If you’re like most pet influencers and bloggers, you are obsessed with doing: getting it done, being in motion, and staying busy. Many pet influencers wear “busy” as a badge. What I’ve found is that being busy doesn’t mean you’re being productive. You could be spending a lot of time doing a whole lot of not much. I’ve found five actionable tips that pet bloggers can use to get more done, and it all starts with the word “no!” Simple, right? Maybe not, but we all have to start somewhere to regain control of our work and our lives.
To be truly productive you have to be more than just busy. If you’re acting upon one item, you’re ignoring dozens of others. If you’re like most pet professionals, you are juggling more than one ball and that is multiplied exponentially if you work outside of the home. Also, let’s face it, my pets do not care that I have time blocked specific times throughout the day to walk and snuggle them; they operate on their own potty and snuggle-wanting time and I comply.
Consider this: What you DON’T DO is as important as what you DO! Ponder this: Is your desk a mess because you simply can’t make a decision on the next steps for a project? For many pet bloggers, not making a decision is the crux of overwhelm and stress.
Here are 5 Actionable Tips Pet Bloggers Can Use To Get More Done:
To-Do lists are great, but I urge you to make a “stop-doing-this” list. If you don’t have a clear picture of what you won’t do, you will keep accepting jobs from clients or phone calls from friends and family that eat into your time. Take some time, right now, to create a list of items or tasks that you simply do not want to do. You’ll find that some of the tasks you don’t want to do show up on your daily task list and that’s keeping you from moving forward.
What could be on a “stop doing” list?
- Don’t check your email first thing in the morning.
- Scheduling phone calls every day of the week. Batch schedule calls and get as many done in one day as possible so you’re not being interrupted throughout the week.
- Stop checking your personal social media during the day. You’ll either get sucked down a rabbit hole or you’ll become depressed by what’s in the feed.
- Don’t schedule meetings during your most productive times of the day.
- Stop multi-tasking; you’re not multiplying your efforts, you’re dividing your results.
When writing your “stop doing this” list, write broad items, not the minutia.
Check email in blocks of time, not continually. I’ve said it before and I will continue saying it: Email is one of the biggest time sucks of your work day. You need to ignore it for a set amount of time in order to fully focus on the task at hand. If necessary set up an “out of office” message; when you receive an email it will automatically send a response that read something like: “I check my email at 10 am, 2 pm and 5 pm (or whatever times work for you). If you’ve written between those times, know that I will get back you when I check messages next. If it’s an emergency, please text me.” Voilà – you’ve regained control of your inbox.
Now when you get back into your email you have to deal with every email you “touch.” Remember I’d written that lack of decision making keeps you overwhelmed? When you touch an email, you have to make a decision on it. Address it and move forward.
When you’re in the block of time you’ve set aside to check your email (30 minutes, an hour, whatever you need) let that be your sole focus. The payoff is that when you’re focusing on something other than email, you’re able to focus completely on the task at hand.
Just say “no.” It’s not as simple as it sounds, especially if you’re a people-pleaser and many of us are. If you’re hesitant to say a direct “no” when a request is made of you, I urge you to say, “Let me think about it.” This way you give yourself some space to consider it and let the person down later.
If you’re known for saying yes to everything that’s asked of you, you will be the go-to person for tasks no one else wants to do.
Don’t let a resentment build up at the asker because he or she is assuming you’ll say yes. Take the stress out of the obligation and simply say, “Let me think about it.” Don’t let yourself get put on the spot and feel guilty if you don’t say yes.
Go back to your “don’t want to do” list and see if what’s being asked of you is on that list. If it is, then you can quickly respond with a “no.” If it’s not on your list, write down some pros and cons of your saying yes, and pros and cons of your saying no, then see which list wins.
Communication is key. The way you word your responses is powerful. Reclaim your focus by changing the way you respond to people. For example, if someone asks you to meet with them during your “productive time” (refer back to the stop doing list), don’t say you “can’t meet then.” Instead, rephrase and it say you “don’t schedule meetings at that time.” Short and sweet.
If someone asks you to build a website for them, instead of saying you “can’t,” you can say you “don’t” build websites. Even if you can’t build websites, saying “can’t” instead of “don’t” implies weakness and sends a subliminal message to the asker. I personally can build websites, but I don’t because it’s not my forte; instead, I have a referral partner I work with. Building a referral partnership community is a great way to be a valuable resource without having to feel you have to say yes to every project.
When you say you “don’t do” something, it sends a message that you could if you chose to. It is a powerful phrase.
Plan the next day before you leave the office. If you want to get to work in the morning and jump into productivity, having a to-do list with your tasks time-blocked will help you get to it without distraction. If you walk into your office in the morning and then plan your day, chances are you are already distracted.
Knowing your top priorities and knowing the time you need to devote to them will help you focus. When you plan tomorrow’s to-do list today you are thinking without emotion because you’re planning, you’re not feeling stressed about producing.
Check back on your “stop doing” list when you’re making your to-do list to assure you’re sticking to only those tasks that are moving you and your pet business forward.
It is up to you to defend your time. You need to be the master of your productivity. You need to commit to yourself that you will make decisions on tasks, you will say “no” and you will take control of your day and your schedule.
Where do you stumble during the day? What keeps you from being as productive as you could be? Let me know. I’ll bet I have a solution I could provide!
Robbi Hess is an award-winning author, full-time writer, newspaper columnist, writing coach and time-management guru. She works with bloggers and solopreneurs and blogs at All Words Matter.