Each fall, I pause. I use several time blocks in the last few months of the year to review my writing business, from the partnerships I take on and processes I use, to the way I market my services. I reflect on what works, what doesn’t and what needs to change.
This time of year, I almost always write about this moment of reflection to inspire others to step back and look at their business with fresh eyes too. Here are a few posts you might enjoy:
- 11 Questions to Evaluate Your Writing Business
- Why Are You Writing? To Meet a Deadline? Or, Educate Readers?
- Setting Writer’s Boundaries: Engaging in Deep Work Matters
- 6 Reasons You Need to do a Blog Audit ASAP
In this post I’m sharing a handful of takeaways from my annual audit and why they make sense for my small business. Of course, we all differ. The way I structure my days, the income goals I set and the type of work I take on are personalized to create the life I want. But, if something seems to mirror your values and small business goals too, then by all means, consider the idea for yourself as well. Here are the takeaways I’m sharing:
- I’m working fewer hours each week.
- I’m giving my health priority over my career.
- I’m choosing clients more carefully.
- I’m no longer doing interviews on Mondays and Fridays.
- I’m making daily to-do lists on paper.
I’m working fewer hours each week.
I know I’m not alone when I say I’m tired. Living through a pandemic is exhausting on so many levels. Seeing friends get sick and managing long-term health issues is concerning. Going to funerals is difficult. Staying home more and missing out on the ways we used to celebrate holidays and socialize makes me sad.
Layer onto that handling a divorce, moving twice in the past year and a half, managing chronic health issues and…I’m flat-out drained. But, I’m also resilient and proactive when things get off balance. So, I’m working fewer hours to better juggle all that’s on my personal plate. I’ve noticed my colleagues doing this too. There are more posts about talking daily walks, seeing a mental health therapist and setting better work-life boundaries. Count me in on all of that!
When I prioritize my health, it makes me more focused, creative and attentive with my content marketing clients and projects. It’s really a win for all to stop the grind and realize what we need right now in life — pandemic or not.
Disclosure: This blog is reader-supported, which means this post contains affiliate links and advertisements. I earn a small commission if you shop through them, which helps fund this website so I can continue to bring you amazing content. Thank you! ~Angela
I’m giving my health priority over my career.
My best writing happens when I’ve mindfully started my day and later checked in with myself during the afternoons. If I need a nap, I nap. If my arthritis is flaring and my hands hurt, I step away from my computer. If my digestion is off, I clean up my eating habits. I’ve done this in the past, but now this is more important than ever and I’m taking actions that are more noticeable.
I’ve chosen to reduce my number of working hours each day by almost half. This frees up time for rest, medical appointments, naps, reflection, walks and whatever else I need to keep my mental and physical health in a good place. I’ve made this work by raising my hourly rate, cutting out unproductive tasks, reducing my time on mindless social media scrolling and being sure that every hour of work blocked out on my calendar has a purpose. It either pushes me towards my goals or is a necessity for running the business. Period.
I’m choosing clients more carefully.
So, how am I shifting when it comes to accepting projects? I’ve always evaluated potential partnerships carefully, but now they have to be an excellent fit to make it onto my calendar. Beyond the paycheck, the clients I’m partnering with are offering projects I enjoy and topics I want to learn more about. I’m done taking on mind-numbing work just for the money. When you stop saying ‘yes’ to the things that drain you, creative space opens up for the projects that inspire and fulfill you.
And yes, I’ve let a few clients go. I’ve had to in order to work fewer hours. I simply can’t keep as much on my plate when I’ve chosen to eat from a smaller one. I tried that initially, and things were dripping off the sides and getting lost in the shuffle. That’s stressful and not good for my mental or physical health.
I’m no longer doing interviews on Mondays and Fridays.
This is a more technical shift, but I’ll tell you why I’m doing it. I’ve noticed many, many people are starting to take Friday or Monday off. Or, work half days. They’re burnt out and trying to figure out ways to de-stress. I applaud this and am happy to offer times to conduct interviews in the heart of the work week so sources don’t muddy their free time with work tasks.
Plus, nobody really wants to answer my questions on the bookends of the week anyway. Mondays are for catching up and Fridays are for winding down. For me, most deep work happens Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
I’m making daily to-do lists on paper.
This sounds silly until you realize staring at your Google calendar has been causing an overwhelming amount of stress. Seeing a week of tasks at a glance was simply too much. Now I’m old-school. I’m making a quick checklist in a notebook so I focus on each task for that day only. Manually marking them off with a neon highlighter is empowering. Yes, I still refer to my Google Calendar often, but it’s not in my face. My shorter, manageable daily list is. And, it’s helped immensely with my mental stress. Five tasks today? Yes, I can manage that!
Have you been evaluating your business? Are you making changes for the new year ahead? I’d love to hear what you’re implementing to make work more manageable and life more enjoyable.
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