Whether you blog or own a business, this is the week to get organized! If neither apply to you, spend time on a previous challenge you skipped (check them out at the bottom of the post). If your calling is to do more than homeschool (and let’s face it, that’s more than enough!), you need to put systems in place to save your sanity. I know I do! So let’s get started.
#1 Pray about your purpose
I have had many times in my life when I was chasing after the wrong outlet for my writing and speaking passion or I was seeking the right thing in the wrong season. God has made His purpose for me clear at those times when I began with prayer. Sometimes I sensed His leading as I read Scripture or as I prayed, but most often His purpose was confirmed for me through talking with my husband and friends who have similar goals.
I want to encourage you that God’s plan for your blog or business is always good–even if the plan is wait. If you have little ones, I know you’ve heard it thousands of times, but it’s true. You will have more time for your business when babies grow up. And they do. Trust me.
When you know what your purpose is, record the reasons for your ultimate goal and review them daily. Research shows that if you not only write your goal but visualize yourself working toward it and achieving it, you’re significantly more likely to succeed.
#2 Identify the 20%
You may have heard of Pareto’s principle–that 20% of what you do gives you 80% of the results. Knowing what those are and limiting yourself to them when you don’t have a lot of extra time (and when do you?) will make your blogging or business so much less stressful.
I recently read The One Thing by Gary Keller. Gary takes Pareto’s principle one step further to ask us what is the one thing we could do in our blog or business that would make everything else easier or even unnecessary. Let me give you some examples of how this works in my blogging. First, my number one traffic source is Pinterest. That is the one thing I want to devote time to to grow my blog. It makes determining whether I want to invest in an expensive course to grow my Facebook following much easier. My purpose for my blog is to grow an audience for the language arts curriculum I am developing. What’s the one thing I can do to make my goal of selling that curriculum a reality? Right now, it’s WRITING the curriculum. I keep getting sidetracked by all these great link-ups and ideas for posts and opportunities to contribute to other books. But will those things help me do the one thing that matters most in my business? No.
I hired Jimmie Lanley to consult with me on my blog and business and she was worth quadruple what I paid her, because she helped me identify the 20% in my blogging. If you need help determining your 20%, contact her. I interviewed Jimmie about making blogging a business as well. Be sure to give it a listen (I recommend listening in the shower with this great speaker).
What is the one thing that will make everything else easier or unnecessary in your blog or business?
#3 Identify time savers
Using the same one-thing idea, what is the one thing you can do that would make the most time for your blog or business? It probably isn’t an app or plug-in. For me, it was restructuring my school day so I had time to write in the early afternoon when I have the most energy. I explained this when I shared 6 Habits for Getting More Done. Saving five minutes here or there is nice, but that kind of time management is unlikely to have the effect you’re looking for on your business. Think big! Could you hire help? Delegate? Drop out of activities?
Now that I know what my one thing is, it’s much easier for me to identify time savings BEFORE I commit to something new. You may need to return to prayer and discussion for help with this. And don’t discount the kids! Depending on their ages, they may be able to tell you what you can let go of where they’re concerned.
#4 Time block
Once you know what your one thing is for your blog or business and you’ve eliminated activities to make room for it, put time for it on your calendar. I’ve written about how useful time blocking is for me before, but I’m enjoying the benefits of it even more now that I’ve completed the previous three steps. I am committed to writing my curriculum from 1-3 p.m. daily.
But what about interruptions? I have conflicts with my afternoon writing time on some days and I do have six other people still living at home who interrupt me. Actually, my college student likes to interrupt me with phone calls, too, but I honestly don’t mind! I need to make it clear that this is my business time, however. I learned keeping an interrupter’s log, how much of a problem this is for me. When I can’t write from 1-3, I move the time around. If I can’t write for two hours, I commit to writing SOMETHING that day. I’m using Jerry Seinfield’s “Don’t break the chain” method to meet my goal and it’s working fabulously. I don’t like using an app for this purpose (surprisingly), but am just putting an X on my wall calendar.
When are you going to commit time to the one thing that will make your blog or business more successful? Put it on your calendar and let your family know you’re not to be disturbed unless the bleeding won’t stop. (Yes, I’m joking. But if you’d like to write a lengthy comment about what a terrible mother I am, I would enjoy deleting it.)
I’d love to hear if this challenge helps you get more of what you want out of your blog or business! And of course, I’d love for you to follow me on Pinterest. My Blogging Inspiration and Organization & Productivity boards may be of interest to you.
Here is the October 2014 Organized Homeschool Calendar and a list of previous week’s challenges: