If there was one thing I would recommend to people who feel like they don’t have enough time, it would be calendar blocking. Hands down. We’re all busy and we all have the same 24 hours in a day. So how do you make sure you’re spending time on your priorities and meeting your goals?
I resisted scheduling myself for a long time.
I’m a free spirit! I’m an entrepreneur! I work from home for the freedom!
These were all of my excuses for refusing to set any sort of schedule for myself, but once I decided to give Calendar Blocking a try my life changed.
Some people call it calendar blocking, some call it time blocking. It’s really a combination of both, but I personally call it Calendar Blocking because you are actually filling out your calendar with blocks of time.
Simply put it is filling in your calendar with your daily routine, schedule and activities. It doesn’t matter if you’re the CEO of a multimillion dollar corporation or “just” a stay at home parent, we all have stuff to do and blocking out time on our calendars is the way to do it.
WARNING: If you think this sounds too rigid try to stay open minded and give it a try. You can be flexible and move things around as needed, but having your day or week all planned out will ensure you focus on what you need to.
Raise your hand if you have a desk covered in random paper. Or drawers stuffed with paper. Or a purse stuffed with receipts. I know I’m not the only one! I’ve been working on tackling paper clutter for years. It’s a constant battle, but one of those things you just kind of deal with. You shuffle the papers around, maybe file a few, probably lose a bunch. The thing is you don’t want to waste time organizing it because who has time for that? But you’re wasting time constantly shuffling it around and digging through to find that one receipt from last month.
So let’s talk about getting that paper clutter under control because seriously, it’s getting out of hand.
When dealing with clutter or too much of anything I think the first thing you need to decide is what is important. When our mail comes I recycle or toss probably 80% or more of what comes in. The same goes for your business a lot of the time. The only things I really keep are receipts and invoices, documents like seller licenses and tax related paperwork. I’m sure there are a few other things I’m missing, but I don’t generally print or keep much else.
This info graphic over at Apartment Therapy might help you decide what to keep vs get rid of.
When I started as a freelance designer in 2012 I basically gave away my blog designs. I started on Etsy to find clients. As my portfolio grew, my rates went up and I moved to my own site and was able to stopped selling my services on Etsy. Since I was on my own I had to find a new way to invoice clients. Paypal was the first payment system I used to invoice my clients. I’ve been using Paypal for years from buying and selling online, I already had an account so it was an easy choice.
Over the course of the last few years I strayed. I tried several different ways to collect payments like Freshbooks (love) and Wave (don’t love) and a few others that I can’t remember off the top of my head. But recently I came back to my tried and true method: Paypal. Truth be told, I don’t invoice clients a lot these days because I don’t do much design work. I’m working on diversifying my income and moving away from doing design work so I decided it was silly to pay a monthly fee when I could do it straight from Paypal with just the transaction fee (similar to what every payment processor will charge you).
If you haven’t tried Paypal for invoicing yet you should! It’s simple and there is no monthly subscription fee to worry about. Plus it’s been around a long time so people know the name and trust it.