October 27, 2020
Lemme guess… you clicked on this episode right now because… you feel like you’re drowning. I’m picturing that scene from Taylor Swift’s Cardigan music video (any fellow swifties out there?) where she’s drowning in the middle of a stormy sea raging around her just trying to keep her head above water. If you’re listening to this episode… I’m gonna guess that’s how you feel right about now. You’re in the thick of it. You’re wayyyy overwhelmed. Your to do list is quite literally a mile long with no end in sight. Everyone needs your attention RIGHT NOW and you wish you could be in 4 places at once.
We feel you. We’ve been you. We ARE you. I think at one point or another every entrepreneur FEELS the weight of busy season – having too much on your plate and not near enough time to accomplish everything.
So today we’re shooting it to ya straight and tossing 3 life vests your way to help you stay afloat in the midst of busy season. You’re overwhelmed. You need to solve it. We’re here to help you do that. Read on my friend.
This is common, especially as an entrepreneur that is on fire for their job. If you LOVE your job, you want to do more of it.
We are not glorifying busy and we’re not glorifying working yourself too hard and not taking breaks. There is a season of life where you do have to hustle. There is a glorification of hustle and a demonization of hustle. There are two camps, one that worships it and one that hates it.
A season of hustle is so necessary for growth and there can be a season where you can give all that energy and time without sacrificing relationships. Seasons of hustle are necessary for growth as an entrepreneur and business. You have to handle them well, be limited, and be followed up with seasons of rest and recovery.
We’re not trying to glorify it, but we are also not shying away from busy seasons and hustle. That is a part of being your own boss and running your business. It is not inherently wrong if you have a balance between hustle and rest.
In the middle of what feels like a hustle, you need to prioritize your health, your sanity and ensure no balls are getting dropped.
Tangible takeaways to prepare yourself for your busy season.
Even when you have 300 tasks on your plate and you PHYSICALLY could work sun up to sun down because the work never ends. When you have that overwhelming task list and work, that is when you have to make sure you are taking time to recharge and reset. Otherwise, you are not completing as many tasks, even though you may feel you are, and you are not completing your work to a high standard.
Rests and breaks will look different during busy seasons, maybe not full weeks off or even weekends off, but make sure you are having AT LEAST one day off per week. And prioritize enough sleep!
It feels counterintuitive because you have more than what you can fit in one day without breaking, to talk about taking breaks. The thing you have to remember is the more rest you get the more you are actually able to do. When we see people glorifying staying up till 2 am to get stuff done, you are not getting done as much as you think, but actually running yourself into the ground. You are doing that at the expense of your work.
ONE DAY, if you can’t do one day, try one evening. If you give your brain that rest, you will be able to come back to all the millions of millions of tasks that you are drowning in and be prepared and mentally capable of tackling them and handling them efficiently and productively.
There are a lot of psychological studies about focusing and multitasking. Every time you switch tasks, it takes your brain 20 minutes to refocus on another task. Your brain only has the capacity for an hour to an hour and a half to focus on one task at a time before it begins to short circuit. When you sit there thinking you’re working for seven hours straight, you’re not. You are sitting there jumping between tasks. Your brain is trying to refocus on this new task and won’t fully refocus for twenty minutes. You think you are getting more done but you are not.
And then you will be able to come back and lock in and work for an hour and a half.
Just yesterday Lindsey was updating her pricing guide but was having her intern work on it as well. She was restructuring them but was also giving her notes and keeping her phone right beside me for the updates. It took her literally FIVE hours yesterday when it should only have taken one hour! She was constantly going back and forth giving notes when if she deep worked it would have taken only one hour.
We need to often take our own medicine. We need these reminders as well!
Bottom line, when you are in the middle of a busy season, please please prioritize rest. Get a full night’s sleep. Not only will you get more done and faster but you will feel better in the process.
When you are in the middle of a busy season and have no systems in place, such as workflows or automation. Everything relies on you. Which adds to the multitude of tasks you already have. If you can combine tasks and automate them, do as much as you can, work harder not smarter. It will minimize your plate and make busy season not feel as busy.
Raise your hand if you come up with a genuine response to every single email inquiry that you receive. If you type out a physical response from beginning to end, every single time. If your hand is raised, DON’T DO THAT! Basically, you need an email template. People will hear an email template and say,
“Well, I want to sound personal and genuine.”
“I don’t want people to think I don’t care about them.”
You can care about someone and still use an email template. All it is doing is compiling the information you type up in a few words that you do each time when responding to a client, but putting it in a space where you can be like BOOM, DONE! Customize it with some sentences or respond to specific questions they may have asked. It will save so much time! Create a template for a follow- up, inquiry, delivering the product or gallery, or an abandoned cart (if you’re a product shop). Think about every email you are constantly writing and create a template.
The reality is YOU are writing your email template, so IT IS personal. Your emails will all be a variation and basically identical to what you would have typed out when you don’t use an email template. Templates are just a structure of what you would be writing anyways from scratch. Then you customize and tweak it for each client and it takes you two minutes instead of twenty minutes!
They are not a robotic form of emails, it is what you are writing over and over again. Just put in an email template.
You can also automate the workflow. Giving your clients excellent service while you are in the midst of a busy season so those balls aren’t dropped. We use Honeybook, in it, you can automate workflow tasks. What that means is you can create a workflow and attach it to a project. So say when a client books you for a session, you then attach your session workflow to that client. Then it automates and updates me when it is time or on a certain date. Or notify me that this email needs to be sent out.
Some form of atomization where each client is receiving the same format.
For a wedding client, we want that same format at six months, three months, one month, etc. We don’t want to have to physically remember each step when you have a bunch of clients, or write it all in our calendar. Use the beauty of the internet, so none of your balls are dropping and your tasks are getting done. Instead of randomly trying to remember all the time, because then it won’t happen.
If you do not have branded quality, high-end guides in your business, especially if you are a service-based business, such as outfit guides, pricing guides, and experience guides you need to change that now! Secondly, you are probably answering all the same questions on back and forth emails. Create a powerful beautifully branded guide that walks your client through step by step answering any questions they may have, detailing the experience, detailing everything you can offer, and all the solutions to their problems. You will be avoiding so much confusion and extra work on your part and your clients.
Batch working. We have talked about it so many times.
It is almost a form of automating things. It is tackling a month or a week’s worth of a specific task all at once. Working ahead of time, and allowing your calendar space to breath. It is absolutely relevant, but we have an episode on batch working- episode 078 and then productivity- episode 022, so check out an even more in-depth conversation there!
If you are struggling with email templates and guides to up level, save time, and better your business? You may want to keep your eyes out for something coming out next week!!!
Just because it is an open date on your calendar does not mean you are actually available on that day!
When you get an inquiry you then look at your calendar, if you don’t have another inquiry on that date you are free! It doesn’t matter if you had four other sessions happening that week. If you were free on that specific date, then yes you were free. What that looks like is when you are flying to Hawaii one day, then Texas the next, and then back to Hawaii after.
Were you truly free that day then?
You have to block out days and times in your calendar for other work than what you would consider active out in the field days.
A few examples, for a photographer, there is editing, working on your website, batch working on blogging, Instagram, etc. If you are a podcaster, work on your email list, marketing, or maybe graphic design other than just recording a podcast. If you’re a product-based business instead of handling customer service day in and day out, you need to create days for sourcing new products, have your team meetings, expand your team, etc. Whatever that looks like there needs to be more work done than what is immediately in our field and vision that we would consider active out in the field days.
If you are a photographer, you do not need to be shooting 24/7. You have a lot of work even if you don’t have a shoot or session that day, doesn’t mean you won’t be busy.
Something practical that you can do is when you get a booking, think about the tasks you will have to do for that booking that might fall before or after that physical day. For example as a photographer if you booked a wedding, are you truly available on the day before a 12-hour wedding, or should I be prepping my gear, my mind, laying on the couch to rest?
Am I really available that day?
Think about after as well. Think about how many days you need to block off. Wedding hangovers are a real thing (non-alcoholic!).
Let those moments of busyness be an exception. Those busy weeks of back to back sessions or weddings. Let that be an exception rather than your way of life.
Practically before or after anything that you book that goes into your calendar, literally, block off in your calendar time labeled ‘no events’ or ‘no bookings’.
After reading this and realizing you may have already over-booked yourself, then stop there and make sure you don’t book anything after this season. See what is coming up towards the busy season and how to navigate that. Prioritizing not just those active out in the field days but those days where you can stay on top of everything else in your business and your life.
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WASSUP FRIENDS. We’re Evie + Lindsey, co-founders of this wild partayyy called The Heart University. Our goal is to empower entrepreneurs to kick freaking BUTT in their businesses, dive down into the heart of their why and how, and serve you with all possible tools you’ll need to up-level your business game and CRUSH those goals of yours.
Whether you’re coming to an in-person workshop, joining our online course, or soaking up all the strategies via this blog or our podcast, we’re STOKED you’re here + can’t wait to see you out there kicking butt.
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