Workflow is one of the hardest things to determine, especially as your life shifts and changes. In my case, how I work drastically changed once I graduated from college and transitioned into working on actual projects as a freelancer for various publications and clients. I knew I needed (and wanted!) to do my best work, and there were and will always be deadlines attached. But I hadn’t been in the situation before of not having a number of top grades to chase. How hard I worked and the result that was produced relied on my attitude, atmosphere, and complete time management. I remember thinking to myself work like you’re still in school.

Over the past three years, I’ve fine-tuned how I work and think (I no longer remind myself to work like I’m still in school), so I thought I would share seven workflow tips to inspire you whether you work for yourself or for a company. :) 

Carly-is-Inspired-Workflow

Photo via LaurenConrad.com; Graphic by Carly is Inspired

1. Learn how you work best: In my case, this means starting with the most difficult task or the one I would really rather avoid. If I don’t want to do it, I’d rather get it out of the way than have to think about when I’m going to complete (or even just start) it throughout the day. Once that’s out of the way, I continue to work backward from least to most favorite things. If I do this correctly, my day doesn’t end on a bad note even if it starts with something less than desirable.  

2. Block your distractions: I’ve definitely fallen into the hole that is social media. In order to prevent myself from taking unwanted breaks, I’ve been known to sign myself out of any and all social media sites before I start working. That way, I’m not tempted to “see what’s going on” if I have to log in. Whether it’s social media or something else, try to put a roadblock between you and your distractions.

3. Set deadlines: Whether one exists or not, I always set a time when I want to have the task complete. Actually, I set two: one that will challenge me, and one that is completely realistic. Before I start working, I glance at the clock. If a piece normally takes me two hours to complete, I try to get it done well in an hour and a half. This always causes me to think a little more quickly and hustle just a bit more because it’s a slight race against the clock 

4. Walk away: I do exactly as this suggests – I walk away when I can’t decide if I’m happy with a project or not. Taking a break to go for a walk or work on something else allows me to revisit it with a clearer mindset. Most times I’m far less critical when I look at it again in a better mood free of frustration.

5. Schedule yourself: Whether it’s making a realistic list of items you want to accomplish that day or building in time off, set a schedule and stick to it. Lists are awesome because they get everything out of my head and onto paper that I can see and check off. I also work smarter knowing my goal is to create at least two blocks of time each week solely filled with relaxing. I’m also fairly strict with myself about taking that time to simply relax because I know if I don’t I will only end up burned out.

6. Love your environment: Decide on a music station to listen to, purchase a bouquet of flowers, and try to change locations in order to stay inspired (if you can). I love listening to Frank Sinatra on Spotify or Pandora while I work because that genre of music doesn’t distract me. Flowers make me want to sit at my desk because they make me happy. Changing locations when I’m working from home keeps me from getting tired of sitting in the same room for too long.

7. Take a moment to love your work: Don’t only allow yourself to just focus on the end goal of completing your work. Make sure you take a moment, even while you’re working, to really enjoy what you do. Enjoy the journey, not just the result. : )

What are your favorite workflow tips? I’d love to hear!

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Comments

  1. These are excellent tips Carly, and I definitely went through a similar process of discovering how to work for myself! In school working meant wonky hours and almost never stopping for me. I had to learn to find a healthier lifestyle for my working life because, unlike school, there is no graduation end date when you know you can “rest again.” Great tips & I’ll try to put some to use today!

  2. “Enjoy the journey, not just the result.” This applies to life in general. LOVE IT!!!

  3. I’ve been very busy so I’m late in reading this. Your suggestions are great, especially about tackling the most difficult task first. I tend to put it aside but then It gets in my head and I can’t stop thinking about it.
    Good ideas :-)

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