A Day in an Online Business Owner’s Life

business owners life

Every once in a while someone asks me how I manage my time. Frankly, I don’t think I’m in a position to laud my system—I’m such a perfectionist that I always think “Um, I mess up my time management constantly! Why do you want to know what I stink at?” This is especially true when it comes to doing the task I think I should for marketing my own blogs. But I guess that I look like I’m pretty well put together most of the time. At least that’s what I hope!

I run a successful online business with a large number of clients, a personal blog, and still find the time to participate in lots of volunteer and hobby groups.

My Organizational Tools

You might be a bit puzzled to think that I’m a tremendously tech-savvy person but that I still use paper calendars and notepads. The thing is, I love seeing everything laid out in one place where I can easily flip back and forth. I’ve found digital calendar apps and organizers so tedious to use that I just don’t use them.

I manage a lot of appointments and meetings between all the activities I do as well as running a business. It’s a lot to manage and I’ve never really found an easy way to do it all.

I use Google Drive to manage my files for clients but recently it’s been tremendously unreliable (like erasing and not syncing data!). I’ve used Zoho and Blue Camroo before and hated both of them. Other solutions don’t offer the all-in-one life approach I’m looking for either. I’m lazy, I don’t like using twelve apps to do one thing!

Right now, I’m using the following:

A wall calendar with color-coded posts and meetings with a check mark system for when that item is completed. Occasionally, I’ll use some sticky notes to remember things that don’t fit into my calendar for the future.

A notebook where I jot down my hourly schedule for the day and tasks that I need to do.

Of course, all this will change when I hire someone else to work with me. And it’s very quickly getting to that point! (I’ll be searching for qualified part-time team members in the future so watch if you’re interested.)

My Daily Routine

During my day, keeping a strict schedule is really important. If I don’t, I’m not making money. I have certain income goals I have to make every single day to survive so scheduling out my time to hour increments is vital.

Most days, I’m up between 5:30 and 6:00 and work on things for this blog as well as my business’ blog until my boyfriend wakes up. We eat breakfast and go for a walk in our neighborhood and that floats depending on what time he wakes up at in the morning. Read More Must have fitness apps for 2018

Three days a week, I workout for 20-40 minutes after a walk and shower after and two days a week I do yoga in the evenings instead and shower immediately after our walk. (I’m on a mission to stop being such a desk-lazy person and lose the twenty pounds I gained since college. I do video workouts because I have the world’s shortest attention span for things I don’t like. See a trend here? I once read a profile of how executives view their time and I fit every single trait!)

I work on client’s projects and needs until lunch and then stop to eat with my boyfriend and talk about what we’re each working on or do some professional development. In the afternoon, I schedule meetings or continue working for clients.

Those two days a week I do yoga, I stop around 4:45 and hustle over to my gym but most days I work until 6. During work time, I listen to opera, classical or sometimes pop music with headphones in most of the time. If I don’t, I tend to lose focus. But it’s all about knowing how to rein yourself in, right?

Then it’s off to making dinner and spending time doing non-work things away from the computer for the evening. We’ll play cards, Scrabble, or watch our favorite shows to relax. Sometimes we go for a second walk or go to the park if it’s nice.

We’re usually in bed by around 9 and listen to Selected Shorts or the New Yorker Fiction podcast. I usually fall asleep within the first five minutes of the story and couldn’t tell you the next day what the heck it was about. Subconscious osmosis? I hope so.

In there, I also do monthly and weekly group meetings for things like Geek Breakfast, the Faulkner County Democratic Party, and similar things. Some nights we have events to attend in the mix and other days I might have meetings during the day for non-work things. Keeping an hourly schedule really helps manage this.

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How do you manage your time? What tools do you use?

 

Make Bad Art Party Idea

Bad Art Party Idea

I took painting lessons from a crazy old hippie artist all through high school. I haven’t painted in years though. It’s probably because I focus too much on what I can’t do with my skills rather than what I can do. But there’s a new idea that might just want I need to get started again or to help you try painting while having fun with friends.

One of the things I loved the most in my art classes was what Mr. Phaneuf called Friday paintings. To save money on paints, we’d put plastic wrap on our acrylic paints. But on Fridays, we’d go crazy and use up all the paint on our palettes. It never lasted through the weekend and would be a glop of hard paint if we didn’t.

In those Friday moments, our “internal editors” shut off and it was pretty soothing to just smash the colors on whatever was handy.

I’m borrowing Steve Ewing’s terms here for that thing that holds so many of us back from creating. We’re so focused on perfection that we erase what we make to the point where it doesn’t exist anymore.

Last week, I spoke with Steve about his new book, Make Bad Art, and why us would-be artists get hung up on internal editors. We had a great discussion about abstract art versus still lifes and how to turn editors off. Steve and his co-author Robin Varni have found a way to turn off those editors and have fun with friends all at the same time. It’s called a Bad Art Party.

What is a Bad Art Party?

When you declare that all you’re going to make is bad art, you let go of certain expectations for success and perfection—those very same that hold you back from even trying. In the end, you might find that what you create is actually pretty dang good. So don’t let the name mislead you!

The idea is to get a group of friends together, choose a theme, and give each person a canvas and a bunch of art supplies. Set everything up and give folks some time at a canvas and then it’s time to switch! Everyone contributes to every canvas so you don’t really know what you’ll end up with when you’re done. It could be really terrible or really beautiful!

Steve said one thing when we discussed his book that’s been really sticking with me.

We get better by making mistakes and we shouldn’t be afraid of it.

Now that’s something to get you thinking, right?

How to Throw a Bad Art Party

I thought it was a pretty easy concept to grasp—and one to execute. But after speaking with Steve about the book and the Art Party process, it’s a bit more complex than it seems. So that’s why Steve got Robin on board with the project.

Robin is a trained artist and guided Steve through the aspects of the book most of us need a lot of help on too—like what kinds of supplies we’ll need. Art can get pretty complex when it comes to creating lasting quality paintings you can put up on your walls!

Inside the Bad Art Book, there’s great explanations on what you’ll need and what kinds of options to look for, as well as the lingo you can take to the art store with you so you get the right stuff.

There’s also all kinds of ideas inside the book for tasty menu items. No one wants to have a bunch of starving artists on their hands, after all.