Posts in Time Management
Four Tips to Improve Productivity While Working From Home
 

Four Tips to Improve Productivity While Working From Home

October 11, 2018

 Discover four tips for improving productivity while working from home to create a successful and profitable online business.

When I was getting ready for my first week as a “full-time entrepreneur” I was freaking out! I turned to the power of the internet and reached out to other entrepreneurs asking, “What tips do you have for working from home?”

The response was overwhelming, ideas flooded in ranging from; don’t make a plan just go with it to only work 3 hours a day for better efficiency. However, there was a slight problem with these suggestions - no one who commented was a mother!

Now, whether you’re a mompreneur or not this post will still be super valuable to you, but it’s an important part of my productivity journey because I had no other option that to make it work. Over the past two years, I’ve freaking mastered productively working from home, even when some of the biggest distractions were injecting themselves into my day (thinking baby peeing on you during a live stream, mid-day screams and 💩)!

If you struggle with getting sht done while working from home, you’ve come to the right place. I’m sharing four of my top tips for Improving Your Productivity While Working From Home.

**Please note some of the links are affiliate links. I only recommend products I absolutely love, but I might receive a small commission from your engagement.

1. PLAN THE NIGHT BEFORE.

I can’t stress enough how important planning is for productivity - I mean thing about it when you fly by the seat of your pants you’re constantly bouncing from one thing to another. Did someone say squirrel?!

One of the best strategies I’ve used for productivity over the past 6 months has been to carve out 15 minutes to map out and structure my tasks for the following day.

The night before I hop into my Weekly Schedule on *Trello and sit with my schedule for the next day. Based on family plans and weather (I’m a big advocate for Zoo days) I’ll move things around on my board. I also like to rank my tasks in order of importance and put a time limit on some of them (i.e. things like writing this blog post).

This allows me to have a full picture of the next 24 hours before I even go to sleep, reducing the overwhelm, allowing me to feel on top of my sh*t and to get more things checked off.

Want to try Trello for your business? Grab a free account here: https://trello.com/michelleknight6/recommend

2. Set a timer

When I was a kid my mom used to set a timer in the morning, you know one of those old-school white timers for your counter? Every morning she’d set the timer and when that timer went off we knew it was time to leave for school. Ok, total disclaimer I was still late like 99% of the time, but just think how late I would’ve been if I didn’t have that timer.

This is such a great trick for increasing productivity in your business as well. When it’s time to dive into the black hole that is social media, set a timer for 15 or 30 minutes and when that timer goes off - GET OUT OF THERE!

I love to use the timer method in my business for:

• Social media engagement
• Writing my emails
• Writing my blog posts
• Answering emails
• Tech (SO important to set a timer with this one)

Think of the areas of your business that are major time sucks and set that timer!

3. Batch Scheduling

One of the hardest things to do when working from home is to jump from one project to another. My greatest strategy since day one has been batch scheduling. Rather than spreading out your writing over the course of 5 days, how would it feel to be in your creative zone for a longer chunk of time, rather than having to start over?

When I try to write a single email a day, over the course of a week, it takes me 2x longer for each than if I were to sit down for three hours and write all my emails and social posts. Batch scheduling will save your bootay if you are an online entrepreneur who has to write ANYTHING (so basically everyone)!

Get in the habit of scheduling your batch writing at least once a week, maybe twice, in the beginning, to start finding a rhythm and routine. Before you know it you’ll be writing 10-minute emails and blog post with ease.

4. USE YOUR TIME WISELY

Efficiency is all about looking for all the areas in which you can use up space. When my son was teething and needed to go on daily walks, I would bring my cell phone with me and create talk-to-text documents for my emails. If I didn’t have the time in the day to sit down, you better believe I was using this time to my advantage.

When I use to drive to and from my 9 to 5, I would listen to podcasts which inspired the crap out of me and would record small ideas and notes in my phone, so I didn’t forget a single idea.

Look for every single opportunity you have to tap into your creative space. We all have the same hours in a day, it’s about HOW we use those hours that makes the biggest difference.

How are you currently using your time? Where are your biggest time sucks?

Some people call me the Get Sh*t Done Queen (ok, not a lot of people, but you get the idea) - I’m really great at streamlining and being the most effective with my time.

It’s because in the beginning of my business I had to be! I built this business from zero to multiple 6-figures in two years while working a 9 to 5 in the beginning and raising a baby. Productivity is my jam and that’s why it is one of the main pillars of my signature group program Roadmap to Freedom.

The doors are opening for Roadmap to Freedom for the third time this November!

If you are a new or aspiring female entrepreneur who is ready to launch an online business that allows her to make money on her own terms then this program is for YOU! When you join the waitlist before October 19 you’ll get first dibs on all the amazing bonuses + save some serious cash when you sign up during pre-enrollment.

Learn more and join the waitlist at brandmerry.com/freedom.

 Branding and Business Coach | Michelle Knight of Brandmerry
 
 
Michelle Knight_ headshot copy.jpg

Hey there, I'm Michelle Knight

Welcome to my little corner of the internet. I'm a mother, wife, world traveler and storyteller. I created my own business just after having my first baby and while working a 9 to 5.

Within one year I left my 9 to 5 and created a 6-figure business. Now I spend my days as a Branding and Business coach for female entrepreneurs, raise my little boy and travel the world with my little family of 3.

MORE ABOUT ME ↠

BRANDING

BUSINESS Tips and TOOLS

Travel

Time mangement

Self-worth love


TOP POSTS TO ENJOY!


The One Tool I Used to Scale My Business Past Six Figures
 

The One Tool I Used to Scale My Business Past Six Figures

SEPTEMBER 8, 2018

 Reaching 6 figures and beyond in your business requires strong systems and organization. It's what's happening behind the scenes that supports online entrepreneurs in scaling their business, hiring team and having a bigger impact. In this post I'm sharing the one tool that transformed the way I organize my business.

Organization - you’re either really good at it or NOT, and I have to admit it’s something I was born with.

I remember organizing my mom’s closet and basement on the regular as a child, teen and young adult. 

I like to give a little credit to the fact that I’m a Virgo (shout out to my fellow Virgo’s), but I also know it’s because I don’t like my space or head to feel crowded.

You know the feeling right? You have a million thoughts running through your head, a million things to do, that you can’t seem to narrow in on the must-do task.

Ok, cool so I’m not alone.

Well, when it comes to being an online entrepreneur, a lack of organization and productivity can impact your business, and not in a good way.

I mean think about it, if you’re always wondering what you should be working on and when, and flailing from one thing to another without a clear plan of action, you’re not going to move very fast in the direction of your dreams.

When I started my business, I was a loyal supporter of the good ‘ole pen to paper planner. I would write my tasks every Sunday night in my planner to prepare for the week ahead until I didn’t.

I got to a point in my business where I couldn’t have my planner with me at all times and would often forget to write my thoughts, etc. down promptly. Ever seen those planners that have months missing? That was me.

So I switched. But before I share what I’m now using in my business I want to chat about the importance of organization and planning out your tasks (yes, day-to-day all the way to a year in advance).

THE IMPORTANCE OF PLANNING

When I started my business, I was just trying to get by, so if you are reading this and thinking, “Yeah, Michelle that is so me right now!” then know that I totally get it.

But, eventually I just felt like I was spinning my wheels, I needed a better way to look at the big picture if I was going to keep moving forward, but I still was reluctant to take action.

Then I heard something that completely changed the way I looked at planning and organization, and that’s coming from a Virgo. I listened to a podcast in which they chatted about building a 7-figure business. They said, and I’m totally paraphrasing here, “If you want a successful 7-figure business start treating your business like it now!”

What? Mind blown! If I want to get to 7-figures, if you want to get to 6 or 7-figures, then we better start treating our businesses the same way they do.

And let me tell you, they are not flying by the seat of their pants.

ENTER TRELLO

I knew I needed a system to not only organize my day to day tasks but a way to organize every aspect of my business, including my workflows for content, client onboarding and working with my team.

I absolutely fell in love with the possibilities with Trello, the fact that it was free (I mean YES) and how visual the platform was.

As someone who loves a good post-it note, it felt like a much more efficient and eco-friendly way to organize my ideas.

Since using Trello, I’ve been able to create multiple boards including but not limited to:

  • My Brand
  • My Weekly Schedule
  • My Big Picture Goals
  • Blog Workflow
  • Podcast Workflow - Subscribe to The Free to Be Podcast
  • Client Onboarding
  • Content Creation Strategy

Oh, and the occasional personal board (in fact I used Trello to organize my checklists and to-do list for my trip to Paris and Iceland).

Interested in trying Trello, check it out here →
*Please note this is an affiliate because as the blog post suggests, I absolutely LOVE IT!

One of my absolute favorite ways to use Trello, besides the weekly schedule, is to organize my big goals. I feel like this is what was holding me back when using the planner, I couldn’t see the big picture.

Now I have a designated board which easily shows my HUGE quarterly goals, my ideas for passion projects and a breakdown of what I’m working on and when in my business.

It’s changed the game for me and contributed to me hitting multiple 6-figures in my business this year.

Did I mention it’s free? Ok, cool!

Want all my Trello workflows, customizations and additions? This month in Free To Be U, my monthly membership community, we are taking a deep dive into task management and organization.
Learn more and sign up today →

I’d love to know in the comments your favorite way to organize your business tasks and if you don’t have one, will you be using Trello?

 Branding and Business Coach | Michelle Knight of Brandmerry 
 
 
Michelle Knight_ headshot copy.jpg

Hey there, I'm Michelle Knight

Welcome to my little corner of the internet. I'm a mother, wife, world traveler and storyteller. I created my own business just after having my first baby and while working a 9 to 5.

Within one year I left my 9 to 5 and created a 6-figure business. Now I spend my days as a Branding and Business coach for female entrepreneurs, raise my little boy and travel the world with my little family of 3.

MORE ABOUT ME ↠

BRANDING

BUSINESS Tips and TOOLS

Travel

Time mangement

Self-worth love


TOP POSTS TO ENJOY!


How to Set Healthy Boundaries for a Successful Business
 

How to Set Healthy Boundaries for a Successful Business

August 30, 2018

  How to Set Healthy Boundaries for a Successful Business | Brandmerry by Michelle Knight Branding and Business  Coach  

If you start getting into the habit of setting boundaries in your business, even if you're just starting out, it's going to make a huge difference. Today I'm sharing some small adjustments you can make in your business to set healthy boundaries. 

You should be creating a business that compliments your ideal life of freedom and not one that takes away from it, but it's easy to kind of let your business take over. You have to make a conscious effort to create harmony between your business and your life. 

In today's blog post I'm sharing how to set boundaries outside and inside your business. Feel free to read or scroll to the bottom to watch the complimentary video.

Setting Boundaries Outside Your Business

You have to be open to communicating with your friends and family what it is you really do. You're not just staying at home, or hanging out on Facebook all day. We have to understand that there is going to be a time to dedicate to our business and a time to dedicate to our family and friends.

We have to find that harmony - and you'll notice I don't say balance because to me balance seems like 50/50 and it may not always be 50/50. Harmony is about the ebb and flow, which is more realistic when running a business. Think about a launch - you're not always launching, but it's a time when your business needs more love. 

How can you communicate with your loved ones when you're going through a launch and are a little busier within your business? 

There is no exact formula or percentage between your business and your family. I don't believe in them because it's going to be constantly changing. So you just need to be aware if you are working all the time or if you're neglecting your business, and make the adjustments where needed. You have to honor the seasons of your business and your life. 

Ben, my husband, knows my schedule. He knows when carts open when I'm launching, when I have downtime, and that helps our lives run smoothly. Make sure your family is aware that this is your passion and to support you during those busier times in your business.

Having those conversations is so important, because it allows you to give yourself permission to be fully present in your work and with your family. 

One of the biggest things for me was creating my office space, so I can shut the door when I need to. If you need to, move your work. I love blocking time off to go work at a coffee shop if I know that I have something big to get done. 

Even for things that aren't business related. If I want to take Cal, my son, to the Zoo on a nice day - I will block that out in my calendar. That is stepping into that CEO role.

Give yourself permission to love your business and also love the people around you. Understand when you need to love on your business or love on your family. And when you're with your family, remove the distractions. Stay off your phone. But also remember that no ones perfect, so don't get down on yourself if you break the boundaries every now and then. 

Action Steps: Block out the time in your calendar and honor it, create an "office" space, leave your home to work, when you're with your family remove distractions.

Setting Boundaries Inside Your Business

The biggest areas you need to set boundaries for yourself are on social media, emails (clients) and tech. From my experience those are the most significant time suckers.

Boundaries online. Some of my favorite tricks to making sure I don't get sucked in are to put myself on a timer, so I'm not spending all of my time in these areas. Another strategy is to set one or two times a day where you check your email. If someone emails after that, you can respond the next day and the same for your Facebook groups. 

Boundaries with your clients and your audience.  It's really important that you are clear from the get-go what your clients can expect from you and what you can expect from them. One thing I do with my clients is give them a 24-48 hour response time. If they email after I've already checked my email that day, they aren't going to get a response until tomorrow.

This actually empowers your client because it gives them room to explore their own answers and ideas. My favorite thing is when I get an email on Friday night with a bunch of questions, and yes some of the questions will require my guidance, but come Monday they have already figured out a lot of their questions and now feel confident taking action in their own business. 

Boundaries with yourself. One of my mentors told me some advice that has changed my business this year and I want to pass that on to you. Stop working 15 minutes before you think you're done. We can push ourselves, but that will just lead to burnout and frustration. I could probably work 12 hours straight, but that's not good for me, that's not good for my soul, and that's not good for my family. 

Action Steps: Set an alarm for when you are going on social media, block out time in your calendar for emails, stop working 15 minutes before you think you're done.

Head over to my Facebook Page and be sure to like and comment on the video while you are over there to help more people see this information ↠ https://www.facebook.com/brandmerrycoaching/videos/2196704633944875/

And be sure to sign up for future live videos so you don't miss a thing: brandmerry.com/live

And as always please share and comment on this blog post, I love connecting with you!

 Branding and Business Coach | Michelle Knight of Brandmerry 
 
 
Michelle Knight_ headshot copy.jpg

Hey there, I'm Michelle Knight

Welcome to my little corner of the internet. I'm a mother, wife, world traveler and storyteller. I created my own business just after having my first baby and while working a 9 to 5.

Within one year I left my 9 to 5 and created a 6-figure business. Now I spend my days as a Branding and Business coach for female entrepreneurs, raise my little boy and travel the world with my little family of 3.

MORE ABOUT ME ↠

BRANDING

BUSINESS Tips and TOOLS

Travel

Time mangement

Self-worth love


TOP POSTS TO ENJOY!


5 Tips to Improve Your Productivity Throughout the Day
 

5 Tips to Improve Your Productivity Throughout the Day

August 23, 2018

 Whether you're working from home, juggling a 9 to 5 or both, it can be really hard to get things done. It's all about productivity lady and in this week's blog post I'm sharing my top 5 tips to increase your productivity throughout the day. These tips have allowed me to build my business while working a 9 to 5, then scaling to 6-figures with a toddler by my side.

Oh working from home life, heck every-day life, it can get a little complicated from time to time. We’ve got things to do, people to see and the list keeps getting longer.

Hey girl, there is some light at the end of the tunnel and trust me it comes from doing more efficiently, rather than throwing in the towel. I know, I know throwing your hands up in the air might seem like the best option, but it’s not going to get you anywhere now is it?

If you find yourself seriously struggling with productivity throughout the day, whether that’s in your online business, at your 9 to 5 or both (I see you, girl, because I was you just 2 years ago), I’ve got 5 tips to kick that productivity into overload so you can get more sh*t done.

I’m super passionate about maximizing my time so I can stay focused and productive, yes even with a toddler. My intention is that these 5 tips will allow you to move closer and closer to your life of freedom without the overwhelm.

Top 5 TIPS to Improve Your Productivity

1) Take the time in the morning

Seriously, just do this step. I fought it for so long because I wasn’t a “morning person” but you don’t have to be a morning person to give yourself some love and attention in the morning. This can be 10 minutes or 2 hours (what I aim for these days). Read my recent post about The Morning Routine of a 6-Figure Business Owner for some ideas.

I highly recommend focusing on some sort of meditation or writing, a little movement and a nourishing smoothie or juice. Give your body, mind and spirit the love it deserves and it will support you throughout the entire day, yes even if your toddler throws a curveball in your original plans.

2) Focus on the Big 3

This is something I’ve been doing since I became an entrepreneur, women in my community will remember most of my first live streams were about this very topic. Your list is going to be long, there’s no denying that, but what you need to do is start focusing on what is going to have the biggest impact - enter the BIG 3.

Every single day take time to identify your big 3 for the day and put your energy and attention on those first. That way if something happens and your plans change you’ve accomplished the 3 most important pieces. For all my female entrepreneurs one of these pieces should be a daily sales action; meaning you’re reaching out to someone, posting or following up about your offer.

3) Time blocking for the win

Are you currently blocking out time in your schedule for important things? I see this happening a lot where women say they don’t have enough time in the day to do x,y and z. What if you made it a non-negotiable? Seriously hear me out here. What if every single week on Tuesday night you had time blocked out in your calendar for your business? What if every single Wednesday you blocked out time for yoga?

Treat it as a top priority and whatever comes up you’ll know that time is not available because it isn’t. I actually color block all important appointments, bulk writing sessions and more, like my morning routine, so nothing gets scheduled and takes my energy away from what I need to do.

4) Prepare for the next day

Rather than waking up in the morning wondering what is on the agenda, just to find out you have something every 15 freaking minutes, how would it feel to know before your head hit the bed?

P.S. It feels freaking amazing. Every night before bed set aside just 5 minutes to look at your planner, calendar, post-it notes of ideas and wrap your head around what’s on the schedule, what needs to be done and what can wait. Being in control of your to-do list is half of the battle, seriously, so do yourself a favor and do a little planning. The most productive people don’t fly by the seat of their pants!

5) Organize in Trello

I’m a lover of all things **Trello (see what I tried to do there?) Trello had allowed me to organize my content, workflows and weekly schedule. It makes planning and executing super easy. If you’re not currently using a system for organizing your day to day I HIGHLY recommend. You can get a free Trello account and dive right in.

Other amazing options include Asana and Monday or simply utilizing your Google Calendar or physical planner. I don’t care what platform, seriously I don’t, I just want you to have something that allows you to have a birds-eye view of your life and biz while prioritizing what matters most.

I'd love to know in the comments which tip resonates with you most and what you're most excited about implementing!

*Affiliate link to Trello because I love it and highly recommend. If you choose to use it for your organization, I will receive a little bonus from them.

 Branding and Business Coach | Michelle Knight of Brandmerry 
 
 
Michelle Knight_ headshot copy.jpg

Hey there, I'm Michelle Knight

Welcome to my little corner of the internet. I'm a mother, wife, world traveler and storyteller. I created my own business just after having my first baby and while working a 9 to 5.

Within one year I left my 9 to 5 and created a 6-figure business. Now I spend my days as a Branding and Business coach for female entrepreneurs, raise my little boy and travel the world with my little family of 3.

MORE ABOUT ME ↠

BRANDING

BUSINESS Tips and TOOLS

travel

Time mangement

Self-worth love


TOP POSTS TO ENJOY!


How to Hire Team Members for Maximum Support in Your Online Business

How to Hire Team Members for Maximum Support in Your Online Business

 How to Hire Team Members for Maximum Support in Your Online Business | Outsourcing, when to outsource, how to find a virtual assistant | Brandmerry

Today we're going to talk about outsourcing - hiring your team and building your team, and I know how scary this can be, so I'm going to share my own experience.

I really struggled with outsourcing in the beginning. It took me a really long time to add people to my team, and the biggest reason for that was my perfectionism. Yes, I can use this as an advantage at times, but how do I keep it from running my business full-time?

From July 2016 to about May 2017, I did it all myself. But then I came to the point where I started to get more clients, my son was now one and a half and I felt a need and desire to focus on certain things in my business that were in my zone of genius and let go of the others.

Fears around Outsourcing 

I had a lot of objections at first. What if they do something that doesn't go with my brand? How will I find someone I can trust? Can someone do it as good as I can? What if they mess up? Etc. And what I've found was the majority of my objections were driven by my perfectionism. 

I first made the dive with one specific area and that was Pinterest. The second thing I did was lead pages, landing pages, so I started to dabble and see the benefit of having team members. I started to realize that if I could outsource the things not in my zone of genius and was able to focus on visibility and my clients, I would be able to bring in more money. 

Another big fear for people when it comes to outsourcing is the investment. I had this fear because I knew I could do it myself, so why do I need to pay someone else? But I had to look at what I was ultimately investing in and that was my bigger mission, which I'm able to get to much more quickly when I have a team. Why create a business around freedom if you're constantly strapped to your computer. You're investing in your business, in the bigger picture. 

I would love to hear your fears or concerns around outsourcing. Comment them below!

My top recommendation on what to outsource first

Before you hire, you want to make sure you know exactly what you want to outsource, and your journey is going to be even easier if you are crystal clear on who you are, what it is you provide and who you provide it to, so when you do hire out, you can pass all of that stuff over. And remember there is going to be a learning curve. 

One of the questions I get asked a lot is "when do you know it's time?" and I truly believe that if you're doing something in your business and you're like "ugh I don't want to do this" then it's time. There's always going to be something to outsource and it's going to be different for everyone. 

I believe you should start small and then continue to hand over more tasks over time. You are stepping into the position of CEO and there's a shift that happens in your business when you hire a team and suddenly we experience beautiful growth and it's very powerful. Outsourcing isn't about "I don't want to do this." It's about wanting to be supported in your business, so you can grow. 

So what should you outsource? 

  1. Social Media - this is what I recommend to all my clients. For example, I knew I wanted to be on Pinterest, but I didn't have the capacity to add another thing on my own. So I hired someone, and I've never touched my Pinterest, but that's where the majority of my website traffic comes from. It's also easy to outsource social media because you can still control the content - they can repurpose blog posts, emails, etc. 
  2. Tech - I love tech, so this took me a little longer, but that's not the case for everyone. There are people out there who can setup a whole funnel in half the time that you can. I also recommend a bookkeeper or accountant.
  3. Design - This is another thing I felt comfortable in, so I just started outsourcing that, but there are so many designers out there that will knock your socks off. Good graphics can make you a lot of money! This can be workbooks, social media graphics, your freebie, etc. 

Write down everything you do in a week, then go back through the list and pick out the things you love doing and circle the things you despise. Those are the things you need to outsource. 

In addition, although it's not something we think of right away in our biz, I highly recommend investing in legal for your business to protect all your hard work and dedication. Having a Client Agreement is so important when contracting team members. Learn more about this important document from Christy Westerfeld here >>

Where to find team members

  1. Ask your entrepreneur friends. If you have a mastermind you are apart of, ask them. Get recommendations from people you know. 
  2. Ask in Facebook groups. This can be a pitch fest, so if you want to avoid that, be very specific in the type of person you need. Tell them to put recommendations below and say "please no messages." This way people can post and you can have a ton of options to look through, but your inbox isn't being filled to the brim. I love to see who's recommended. I immediately check out recommendations first.
  3. Upwork - this is great for single projects and getting your foot in the door. You can also find these people in Facebook groups as well and just slowly build that relationship. If you have a single job or just want to test the waters and see how you do handing work over, then Upwork is a great place to start. 

If you’re looking for support in your business here are some of my favorite ladies to support you.

You can watch the whole video for a more in-depth version of this and several bonus tips below!

Head over to my Facebook Page and be sure to like and comment on the video while you are over there to help more people see this information ↠ https://www.facebook.com/brandmerrycoaching/videos/1708345602535102/

And as always please share and comment on this blog post, I love connecting with you!

 Branding and Business Coach | Michelle Knight of Brandmerry 

 
 Branding and Business Coach | Branding Coach | Business Coach | Michelle Knight of Brandmerry 

Michelle Knight is a Branding and Business coach for female entrepreneurs who are struggling to gain visibility and traction to take their business to the next level. She works with her clients to dive deep into their story so they can create a brand and message that positions them as an expert and allows them to create their desired income to free up time in their schedule for what matters most. Learn more >>