Yesterday I was the featured guest for the Craft Social Twitter chat about productivity in crafts and crafty business. I had a blast during the lively chat, and I hope participants got something out of it.
Ironically, the dark, sleep-deprived gloominess of this week has me using all my energy to get the bare minimum done, which is exhausting and doesn’t feel particularly productive. Keep this reality in mind whenever you read someone else’s advice about productivity– we’re all human, nobody is perfect, and I’ve never met someone who doesn’t sometimes need a nap, ask for a deadline extension, or watch Arrested Development in the middle of the day.
The hourlong chat ended too quickly for me to share some of the tools and approaches I use to keep myself on track, so I’ll list those below. If you have your own tips, tricks or tools to share, add them in the comments so everyone can learn from you!
- I’ll lead off with something I said at the end of the chat in response to the last question, which was something along the lines of, “Overall, what’s ONE thing to do.” My answer: Know yourself. Do what works for you, not what works for someone else just because it works for them. If you hate lists, don’t make them. If you love multitasking and you’re actually effective at it, do it. If you work best with background noise, don’t make your room quiet. Respect your own experience, and be honest with yourself. If something’s not working for you, don’t force it. There is no failure in this stuff, there’s only trying and trying some more. Stick with things that work and ditch things that don’t.
- For time tracking and invoicing for my freelance work, I use On the Job, which I think I got in some sort of Mac software bundle a few years ago. It’s easy to use and I got it cheap.
- I did mention this, but I love it so much I’ll repeat myself: I use The Hit List for to-dos. It’s not cheap, and the iPhone app I use with it wasn’t cheap either. But I use it, which makes it worth it. The app lets me dump tasks into my list wherever I am, which is gold.
- I’ve written before about how I use Evernote.
- The Pomodoro Technique is a life-saver for me. No, I haven’t read all the info about it. I’m not a big reader of instructions and manuals. The gist is that I set a timer for 25 minutes and I attribute a task to that chunk of time. While the timer ticks away (there’s a timer ticking away as I write this, lest you think I’m bullshitting you), I do nothing but work on that task. When the timer buzzes, I take a five-minute break to stretch my legs, grab tea, knit, check email, whatever. Rinse, repeat.
- I use this timer on my Mac for Pomodoro. The website seems borked, but there are dozens of apps available for any platform or mobile device.
- For receipts, I’m just starting to try out Shoeboxed (that’s a referral link – we both win). I haven’t even used it yet; if you use it and have tips, please share.
If you were at the chat and have questions I didn’t answer here, don’t be shy. Likewise if you weren’t at the chat, obviously!