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How to Get More Done

Lesson 7 of 17

What System Are You Using Now?

Tara Swiger

How to Get More Done

Tara Swiger

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Lesson Info

7. What System Are You Using Now?

Lesson Info

What System Are You Using Now?

With that in mind, we'll talk about what's working because all of you, no matter how unproductive you feel, no matter how much you feel like you're just a lazy bum. Most days you absolutely get something done today. First big studio once you got dressed, you got here, you fed yourself or maybe you had some good food. Here you get something done in your day, you feed yourself, you get dressed on a regular basis, all of that that's underlying that is a system of your own amount of productivity, and most of us have something that we get done really wonderfully, really productively, because we're super into it. And for a lot of us that's the things that we're making our art, we just sit down and it flows and it's awesome and it's going other people, it's social media like they could just easily remember to add pictures to instagram or be on periscope or tweet, because that comes easily to them. So the trick of working on your own projects at efficiently and effectively and productively to ...

take what works in all the other parts of your life and apply it to the work that you're not productive in. So I always like to start whether I'm talking about marketing or profit or time by looking at what's already working because if you focus on what's not working right there's never enough time you can't move forward, you can't apply anything new, you're just like everything is awful horrible, but if you look at what's working, you'll find clues to how to become more effective in your life clues of what works for you with your particular style and some stability and things you like to do and things you don't like to do because what works for me might not work for you, so we're gonna look at what's working and then apply it what's not working. So my question for you and if you have the workbook of birches the class you'll see on page nine the work shed is called what already works when you work, I'm gonna ask you a couple questions for you to fill out and if you're falling along at home, you can share your answers in the chat room, so the first thing is what do you always get done easily? For a lot of us, this is like eating even though some people I was for the longest time I would always forget to eat breakfast or lunch so that wasn't something I got done easily, but you may be always shower or you always brush your teeth it can be the smallest thing, but if you identify what you always getting on easily we're going to expand it out to other things so it might be making your heart you have no problem coming up with ideas sitting down, putting pen to paper or paint brush that might just come easily you always do it no big deal for me it's a lot of craft like knitting, sewing, spinning those all I didn't have to force myself to do it and even ones the urine company was my full time business. I still had no problem sitting down and spinning in part because when you spend you can watch tv watch netflix fault I did it but that's a question to ask yourself and the answer what the first question when are you most productive in your personal life? At what point in your life have you been most productive? What parts of your day, what parts of your week and then what do you easily get down all of the time? And you guys can sure your answers in the chat room I would like to hear from you too, but the next question is when have you been most productive? So in what environment in this picture of the dusk and my living room which just a one bedroom so the desk is in the living room, my little board but what are the qualities of the environment what's interesting as I have my sewing machine here because I never said that this desk to do work because it's in the middle of the living room and it's not the best productive environment the best productive environment for me as usually writing at the coffee shop to get my coffee it's a whole ritual of like sitting there it's a little bit noisy I can knock out some writing in just a couple hours being in that environment but so what is the what is this sounds when you're most productive what is the smells what are you wearing what is it a busy environment or not busy environment my house has too many distractions the dishes need to be done the dogs are talking to me like there's just too much to distract me so I know this is actually not the best environment the question is when are you most productive and this can be productive in your business it's gonna be productive in your personal life I work with a lot of people who are super efficient moms they get kids out the door on time everybody's always fed clothed taken care of and there are systems that they've put in place to make their life run and that is when they're most effective so we look at is win when does that happen? What is the environment and the qualities of when you're most productive I told a little bit about my example sitting in the coffee shop when I'm writing or it was making urine when I would have a show I really liked on netflix so what about you guys when it or you most productive what of the environment like somebody wanna share yeah usually in the evening time listening to music yes so you like tio have some music on you don't even violent yeah definitely yeah do you have a particular like playlist or artist or type of music that's the most productive uh no, not really. It's usually the mood you know, like feeling the angst mood I might listen to hip hop or something like that I'm in a chill moving like you know listen to some easy listening from jazz or something like that it depends on the mood. Yeah, I like that that's good to know too because what I found is I have a playlist on spotify I think I linked to it in the resource guide that comes when you purchase a class it's called I just named a happy sparkly and I made a whole place it's called writing and it's all like writing music happy sparkly is like you want to dance to it but for some reason I write best to it because it lifts my spirits and I like find myself tapping along to it so if I if I need a productive if I'm not feeling productive, sometimes just a music like puts me in that productive place because I've now associated the two things like this playlist equals productivity, and so music has a big impact anybody else want to share when they're most productive? Yeah, um, definitely find early in the morning and late at night the middle of the afternoon from twelve to, like four just makes no sense to me at all. Like a very european sensibility. I just want a nap, but as far as my environment, it's very funny cause I get teased for this, but I have to have my espresso in my little handmade espresso cup that I got it the renegade craft fair because, yes, right. So my sandalwood candle and my cake station on my pandora with the external speakers on either side of my head case that's interesting. I love that because it's just it's something about my senses all need to feel I'm obviously very high maintenance I my senses all me to sort of feel comforted and soothed and nurtured in a weird way. And then I don't have to think about anything else that I could just focus yes, that works great. It's interesting, you mention the candle because I feel like this goes along with the music these air both senses that we don't associate with working, especially just like working with your hands, right? You think about touch and maybe site and maybe maybe the sound of your instruments, whatever you're doing, but I find that music and sent both can really take you someplace so much quicker because they bypass you were thinking about it, brain no. So I like the idea of having a candle that she lights specifically or it could be some other way of smelling like I'm referring to put on a particular perfume when she wants to feel particular way and it just takes you right to that space. What is? The chap would have a lot of answers coming in, and I love that a lot of people have specific soundtracks or specific music, and that makes them the most productive. Yeah, so I think that's great. We also have sassy state seamstress who has learned about herself she's most productive from eleven a m to two p m and ashley in nashville. I am most productive when I have a pending wholesale order hand when it's not ninety three degrees in my studio, like today, get american national she's in nashville. I don't know how you live in nashville that air conditioning, I tell you, get airconditioning on a lot of people agreeing that that they are actually more productive when they're with a other people versus being more alone, while other people are working you as well. So that brings up a two things I heard there's I didn't mention time of day, but time of day is clearly vital because everyone said I have a specific time of day and then the second thing is alone or with people because I there's all different kinds of interpersonal things that play with being with people. Sometimes you want to be with, like other strangers, which is why I go to the coffee shop there, a feeling of productivity makes me feel productive, but I don't want to be with people who are like talking and chatting, so sometimes you have to leave the coffee shop, go to the library where everyone's quiet and but also people sometimes have working partners or they go to a co working space and and just being with another person, both working sparks, sir, creativity, creativity and productivity. These are all things that you can look at and then hopefully by now you're starting to get a new idea of like, if I'm productive in these times in these spaces with this music this time a day, maybe I can shake my work day around that maybe when I beat myself up for not being productive because I'm trying to do something in between twelve and four for example, I'm trying to do things when I know it's not peak productivity talk about setting aside a time for work and putting boundaries around it, maybe your boundaries is like I don't don't try to work in between twelve and four I get stuff done before I get in after it and said twelve before is like my inspiration time I rest time my housework time look whatever else has to get done in my life, so then we're going to talk about how exactly you get stuff done and there's more questions about this in the workbook, so ask her about the qualities of the experience and then how you currently work on your business. So we've been talking about where you most productive that might be in your personal life for your business life. But then how do you get things done in your business right now? Whether it's productive or not, I want you to actually write down what you do and this is still on page nine in your workbook that when you work what time's right now do you normally work? I want you to write down whenever that is, so that might be I work when my kids are not paying and I work in five minute batches while they're in the bath or watching dora the explorer or whenever it is it might be I just feel like I work twenty four seven were for me like I have a kind of more traditional day I start work around ten I stopped work about four or five I do it monday through thursday and sometimes a couple hours on friday, but that's after six years of self employment and work days that all went I did second shift for a while and weekends for a while and like you know, so you whatever you put down this fine you might stick with it, we might come up with a better solution, but I want you to write down when you currently work and if you're watching online share in the chat room and then how do you keep track of what you need to dio and what you're going to dio so some of you? The answer is all in my head. Some of you will say I made I make a giant to do list and I never looked at it again on some people have a calendar, they put it all in their calendar, so this is your current system and that's just what we're uncovering here because if you haven't it's just like with the numbers, if you haven't sat down and thought about this before you don't recognize the system you actually have in place, but if you are getting stuff done in your business, you've made an item you've talked to a customer, then you have some way of working, and I know your kind of shaping a new thing, but you can look at went what's like when you plan to work on it, and also when you worked on other things in the past, and then the next question is, how do you decide what to do? So this goes back to the how do you keep track of it? But these are two different things, and I think that you'd forget that there's a distinction here, there's the how you keep track of everything and then there's the how do you decide when I sit down in this work session? What am I going to dio some people have days of the week is like monday is this day, and tuesday is social media day, and wednesday is writing day or production day. Other people just sit down and think, what should I, dook working that there's there's a whole variety of how you decide what to do? We're going to get really specific about what you will do going forward that will make you feel more productive, but right now, right down how do you decide what to do the meaning of each section what is making that decision and I'd like to hear from you guys what are the answers to these questions when you work how you keep track of it and what you decide to do okay, you can start anitra um right now I work at home all right uh typically from about eleven I am till about five and then I'll do a second shift from the help nine p m to midnight okay um I used oak ahead no, I was going to say how do you keep track of everything google keep ok interesting I've never used that isn't a cheque mark so yeah, you can create a task or you khun there's different ways where you khun you know compile the things that you need to do and I usually do it and maybe a uh sixty day span like between july one in september one this is what I'd like to get done front that includes things that are related to the business that's well it's personal things which can right go that let's make appointment or yeah it helps me feel less overwhelmed instead of saying I want to get all these things done in a week yeah I can say okay in the next sixty days these are the things that I would like to uh accomplished sayyou school keyed to keep track of that um and how do you decide when you sit down what am I gonna work on that's the part I s so you have a yeah, I look at the list and I should say okay, today is kind of like you were saying like okay uh what should I do that I look at the list and then I might just pick you know, kind of in my mind decide what I should prioritize on this list what things that if if they waited until closer to september one it would be okay yeah, what things that they need to really be done within the first thirty they have for them for that week or today which things that I I want to just get done because I don't really want to do it so I'll just get it over with and then I'll prioritize from there. So do you prioritise each time you sit under work? Yes ok and how how do you feel like that's working? And because you said when I asked you the numbers I think you said six right? Yeah that you were like a from zero to ten you're feeling six that's good so that it's like that's better than zero happened I'd never have nine yeah, because that's the end of the day, some days I feel great most days I don't yeah even that even when I look at my list and see the things that I've accomplished I still feel like it's not enough yeah yeah so we're going to talk about but the feeling of it's not enough but I think that the pieces that are bringing you from a zero to six or that you do have a way of keeping track of big picture everything and maybe the part that's making you feel like it's not enough is that the list isn't pre prioritized for you so you're prioritizing and whatever you don't get done that at the end of the day you think did I pick the right thing? Did I not pick the right thing I've been putting this off and so that I've been putting this off just keeps like weighing on you exactly one thing that I did realize as faras what's taking up time or slapping time for me has been social media but I enjoy it because I like connecting with people and with the community of it so instead I started looking for tools to help streamline whether it's um looking at icon of square stats on what are the best days for me to post which has been a huge weight off my shoulders so I'm not feeling like I have to post every day all day right literally tells you know just post this day in this day between this time you'll be good or um uh what is it later? Graham where you going? Schedule or hoot suite so I realized okay, this is taking away too much time if you do it just off the top of your head you could do it endlessly, but if you schedule ahead of time you do it once and then it all gets done we're going to talk about some more scheduling like that. I'm glad you mentioned the the one thing she mentioned I wanted to say was that kana square which shows you you log in with instrument shows you your stats about what days your people your actual followers interact most with your stuff so it's not like the world says these are the best times these were your followers which I really found that interesting too because mine it seems really weird like I don't know what my tonto but I think it's different coasts in different time zones and stuff up impact that andan you also mentioned later gram which is an instagram scheduling tool and uh and who'd sweet yeah, I just wanna make sure everybody caught that causes they're all awesome scheduling things so we will talk more about how to get you from a six to nine for sure, but it sounds like you've got a good system in place and I think you were going to share your system are you willing teo I'm going to tell a little story and then hope we can make a better story leading forward um I it's an anecdote that's not really directly related to my work schedule but it reflects how my work schedule tends to go so I recently actually went to a sort of therapist to work on my taxes thanks for things right hand so I brought into her all the things that I had set aside and they're all color coded they're all like infinite test similarly organized yeah because I itemize of course so it's like you know this incredibly time consuming process and mentally exhausting process to get this giant box full of stuff taken care of and she starts to look through it and she's like oh my god I can totally understand why you don't want to deal with this because it's like jumping into the most complicated thing imaginable and it takes so much energy to deal with it she's like are you rounding off your numbers and I'm like what do you mean well she's like you don't have to count the sense the decimal point you khun just round it off and like I can you know like I always think I have to go twelve steps beyond what's actually necessary to do it well yes and so I'm trying to look att all these questions me like well what I'm doing right now is not working so well you know moving forward yeah, what would be things that minimize that that panic of like oh my god, I got so much to do when in fact I don't so it sounds like what you're saying is you overcomplicate things oh so your current system that you wrote down might be like really intricate and incredibly and you actually don't do it or you just feel bad about it the whole time yeah thiss giant destroying project I have to jump into so yeah so hopefully the good thing is that when we talk about your system will just be three parts of it and maybe if you think about it in three parts instead of five thousand parts yeah, you'll go from feeling a little better so is there anybody in the chat room who's sharing their workday that's interesting or do they have questions? Yeah, we definitely have people who are sharing those and some other tools they're coming through. Nella donato says I use trillo as my project management tool and I also have an intention journal for my yearly monthly weekly and daily intentions I love that I wonder if that's I mean you can break it down even further yeah, you said that work session and we're going to talk about that I think it's in segment three about how you actually pick what you're doing maybe segment for and then how how you do it and there is a a matter of like, we've been looking at a big picture as the day goes on, we're going to get smaller and smaller into tighter focus so that each day you're not looking at a whole month's worth for sixty days daysworth, but without over complicating it and were often talked about project management software. So glad, she said, trailer, because that's racing one more that I thought was interesting conversation that's going on in the chat room is about doing things based upon mood, so not even like that that that the mood draws into your routine of when you do what? Yes, and we're so this brings up an important distinction that I wantto we're going to dive into more later and that's that whatever your way of picking what your task is for the day is fine as long as it suits you, so some people go by mood and some people will go super scheduled they want every single thing calender, rised and that, like that gives him so much relief. Other people want, too, just, like go with what feels good, and that gives them relief, and if you gave them a calendar, they would freak out and rebel, and so whatever is working, but that's. What I wanted to say is your answer to these questions are your current system. This is the system you're using now, and I'd like to point this out, because people are often say, like, I don't know how you ever get anything done. I never get anything done. But you have a system. You have a system for getting dressed in, brushing your teeth, and you have a system for getting something done in your business. Or else you wouldn't have a business.

Class Description

Stop fretting over the limited number of hours in a day and get to work – the smart way! In How to Get More Done, Tara Swiger will lay out a simple action plan that will help you manage your time, your business, and your family life more efficiently.

When Tara's online yarn shop replaced her day job, she fielded a lot of questions about the secret to her success. One thing led to another and now she is devoted, full-time, to helping other crafty entrepreneurs realize their dreams. In this class, she’ll help you take control of your calendar and build your business. 

You’ll learn how to:

  • Implement a simple system for managing your time and tasks 
  • Prioritize time with your family 
  • Balance business, life, production, and marketing 
  • Strike the perfect balance between “studio time” and “admin time" 

You’ll identify your time-sucks and unproductive distractions and overcome common scheduling pain points by developing an action plan that works. 

Learn how to create a workday you'll love - no matter how (little) time you have. You’ll make the most of your time, keep track of your to-dos, and get the things that matter done in How to Get More Done with Tara Swiger.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials

Kickstart Your Profits

Bonus Materials

Get More Done Resources

Get More Done Workbook

Ambitiously Forecast Your Sales Calculator by Tara Swiger.xlsx

Improve Your Holiday Sales Sketch Note

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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a Creativelive Student

A really great class. As a newer creative business owner I have had trouble with always feeling like no matter what I worked on it wasn't the right thing or it wasn't enough. I think the advice in this class will help me feel better about my accomplishments and keep me focused on the things that will help my business. Thanks!

Jacqui Kelly

I loved it! start to finish really packed full of sensible easy to follow advice - great workbook and extra materials. Highly recommended. Tara does continually mention STARSHIP and MAPPING with out any background info on these topics which began to niggle at me but guess the answers are on her website. This was my first full class after purchasing my Creator Pass and it gets a 10/10