When I saw the topic of Etsy’s success newsletter this week ‘Tips for making time to make’ I nearly didn’t read it. I mean, I quit my job to do this full time. All I have is time, if anything maybe too much time! But I opened it anyway… and I surprised myself.
I read through not thinking much one way or the other until I got to ‘#5 Be Proactive’ which stated;
“A common problem among workers today is a phenomenon that psychologists call “reactionary workflow,” whereby we spend the majority of our working hours and energy reacting to external stimuli like emails, instead of on projects we intentionally set out to do that are important to us. “Rather than being proactive with our energy, we are acting in response to what is incoming,” writes Behance founder Scott Belsky in “Beware Reactionary Workflow” from the website 99U.”
It hit a little too close to home to be honest. As someone who always has a Facebook window and a Gmail window open (along with whatever else I’m doing) if I hear the ‘ping’ I will switch browser windows almost instantly to see what’s happening… in fact the only time these windows aren’t open is when my computer is off, and the only time that happens is if I’m asleep. This isn’t to say I sit on Facebook all day, most of the time I’m doing something else at my computer… but I honestly have no idea how much time I do spend on there as it is so easy to switch over at any time. That realisation scared me a bit. I kept reading… ‘#6 Eliminate Distractions’ said, amongst other things;
“If you find your time or attention being eaten up by online activity, consider removing your computer or digital devices from your workspace. Also, complete other life tasks (for example, cleaning and laundry) that could infringe on your designated creative time beforehand. Streamline and delegate other business tasks that you’re less interested in so you have more time and energy to devote to creating.”
When I was starting out I read so many things, online, about how having an online presence can make or break you. It’s the easiest way of promoting yourself, and it’s free (well free in the monetary sense, no so free in time dollars)- you must have a Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter (sorry, no, possibly never), Blog, Newsletter, Etsy account, Felt account… plus don’t forget there is an official website to update, email to check and reply to (and that’s before actually needing the computer for design work, photo editing, contacting new shops or checking my bank account!), it’s endless. I was new to most of these things, so new I had to open accounts for some of them, I had to come up with things to say, be consistent and cohesive, interesting and try to build an audience. It’s continuous work, I am in no way finished don’t get me wrong… but I was so slow at the start that it would often take me all day to complete the simplest computer tasks (like writing this blog)…
Reading points five and six made me realise not how trapped on the computer I was, but the opposite. How a couple of months ago it would take me all day to complete/ update the above tasks… but now, I had built up a system, I could complete everything I needed to do on the computer before lunch. After some hard work at the start I had formulated an order to listing and posting yet I still sat on the computer all day, needlessly. It was no longer an all day job, but I was still making it one. The day I read that blog I completed all my computer jobs before lunch and made all afternoon. It felt great. The next day I did the same, this was going to be my new daily ritual- I was to be a slave to the computer no more. The day after that (day 3 of freedom) I realised I had nothing to do after lunch. That with a new system comes new challenges. I never thought I would have to actively try to ‘fill my days’ but getting off the computer had freed me up so much I didn’t know what to do with myself!
What fun! Watch out world… I’m coming for you!