The Time and Energy Management Tips Every Creative Entrepreneur Should Know

“Guess I don’t really know what you’d want me to talk to your group about,” I stuttered out on Friday to two high-level, we-start-at-5-figures copywriting coaches that pick apart and mentor my own copywriting business.

Just finished screen-sharing my copywriting business plan projections and income goals. I also shared my knowledge about how many hours each project could take on my most recent timesheet reporting.

Why Creatives Benefit From Real Rest

Recently, my nose has been pressed in “Rest”, by Alex Soojung Kim Pang. He is a visiting scholar at Standford and a researcher. He frequently uses words such as “left inferior frontal gyrus” and “rMRI scans” (which, it turns out, are not very fantastic Tony Robbins). 

People like you and I have a brain that is still trying to solve problems. It generates ideas that we will use later. 

The brain’s neuronal organization and structure are sorted to help creative people tap into specific pockets of energy. We naturally flow along the innovative breakthrough pathway, from preparation to incubation until illumination (a-ha! Verification is the next step.

A curse and a blessing

Creative people view incubation, illumination, and other skills as a skill they use daily, regardless of whether or not they realize it. They develop and refine routines and practices that allow them to preserve time for thought-wandering, increase their insight and capture moments of illumination.

Are you interested in tracking me?

My dear creative, you and I are both warriors-up idea horses. It reminds me of a time when my husband was in marriage counseling. Wes stated, “I don’t want to be Ashlyn’s brain–she always has a new idea every hour.” I looked blankly at my counselor. It’s only one hour, you think, babe?

You can probably relate

Herein lies the problem. We must learn how to harness this energy and manage it. It’s how to harness that energy and put it to work for clients, but also when to step back and use restoration. This is where we BOTH know real ideas come to life.

Time in contemplation and deep thinking is where we get our client breakthroughs, artistic visions, business a-ha moments, and start-up dreams.

Major on the Major in Your Creative Small Business

I can recall the moment when my previous corporate marketing job’s CFO told me that I was not “employable”.

All night, I cried into my pillow feeling like “you’re a failure” could as well be written on my forehead.

My job was to be a marketer and publicist for a restaurant that was growing rapidly. Although the old operational systems were not as appealing to company culture, they were both classic millennial and PR agency trained. However, I maintained the principle that billing time was important: clients don’t pay for wasted time.

So, if it meant fighting against outdated processes that were slowing me down in my job, well, that was fine with me. Multiple times. Too many.

“To me, the greatest quagmires and complications of traditional employment are this focus on performance over presence… I have never been inclined to any kind of employment. It’s just not something I enjoy. Because I am obsessed with efficiency and effectiveness, I see obvious holes everywhere. I feel like I’m an authority figure and a pain in my a**if I’m under someone else.

“This has often led to the end of different companies. I am better equipped to run my own ship, no matter how well or poorly it does that.”

Develop sustainable marketing habits such as copywriting. This is what I tell all my students in Copywriting For Creatives. It’s the closing pitch. Images are powerful, they can lead and they’re essential. 90% to 93% of information can be communicated visually. It’s the other ten percentile that closes the sale. Do your business a favor, and plan for the long haul. You can create more than just a gorgeous Instagram grid. How to write sales copy. This 5-minute guide will show you how to start.

Make a financial plan to meet your needs. I work 1:1 with Shanna Skidmore via her Blueprint Model program. Locate a coach to help you determine what “enough” means for you over the next five or ten years. Then, create a plan to get there. Find out more about the financial system for creatives.

Niche down. As my students know, I call this the Onlyness Factor. You must be able to tell me why you do things the way that you do. This will reduce some of the hustle and bustle that comes with being a 24/7 entrepreneur. Promise.

Create flows & develop sustainable routines to manage your creativity

It’s true that productivity hacks, tips, and tricks (and tirades!) only work if your zone of genius is filled with time.

You can do more time-wasting work with your time back, and productivity is one of the most important things.

Perhaps you should use this time to go on annual sabbaticals or walk around the block at 2. During busy times, your inbox is whirring.

Perhaps you’d like to make use of that time for a 12-p.m. class, or a weekend of sleeping in and reading.

Perhaps you can get 3 hours of education back on Fridays, where you just sit down and listen to courses, and your brain explodes with new ideas.

These are just a few suggestions to help you get started

Day batch like crazy: Marketing Monday, Client-work Tuesdays, and Product Development Wednesday. Calls on Thursdays. Finance (& Systems Fridays). To learn more about my methods, click here.

Get to sleep. This is still a difficult task for me. But Arianna Huffington’s Sleep Revolution has helped me. It’s a great kick in the pants.

Make the most of the first four hours of your day. Be a creator in the morning and a manager at the end. Focus on your most challenging task or craft for the first four hours. Stephen King wrote for 4 hours per day before he quit. Jerry Seinfeld wrote jokes four hours per day.

Please keep track of your time to see where it goes. You might not be working as hard as you think.

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