COFFEE TALK: MIND MAPS & TIME BLOCKING

How was your weekend, friends? Things have slowed down a little bit around these parts, but we're still plenty busy with work, whew. Two things... One, I don't go out for coffee enough with friends, do you want to get coffee with me? Two, have y'all been watching the Olympics? We drove around all weekend looking for an antenna so we could watch, ha! Sunday night we were finally tuned in. :) 

I wanted to share a few things with you that I shared with a friend. We couldn't set and have coffee one on one, so we sat at our computers via google hangouts and chatted about life and business. Running a business is tough, right? Sometimes it's just helpful to sit with a friend and talk through the ins-and-outs of life and business. During our coffee talk we chatted about two things and I'm sharing them with you. 

HOW DO YOU DETERMINE WHERE YOUR BUSINESS IS GOING NEXT? 

Man oh man, this one is tough, right? Especially if you have a lot going on and you're figuring things out as they unfold. Earlier this year when I made the switch from blogger to squarespsace I was asking myself this same question. Where is my business going? What things do I want my business to encompass? What kind of services do I want to offer? What do I want my brand to say? 

I had so many things floating around in my head and I had no idea where to start. I knew I needed to get my thoughts our on paper and I knew I needed to get them organized too. I started with a mind map. I knew I wanted Elah Tree to encompass every single aspect of my creative dreams; from photography, to blogging, and everything else in between. 

My mind map looked a little something like this... but with way more chicken scratch, ha! It also included everything I could dream of... everything I might want to include in my brand. Over time, I cut my mind map down and focused on what you see above. When I think about adding new resources or services to Elah Tree, I think of my mind map and how it ties into what I have already created. I also think about how it serve all of you. :) 

Creating a mind map allows you to visually see your brand on paper. You can see everything you are trying to accomplish and you are able to see where you can cut things out. 

HOW DO YOU PRIORITIZE AND TACKLE SO MANY DIFFERENT THINGS?

This one is huge for me and it's probably huge for many of you. Whether you are working your dream business full time, building multiple business, working full time and working on a side business, or a combination of one of the above, figuring out how to get things done can be a little over whelming. 

The one thing that has worked for me and saved my sanity and emotional health is time blocking. In short, I block time for every activity for my whole day. Whether I'm working on something business related, doing chores, taking a lunch, or running to the grocery store, I block time for it. Below you'll see how I blocked my Monday. Each day looks different but for this particular Monday I had a lot of house related things I needed to tackle. 

When I time block, I know exactly what I need to be working on and when. Time blocking also always to me see how much time a particular activity took. I few weeks ago I had something on my calendar and I blocked an hour and a half. In the end that particular activity only took me 30 minutes. Because I blocked time and reviewed how long it took me I knew that I didn't need to block that much time for next time. 

GRANT GRACE 

Remember to give yourself grace when blocking time. When I first started working from home I blocked time, but I didn't leave my self any grace in my schedule leading to a lot of anxiety. I thought that if I blocked time I had to 100% stick to that time no matter what. Now my schedule is more of a guideline. I do my best to stick to it, but I move stuff around all the time. 

LOOK AHEAD

When I block time I block time for my whole week. I look ahead at the coming week and think about what I want to accomplish. I think about my business goals, I think about house chores, social gatherings, grocery shopping, working out and everything else. I review my calendar and block time for all those things. This method works best for me because most of the time we have a lot going on. It overwhelms me to go through my week and then have to stop and figure out when I'm supposed to be doing next. When I block time I can simple open my calendar and I know exactly what I'm supposed to be working on. 

PRIORITIZE

We all have a lot going on, right? How do we prioritize all of our business needs? This is another way that time blocking works to my advantage. Most often, my business priorities come with deadlines. I'll prioritize my week based on the deadline for each project and I'll add time blocks to my calendar for each of those items. Because this past month was so busy with moving and other activities I had to move a lot of items around. I blocked time for my most time sensitive projects and moved anything else that was on my calendar to a different day. 

Have you ever used a mind map for your business? What are your tips and tricks to get a lot done? Do you have any business or photography questions that you would love to ask me over coffee? ;) Send them my way. xoxo. Samantha