This Tuesday, I had the pleasure of leading Knoxville's first Tuesdays Together at The Hive Knoxville! It was such a joy to be surrounded by so many like-minded creatives who all have the mentality of community over competition. I can't wait to see how this group impacts the creative industry in our city!
If you're not familiar with Tuesdays Together, it is a movement that was started by the founders of The Rising Tide Society. They are monthly gatherings on the second Tuesday of every month where creatives and entrepreneurs gather for coffee and conversation. An open space for idea sharing and goal building!
There are many Tuesdays Together locations across the globe, and you can find a list of each location on this page! If you live in Knoxville and are a creative, I'd love to welcome you into our growing group! Here is the link to our public Facebook page, where we post details about upcoming gatherings, as well as business tips and inspirational findings!
Of course, since it was the day after Labor Day, I had to bring some pumpkin tarts to our gathering to welcome all things Fall!
Everyone spent the first portion of our gathering chatting and getting to know one another. It was so amazing to see the diversity of creative talent in this room! We had photographers, wedding planners, candle makers, letterpress printers, videographers, jewelry designers, and even a woman who helps you check things off your bucket list- wouldn't that be an awesome job?!
After mingling, we started getting into the core of the gathering - talking about this month's topic: creating effective routines. This is something I openly share that I need help with, so I was incredibly glad to hear advice not only from other Tuesdays Together leaders, but also from the creatives in this room!
5 tips for creating effective routines
While there were so many valuable tips offered during our gathering, I wanted to share five tips that our group found most effective! Hopefully they will help y'all as well!
TIP ONE: HAVE GRACE
Before we even get into the other tips, one of the biggest things we all agreed on was allowing ourselves to have grace. Recognizing that our routines will likely look different day-to-day, and that is okay! Having them in place is wonderful and definitely helpful, but if we have an off day, it won't ruin our entire week. Keeping that in mind from the beginning will help you to continue working on your routines, instead of having the "New Years Resolution" dilemma of starting off with a great routine for two weeks, then slipping into your old habits.
TIP TWO: BREAK PROJECTS INTO MANAGEABLE PORTIONS
A tip that really resonated with a lot of us was breaking big projects into manageable portions, and assigning ourselves due dates for each of those portions. For instance, if you're a wedding photographer and you have an entire wedding to edit, that would definitely be an overwhelming task looking at it as a whole! But, if you break it up and say that you will edit up to the first look by Tuesday at 1pm, edit up to the end of the ceremony by Wednesday at 3pm, up to the end of the family photos by Thursday at 1pm, and up to the end of the reception by Friday at 3pm, that seems much more manageable! You'll still get everything done in a timely fashion, but it wont be as stressful, and you'll probably be more excited to edit each day than if you had to edit straight through the entire wedding in one day! Your work will benefit from that extra time and energy as well.
TIP THRE: UTILIZE APPS & PLANNERS
Don't think you have to do all of this organization yourself! There are so many wonderful apps and planners out there that will automatically enhance your organization and your routine. Some of our favorites include:
Toggl: A free app for time logging
Basecamp: A project management system perfect for businesses with multiple employees
17 Hats: A project management system with features including client project organization, invoicing, contract sending, an accounting software, email organization, time tracking, and more
Trello: A free project management app that tracks progress from "ideas" to "to do" to "doing" to "done!"
Do you have any apps or planners you adore? If so, leave them in a comment below!
TIP FOUR: URGRENT VS. IMPORTANT
One of our wonderful creatives made use of the chalk board to share a really helpful tip with us about organizing your routine so you focus on the right tasks. It is called urgent vs. important, and is broken into four quadrants.
The top left quadrant is your important and urgent section: things that NEED to be done and have a really fast deadline.
The top right quadrant is your important and not urgent section: things that are very important to your business (a big new client project), but that you have ample time to complete.
The bottom left quadrant is your not important but urgent section: things that still matter but aren't quite as important, like finishing a blog post (versus paying your monthly sales tax). But they become urgent because you shared on Instagram earlier that you would have it posted in 30 minutes, and you still haven't started adding any text to your post!
The bottom right quadrant is not important and not urgent: things yet again that still matter (just not as much as your super important things) such as initial concept sketches for your new product line that isn't set to launch for another 5 months, but you feel inspired and want to begin concepting right now even though you have a huge project deadline to meet tomorrow morning at 9am.
Many of us, myself included, spend most of our time in quadrants one (top left) and four (bottom right). We have so much fun working on projects in quadrant four that we decide it's okay for us to procrastinate projects in quadrant two (top right) until they become urgent and get pushed into quadrant one! Then, we spend our late hours and early mornings rushing to finish projects in quadrant one.
What we should really be doing is prioritizing the projects in quadrant two that are important but not yet urgent, and finish them before they ever even have the chance to reach quadrant one status! We as creatives will feel less rushed that way, our creative talents will shine because we aren't stressed, and our customers and clients will be happier because they will get their products/services delivered to them in a more timely manner!
Our final favorite tip is fairly self-explanatory, but oh so important. Plan your entire day. As humans, we tend to procrastinate if we have too many choices. We will get less done, and will feel more frazzled throughout the entire day.
The night before or early that morning before you start your work, sit down with your favorite app or planner and schedule your full day. Start with your to-do list, and ask yourself the following questions:
"What am I most dreading doing today" and "What will I wish I had done today?"
Put that thing you are most dreading at the very beginning of your schedule so you can knock it off your list and not have it looming over you all day. If you put it off until the end of the day, you'll likely find an excuse to wait until the next day to complete that task.
In the opposite sense, make sure to include time in your schedule for the thing you really want to do that day! If you let yourself spend too much time emailing or editing without a scheduled routine, you likely won't have time to spend on your favorite project, and will feel bummed and unproductive at the end of the day.
Also make sure to bookend all of your projects with fun tasks. They don't have to be anything extravagant, and can include things like taking a break to make tea or coffee at 10:30am after finishing your first project, taking a real full lunch break from noon to 1pm, taking a walk to clear your head at 3pm, and scheduling a workout or happy hour date at 5:30pm so that you really do stop working at 5pm and remember to have a life outside of your work!
I hope all of these tips have been helpful for you, and that you start implementing some of them into your routine! If you have any wonderful tips that you'd like to share, please do leave a comment below!
I'm so excited to see how the Tuesdays Together gatherings impact our city and cities all across the country! If you attend a gathering, make sure to #tuesdaystogether and #communityovercompetition so we can all keep up with your posts!