You know how when something comes naturally to you, you don’t think anything of it?
I have that problem. Big time.
I was having coffee with my friend Jessica Rose Williams a few days ago, and she said to me: “You must work so much. You put out so much content!” And to that I replied: “I don’t actually work all hours of the day, I just work fast.” At that she said: “Tell me how!”
It hadn’t really occurred to me until that moment that maybe there was something in this “working fast” that I do that I could share with the rest of you! I’m going to be honest though, this comes so naturally to me that I’ve genuinely had to sit down and ponder over it… how do I ACTUALLY work so fast?
But after a little bit of thought whilst out walking my dog (this is when most of my good thinking happens!) I’ve come up with a couple of practical tips that I hope will help you to work fast, and save time.
Know When You Work Best:
Everyone has a time of day during which they’re most productive. As I type this, it’s 8:40am in the morning. I’m writing this now, because I know that between the hours of 7:30am and 10:30am are when I’m at my most productive for writing content. It’s a small window of time, but I use it to it’s full potential. I make sure that I try to keep as many of my mornings as free as possible. I’m still productive in the afternoons, however I keep them for doing things like: photoshoots, editing, research, because these activities require me to be more creative, and a bit less *focused.* Spend some time thinking about what times of day you feel most in your groove to do certain activities. You might write best between 2:30pm and 5pm. Or maybe you’re really creative at 9pm at night. Whenever that is, figure it out, and keep that time sacred!
Done is better than perfect:
This is such a popular saying now, and I don’t even know who first said it (if you know, tell me!), but I think I’ve subconsciously always embodied it (even when I was at school!). You can probably spend hours and hours perfecting things, but the reality is that no one is likely to notice. I’ve been publishing content, sharing images, writing Instagram captions, and producing podcasts with this mentality for a long time now… and it’s done nothing but bring me good things! So write your content, give it a scan, if what you want to say is there and it’s legible, hit publish!
*side note* I believe there is a time and place for things to be perfect. I.e. when you’re pitching yourself for the biggest job of your career, those sorts of things. But the vast majority of the time, done is definitely better than perfect!
When it comes to writing content, recording a podcast, or producing a photoshoot, I never approach them unprepared. Everything I do has a plan. I spend time making sure I’ve gathered my ideas, written out bullet points of every point I want to cover in a blog post, or put together a great moodboard before a shoot. Planning doesn’t take very long (and if you’re spending hours on your planning, you probably need to go back to the “done is better than perfect” mentality again). But what planning does mean is that when you come to actually DO THE THING you know what you’re doing, and you can get it done far quicker than if you’re trying to plan, and do the thing all at once. See my post here about how I plan my blog posts.
Keep Track Of Your Ideas:
This will help you in your planning stages, but I have multiple places that I can keep track of my ideas. I use Trello where I’ve got boards full of content ideas. I also jot down ideas while out and about in the notes app on my iPhone. I’ve also got a notebook where I write down everything that goes through my head. Whenever I need to create something, or come up with an idea quickly, I refer back to my notes and can quickly plan and create whatever I need to.
Don’t over think it:
I think that it can be so easy for us to worry about what people will think, and worry that our work isn’t good enough. I do the same thing! But the reality is that very few people will ever be thinking about what you’re doing, or judging you for your work. In fact, people will probably just be impressed with you. I like to think of it this way: whenever you read someone else’s content, or view someone else’s work, do you sit there and judge them or think that “they definitely didn’t spend enough time on this?” The reality is that you probably don’t! And I bet you the same goes for everyone looking at your work too.
Switch Off Distractions:
This is a big one, and it goes hand in hand with working when we’re most productive. In the hours of 7:30 and 10:30, I tend to keep my phone on airplane mode, and switch off Facebook. I also don't have notifications on my desktop. This means that I’m not distracted by anything and can keep my focus on the task at hand. If I get distracted by something every two minutes, I guarantee that it will take you way longer to finish what you’re working on!
Practice Makes Perfect:
The more you do something, the quicker and easy you get at it. When I first starting taking pictures, I was 15. Of course it took me AGES to get a photo that I was happy with! I didn't know what I was doing. Now, I know my camera like the back of my hand. I don't even need to think about it, it's second nature. The same goes with blogging; when I first started, I didn't know how to structure a post, I didn't know how to get started, I didn't know how to come up with ideas. The best thing you can do is keep practicing and you'll get quicker and quicker at your tasks.
Be kind to yourself:
This is a probably the most important one… just be kind to yourself! Be proud of yourself for working hard, for doing your best, and for learning along the way. If I look back at what I was producing two years ago, of course I can see the mistakes I made. But the best way to learn is by doing, so be kind to yourself, let yourself make a few mistakes, stop worrying what other people will say, and go make some awesome work!
It’s now 9:03am. I wrote all of this content in about 20 minutes. Now I’m going to give it a quick scan, make sure that there are no stupid mistakes, and after that, it’ll be written!
It’s now 9:13am. I’ve read my content over, I did add a few words here and there, and fixed a few typos, and now it’s done!
Now it's 9:27am, I've brought the article from my Pages app on my desktop into Squarespace. The images are in the post, the graphics are made in Photoshop, I've done the SEO, and now all I need to do is click "Schedule" and I'm done! This post has taken me about an hour to write, from start to finish. I hope that seeing what you can do in a short amount of time will give you a bit of motivation! If you have any questions about any of this, then please feel free to comment below, or send me an email!