In a previous life I was a Project Manager in the IT Industry. Day after day I was planning, tracking, reporting. Tasks, time, people: everything was clearly mapped and I made sure every project got as close as possible to a smooth clockwork. Then I became a part-time stay at home mum cum craft business owner. I soon figured out I should change my approach to organisation and time management to fit my particular work/life set-up. In that domain I think I have just met my best friend: Your Best Year: 2014 Productivity Workbook and Creative Business Planner by Lisa Jacobs. After 2 days of hard thinking and serious planning, I feel really in control and positive I’ll make enough money to get these tattoos I have been dreaming of.
The challenge for creative business owners is to run efficiently their business while keeping a creative state of mind. In my opinion you need some serious compartmenting to achieve this, to make room for the boring stuff so it gets out of the way and you get as much time as possible to get wildly creative. I also have a family to look after and as much as I love my job I don’t want it to eat up my kids and hubby time.
You got it: this needs to be seriously organised. But my previous work experience taught me that over organising is sometimes far worse than not organising at all. If you spend too much time updating plans and so it is not working. On the other hand a creative business can’t be organised like let’s say an IT job because creativity is not very docile, sometimes it hits when less expected and sometimes it requires you reconsider all or part of a project. What the craft business owner needs is a powerful yet flexible and playful organisation tool. Lisa Jacobs’ workbook is just that. I had so much fun filling in the pages but I still feel very organised at the end of the process.
I went for the pdf version of the workbook as I was too happy to get an excuse for buying a new binder and play with my repositionable tabs. It is available for only 10 US dollars (however it also available in a regular print version print version). This is where the fun starts: I have organised the workbook with tabs for each quarter and to mark goals setting and review times. Of course you don’t have to print all in one go. The design is full of these vibrant colours that definitely put me into creative mood. I have filled in the pages with all types of colours, some golden marker and some washi tape.
After having all this fun you’ll be ready to tackle the serious stuff. The first part of the book is all about these organising work sheets. You’ll look at your goals, the money facts, your strength and weaknesses. But this is not your traditional SWAT matrix stuff as you’re allowed to dream big. This is a positive workbook you see: there are money affirmations, ideal world prompts game and picturing what your life will be like once you succeed. Something I found particularly interesting is the list of people you fill in. Whether these are people you love, will support or want to work with it gives you a good overview of what you core network is or should be.
At times exercises in this part seemed repetitive. For instance you may find yourself stating your goals on several different pages. It was the case for me but I found this beneficial as this sort of iterative thinking helps clearing the mind and boiling it down to only some priority goals and actions. I would recommend to read the first part once, sleep or sit on it for a day and then complete it in one go if possible. It creates a sort of brain bubbling that helps the creative decision process. Then it would be a good idea to come back to it after a week to make sure you got it right.
Once you know where you’re going you can move to the actual planning. This edition has pages from October 2013 to December 2014. It is broken down into three months period with to do lists at the beginning of each period. Each week is set on two pages, so there is ample room to write down actions, with a mini list of three must do at the top. Various pages offered for each period make the format very flexible and easy to adapt to your particular situation.
It is even flexible to the extreme thanks to the print and bind format of the pdf version. What I was cruelly missing so far was an organiser that could host all of my business aspects under one roof. I have added some pages of my own and I now can tell I have found this tool! You see, I make and sell homeware, I sell craft supplies and I blog. Plus I am a list addict and I tend to make baby lists everywhere if not looked after properly. As I have printed lists for product ideas, posts ideas, tutorials, PR actions, etc. I am now safe. I have also prepared an overview table for the year and a stats monitoring sheet (I call it my Win! page, let’s keep positive) inserted at the beginning of 2014.
Now this was a long review but I am really enthusiastic and recommend Lisa’s workbook and planner to all craft business owners. 2014 will be fab, with plenty of funky stuff on the blog and some gorgeous ink on my arms!
This is not a sponsored post. I have purchased the book reviewed here. However I am part of the Amazon Associates Programme. If one of my readers clicks on the amazon links, I would earn a percentage of their purchases with Amazon.