1) Declutter your inbox
I admit I find it hard to keep my inbox from getting overloaded. I have been known in the past to sign up to dozens of newsletters and sometimes miss client emails or have to spend ages searching for things.
My top tip for decluttering your inbox is to filter your emails for the word ‘unsubscribe’, which will bring up all the emails you’ve got that include am unsubscribe link. Go ahead and unsubscribe from all the newsletters you never read once and for all!
You can also filter your searches by name and date, plus a whole lot of others, to help you weed out other emails you don’t need to receive anymore.
To help make future management of your inbox more simple, why not set up some rules so that the newsletters you continue to subscribe to are automatically sent to a separate folder to keep your inbox uncluttered and your mind undistracted? You can then look through the folder and catch up on everything later.
It’s such a satisfying feeling to get your inbox nice and tidy.
2) Make to-do lists
Every single week I write a list of things I want to get done and then break it down each day into a daily list. Rather than carrying ideas around in my head, if I write things down, I’m much more likely to get them done. Ticking things off when they’re completed keeps me on track and motivated too. Getting everything out of my head and onto paper leaves precious brain space free for other things.
3) Sleep on it!
It’s challenging to be focused and productive if you’re exhausted. Going to bed, getting up at reasonable hours, and building a routine around sleep has a hugely positive impact on our working days. Please try not to overlook it
4) Set a theme
For each month, I set a theme for my work. It’s usually related to developing one of my programs, so my to-do list will include all the tasks I need to complete. The social media posts I write, videos I record and live sessions in my group are all related and fit within the theme. It helps keep my mind focused as I’m not jumping around trying to complete many random tasks.
You could also introduce themed working by scheduling specific tasks for particular days. For example, Mondays for me revolve around planning and taking care of myself as they’re not my most productive day. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are dedicated to client training, and I do my content planning on Wednesdays. Thursdays are all about powering through my to-do lists, and I go live in my FB group on Fridays.
For me, I find having a habit/routine massively helps me in getting stuff done (without having to think too much about it).
5) Make your downtime productive
When I’m out walking the dogs and getting my exercise, I often listen to podcasts or audiobooks to learn something new at the same time. It’s a way to carve out time for something I don’t often get a chance to do elsewhere in the week. Could you do the same?
You might also find that you’re inspired to create content while out for a walk. I often take out my phone and make a video or record voice notes to help me write social media posts later.
You could also switch off entirely and enjoy being in nature as part of your self-care routine, of course!
6) Say ‘no’
Say no to things that don’t help you reach your goals. Of course, sometimes you want to help people out, but we often get into people-pleasing mode and say yes, when really, we want to say no. You could also apply this logic to social media groups that no longer serve your goals and leave them. This will unclutter your feed and help you stay focused.
7) Procrastinate productively
Have a couple of projects to work on simultaneously so that when you get a bit fed up with one of them, you can move to the other for a break before switching back. A more challenging project requiring a lot of thought alongside a more creative, intuitive project would be a good mix. Flitting between the two creates flow when just working on one tricky project might keep you feeling stuck.
8) Done is better than perfect
Perfectionism is a big issue for many image consultants and stylists. I know from conversations with so many of you! By being drawn to the profession, I know that you’re very focused on the details; you want the looks you create for clients to be flawless and the images you share on social media to be perfect.
The problem with such high standards is that it takes so much time and effort to meet and maintain them. Your need to get everything perfect may be preventing you from moving forward and getting things done. I’m not saying that you don’t need an eye for detail to deliver the service your clients need, but there is a balance to be struck.
9) Make time for a nap
My Dad, who is 85, has taken a 20-minute nap every day after lunch for years. He swears by it, and I’ve adopted the habit too. After a snooze, I find that I have renewed energy and concentration – it’s so good! Sometimes I don’t go to sleep, and other days I sleep deeply. The break is always enough to recharge me for the afternoon and get my creative juices flowing again.
10) Take mini-breaks
If you have a full-on busy day, take mini breaks throughout to give yourself short bursts of downtime to rest, reset your focus and concentration. Commit to doing 45 minutes of work and then take a mini-break. Do another 45 minutes of work, then take another break, and so on.
In your breaks, you could go and get yourself a cuppa or turn on your favourite music and dance around the room. You could take the dog for a short walk, complete a few rows of knitting or read five pages of your book.
If you chunk down your day into short super-focused sessions like this, you’ll be impressed by how much you get done!
What do you think of these suggestions? Which ones will you try, and which do you already swear by?