day. That’d be impossible.)

Instead, I’m focusing on six things you can do—to organize your small business— within the course of ONE day in the home office to crank out a solid workday given your visionary, day-dreaming mind …

… PLUS, a video of behind the scenes of how I track my time & my freebie time tracker!

Let’s jump in to how to organize your small business!

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No. 1| Design a Workday Wind-up & Wind-down Routine

Okay, you’ve probably (maybe?) heard of The Miracle Morning—I think we’ve all heard the stats: Science backs that that willpower is like a muscle that becomes fatigued from overuse, and people who wake up early typically perform better in many different capacities.

I love me some Michael Hyatt, and I got the idea of a workday wind-up and wind-down from one of his courses. I even wrote ideal morning routine and evening routine on note cards and taped them where I can see them in my closet!

Do I hit everything five days a work week? Heck no, techno (do the kids still say that?).

BUT, it’s a bullseye. And I hit around it a lot.

Workday Routine Ashlyn Writes-1

How to Organize Your Small Business Homework Task #1 :Design your own wind-up and wind-down routine! It doesn’t have to look at all like mine. These are just little things that help ME stay centered, and I love them.

Need more assistance in setting up your routine in? I’ve got you covered 😉 Check out these posts:


No. 2| Hack Your Sweet-Spot Time

I heard Jared Loftus on a Mavenly + Co. podcast say one time that he loves going to coffee with young, budding entrepreneurs—if they’ll meet him at 6:30 a.m.

6:30 in the morning. I mean, I’m a member of the Early Risers Club, but I’ve hardly had my coffee by 6:30!

Justin knows he’s in his creative groove in the mornings and afternoons, and as an entrepreneur, works to protect that fiercely, even to the point of weeding out mentees who may not be so invested in speaking with him that they’re willing to rise before the sun.

The One Thing by Gary Keller is a fabulous book that helps to hit on this point a bit more: Keller advocates that entrepreneurs spend at least FOUR hours a day doing that one, really important thing they have to do, like:

 

Calligraphy orders

Copywriting for clients

Painting

Editing

Designing

etc.

 

Whatever the “thing” you get paid the big bucks for is, spend concentrated time on it, and allow the rest of the day to ebb and flow. Keller says “be a maker in a morning, a manager in the afternoon.”

 

In my own life? I write best early in the morning, late in the afternoon or at night.

I write miserably in the 12-3 p.m. window. Miserably. I would rather nap.

So, I hack my sweet spot time—this is KEY. I make sure the first four hours are relatively uninterrupted with meetings, calls, or anything else, and I focus on moving the needle forward in whatever task is batched for that day. This has looked like carving out the morning block for my writing projects. Most days, I get in a quick workout before I’m “on enough” to say no, have my quiet time, and then knock out my biggest tasks of the day before noon.

In the late afternoon, my mind is foggy, and that time is best for admin tasks.

How to Organize Your Small Business Homework Task #2: Find when you come alive and guard at that time. When do you feel most creative during the day? When are you most excited about work? When are you least excited about work, and what mindless tasks—or just tasks that don’t take every creative ounce of you,—can you put in that block? For example, responding to Instagram comments or engaging on social media, investing in your continued education by listening to a class, going on a walk around the block, taking a catnap, emailing, answering clients, etc.?


No. 3| Track Your Time

This is the easiest step in the book when it comes to how to organize your small business: I hit on it a lot because it’s so, so important: Track. Your. Time.

 

Even if you don’t track it every single day (and hey, I don’t either. I think a few years in a PR agency tracking my time to the .25 of an hour wore me out!), do it for two weeks. What you learn is crazy.

Laura Vanderkam, Nancy Ray, Shanna Skidmore, Design House of Moira —lots of women I look up to advocate how this can teach you so much about what you’re actually doing in the day.

(The books I mention in the video are 168 Hours and What Successful People Do Before Breakfast—both SO good!)

As for DOING this, there are so many good tools.

First, the most low-tech: Scribble it on a piece of paper next to you during the day, total it at night. Like I said—I worked in a full-service communications firm and had to “bill” 7 hours of client work a day (so the rest of the time was non-bill, like pro-bono work, lunch, education/lunch n’ learns, fun agency stuff). Each day, I’d just jot on a post it what I did, and type it in at the end of the day. Some people went as they’d go, but not me!

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Next, you can print out my time tracker for a week or two. 🙂

 

Third, track it with an online tool. My team uses Toggl:  I track my regular hours, and then two of my team members that are on payroll track their client hours, and we total that up and give to my bookkeeper)

HoneyBook has time tracking, too! Here’s a video on how to start it.

 

I also like using a countdown screen (Open Google, search “countdown!”) or the FocusKeeper app (I wrote more about Pomodoro sprints here in “8 Productivity Apps So You Can Make the Most of Your Time).

Time blocking and chunking my time into segments helps me stay focused. It’s energizing to see the clock tick down, and plays into my competitive nature. 🙂 MUST BEAT TIMER! 🙂

How to Organize Your Small Business Homework Task #3 : Grab my free printable time tracker here, and just watch for 2 weeks what you do. Don’t worry if you don’t want to do it past that!

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No. 4| Have a Place to Dump the Thought

I always laugh when Instagram shows me bullet journaling posts … those organized square photos look so beautiful with all their lists …

… and then I realize as fun as they look, I already have lists and systems for organizing all the thoughts that come into my brain.

The biggest reason I do this I think is to manage my stress. If I can just put a thought down somewhere, I’ll stress out less. It’s the 50 thoughts bouncing around in my head that would stress me out—once they’re all written down and I can make sense of them, see what’s important, and see what isn’t, they help!

SO, during the day, set up little spots you can deposit nuggets of info.

 

 

That’s really it. I try to stay doing that thing I’m “supposed” to do, and parking lot anything that will off track me.

Shameless plug that I’m a fan of Copy Banking, as my Copywriting for Creatives students know. 🙂Check out the AW Shop Copy Bank template, or hop on the waitlist for Copywriting for Creatives, where we dive in with more detail!

How to Organize Your Small Business Homework Task #4 : If you’ve never done a mental brain dump exercise, try it: Get a pen in hand, and scrawl out every last solitary to-do or task that’s in your head. Highlight the ones that take less than 5 minutes and do them, and deposit the rest somewhere.


No. 5| Make one template or workflow each day.

Okay, you’ve heard me say this before—you HAVE to run templates. If I’m doing something at least 3 times, I’m making a template for it.

It kinda doesn’t just go away, and you don’t really get to the end and have this day where you realize “guys, we made all the templates! Let’s eat cupcakes and celebrate.”

Not my experience with a small business. 🙂

So, each day, I try to make ONE process easier for the next time.

How to plan an editorial calendar Ashlyn Carter Ashlyn Writes

Rach, on my team,  is a ~dream~ at catching the inbox inquiries we get a lot, and calling me out on it, which has totally helped. She’s first to let me know when I need to create a template email response. She’ll ask me to type up a response and she’ll turn it into a canned response.

Interested in some of our templates? Click here to shop AW Shop templates in the Business Basics Pack >

Likewise, my associate copywriter, Sarah, helps me realize when we’ve done something before, and we work from a library of writing templates (even for this blog) that help us keep our writing organized.

You probably think I believe everything in business can be answered with a template.

And I don’t think you’re far off, wink.

But I can even template out Instagram captions, update my blog workflow checklist, update the master InDesign template for our freebies, template the YouTube thumbnail image in Canva, or save one email I sent to a client as a new client email template.

If I can JUST make myself spend the 5-10 extra minutes templating something I freaking do constantly!

How to Organize Your Small Business Homework Task #5 : What’s ONE template or checklist you can update today so when you do it next time, it takes a few minutes less than it does now?

Related:The Best Automation Workflows for Your Creative Business


No. 6| Hold an EOD Output Sesh

Okay, so Todd Herman calls this a “end of day optimizer”in the 90-Day Year program, but that sounds like a science methodology thing I should have memorized back in honors chem.

I hated honors chem. Just me???

So I call it an EOD Output Sesh. 🙂

Basically, raise your hand if you end the workday, leave, and are still stressed slash can’t remember anything that just happened to you …. That was me every day the first year of having a business.

Right before I started year two, I took Todd’s 90-Day Year program (basically he teaches you how to run Scrum agile systems in a small business, if that interests you), and he talked about how you want to have “sleepy smile syndrome,” you know, when you hit the pillow at night smiling sleepily because you got shiz done.

Again, I don’t do this five days out of the workweek, but I hit it at least three days a week.

 

I write down the following:

Wins?

Challenges?

What I could do to make those better next time?

What did I actually DO today (I actually just update my Emily Ley Simplified Planner)

Scale of 1-10:

Nourishment of my body:

Movement of my body (aka did I sit for 8 hours):

Relationships/people:

Focus:

Energy:

Then, I look at tomorrow and grease the slide. I pick out the three things I need to do, write down three steps for each thing, and clean up my desk.

I remember one time I heard Emily Ley say to clean off your desktop background a bit and close all the tabs at the end of your day, and well, I’m a work in progress there. I’m good if I clean off my desktop once a week, and I’m tab queen … so I’ll get there. 🙂

How to Organize Your Small Business Homework Task #6 : What three things do you need to do tomorrow? Write them down at the end of the day (and for bonus points, try the whole EOD Output Sesh list!)


Bonus Tip: Batch your days.

Again, some of y’all are probably like, ASHLYN, we get it. You day batch. But if you’re new, hi, I day batch like a champ.. I used to think the same people that scheduled social media posts told children about Santa too early.

But once I realized scheduling posts meant I could hop on social media just for fun, catching up, and encouraging others AND post on social media with such intention knowing that my thoughts are organized, I realized task batching and context switching are actual things.

Related: How to Batch Work & Organize with Themed Days


Boom. Those are the six ways to stay organized DURING the day, and obviously, my nerd is showing. I mentioned a lot of books and tools, and I have them all listed on my Amazon page, you can see them here.

I’m always trying to synthesize great big dreams into bite-size chunks, and deal with anxiety and manage that as an entrepreneur. These six learnings—none of which are my original ideas, just things that have worked for me!—have been so, so helpful.

Do you have any questions on how to organize your small business?? Comment below and let me know!:)

 

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The post The 6 Simple Ways to Organize Your Small Business in One Day appeared first on Blog from Ashlyn Carter | Launch Expert & Copywriter for Creatives.

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Sep 13, Grand Remembrances

Today is Grandparents Day in the United States. Being a Grand is a special honor. I feel very blessed that my wife and I have two grandchildren. We were able to visit them today. Yes, we are still being cautious with the coronavirus, but we also find it very difficult to not see them when they live so close. So today we did drop by to visit Jacob (age 10) and Sophia (age 7) along with their parents. We brought donuts and caught up with them. Our grandchildren are still pretty young and this is a precious time in their lives – and ours!

I wish I had known my grandparents better. We never lived in the same place. Dad was a career Air Force pilot, so we moved around a lot. But we did get to see them once in a while when they would visit us, or we them.

A Plague of Giants

There are five known magical ‘kennings’ or types: air, water, fire, earth, and plants. Each nation specializes in of these kennings, and the magic influences the society. There’s a big pitfall with this diversity of ability and locale–not everyone gets along.

Enter the Hathrim giants, or ‘lavaborn’ whose kenning is fire. Where they live the trees that fuel their fire are long gone, but the giants are definitely not welcome anywhere else. They’re big, they’re violent, and they’re ruthless. When a volcano erupts and they are forced to evacuate, they take the opportunity to relocate. They don’t care that it’s in a place where they aren’t wanted.

I first read Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid books and loved them (also the quirky The Tales of Pell), so was curious about this new venture, starting with A PLAGUE OF GIANTS. Think Avatar: The Last Airbender meets Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. Elemental magic, a variety of races, different lands. And it’s all thrown at you from page one.

But this story is told a little differently. It starts at the end of the war, after a difficult victory, and a bard with earth kenning uses his magic to re-tell the story of the war to a city of refugees. And it’s this movement back and forth in time and between key players in this war that we get a singularly grand view of the war as a whole. Hearne uses this method to great effect.

There are so many interesting characters in this book that I can’t cover them all here. Often in books like this such a large cast of ‘main’ character can make the storytelling suffer, especially since they don’t have a lot of interaction with each other for the first 3/4 of the book–but it doesn’t suffer, thankfully. And the characterization is good enough, despite these short bursts, that by the end we understand these people and care about what happens to them.

If there were a main character it would be Dervan, a historian who is assigned to record (also spy on?) the bard’s stories. He finds himself caught up in machinations he feels unfit to survive. Fintan is the bard from another country, who at first is rather mysterious and his true personality is hidden by the stories he tells; it takes a while to understand him. Gorin Mogen is the leader of the Hathrim giants who decide to find a new land to settle. He’s hard to like, but as far as villains go, you understand his motivations and he can be even a little convincing. There’s Abhi, the son of hunters, who decides hunting isn’t the life for him–and unexpectedly finds himself on a quest for the sixth kenning. And Gondel Vedd, a scholar of linguistics who finds himself tasked with finding a way to communicate with a race of giants never seen before (definitely not Hathrim) and stumbles onto a mystery no one could have guessed: there may be a seventh kenning.

There are other characters, but what makes them all interesting is that they’re regular people (well, maybe not Gorin Mogen or the viceroy–he’s a piece of work) who become heroes in their own little ways, whether it’s the teenage girl who isn’t afraid to share vital information, to the scholars who suddenly find how crucial their minds are to the survival of a nation, to the humble public servants who find bravery when they need it most. This is a story of loss, love, redemption, courage, unity, and overcoming despair to not give up. All very human experiences by simple people who do extraordinary things.

Hearne’s worldbuilding is engaging. He doesn’t bottle feed you, at first it feels like drinking from a hydrant, but then you settle in and pick up things along the way. Then he shows you stuff with a punch to the gut. This is no fluffy world with simple magic without price. All the magic has a price, and more often than not it leads you straight to death’s door. For most people just the seeking of the magic will kill you. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Ahbi and his discovery of the sixth kenning and everything associated with it. But giants? I mean, really? It isn’t bad enough fighting people who can control fire that you have to add that they’re twice the size of normal people? For Hearne if it’s war, the stakes are pretty high, and it gets ugly.

The benefit of the storytelling style is that the book, despite its length, moves along steadily (Hearne is no novice, here). The bits of story lead you along without annoying cliffhangers (mostly), and I never got bored with the switch between characters. It was easy to move between them, and they were recognizable enough that I got lost or confused. The end of the novel felt a little abrupt, but I guess that has more to do with I was ready for the story to continue, despite the exiting climax.

If you’re looking for epic fantasy with fun storytelling and clever worldbuilding, check out A PLAGUE OF GIANTS.

The post A Plague of Giants appeared first on Elitist Book Reviews.

The Artwork Of Gary Choo

Gary Choo is a concept artist/illustrator based in Singapore. I’ve know Gary for a good many years ( 17, actually ), working together in animation studios in Singapore like Silicon Illusions and Lucasfilm. Gary currently runs an art team at Mighty Bear Games, but when time allows he also draws covers for Marvel comics, and they’re amazing –

The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo

To see more of Gary’s work or to engage him for freelance work, head down to his ArtStation.

The post The Art Of Gary Choo appeared first on Halcyon Realms – Art Book Reviews – Anime, Manga, Film, Photography.

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