Do you struggle to prioritise your creative ideas?
Or perhaps you can never finish anything because you don’t know where to start?
Have you ever felt bored having to do the same repetitive tasks in your business over and over again?
Have you ever wondered if there was a better way to do things that would free up some headspace for you?
It can feel overwhelming when you start a new project to juggle all of the pieces. So in this episode, I’ll be talking through how to prioritise projects and actions to help you actually achieve your goals. I’ll share my top tips for making templates to streamline your process and you’ll get the lowdown on four pieces of software that have streamlined my processes and completely transformed my creative business.
Got a burning question you’d love me or Emily to answer? Send me a voice message and I’ll answer in a future episode at https://www.speakpipe.com/CreativePower
To find out how to work with me visit www.camillafellasarnold.com/creativepower
For episode transcripts visit: https://camillafellasarnold.com/category/podcast/
Camilla Fellas Arnold 0:25
Welcome to Creative Power, and podcast designed to help you claim the full spectrum of your creative potential. I’m Camilla fellas Arnold. And I’m passionate about discussing how we change the face of both the creative industries, and how we interact with creativity itself. So that in nourishes our soul, and helps us express ourselves within alignment, flow and authenticity. Let’s get started.
Welcome to Creative Power. Last week, we were talking about goal setting off the back of the interview with Emily tuck. And she was talking about how we’ve moved into this season of fire. It’s all about doing. And so I was talking last week about a goal setting for this kind of six week window that we’ve got, or maybe even for this 12 week window, because we were moving towards harvest in August. So we have that 12 week window, that then the summer solstice in June will kind of act as our mid point. So that’s the six weeks I talked about. So in that episode, last time I was saying about having this overall big theme or focus for the next few weeks. And today, I want to help you work out how to break that down into manageable chunks. And just make it easy to get everything done. Because when you have that overall goal, that big thing that you want to achieve, whether that is in the next 12 weeks, I want to write my book or I want to record and launch a new course or whatever it is, there’s going to be lots of little pieces in there that you will want to work out how to prioritise and also how to streamline streamline your process, because you know what, as creators, we wear a lot of hats. And not all of them super sort of fit us. But I know in my own creative practice, I’ve done a lot of things manually over the years. But I really didn’t have to, really didn’t need to, but you just kind of get stuck in your ways stuck in your system in your process. So this episode is all about prioritisation, and streamlining. So making this as easy as possible to get your projects done and over the line. Because that’s what we want. We don’t want to be sitting here with loose threads of projects, because that just makes us feel rubbish. It means that we lose momentum as well. So there may be, as I said, lots of ideas and parts of the process that will all come together and help you achieve this big project. So in terms of prioritisation. I look at three main things. When I’m looking at how do i prioritise something. And those three things are time, practicality, and joy. I’m going to walk you through them. So time, what projects what pieces of this big project are time sensitive? What things are going to take me the longest, so they need me to start them now. And you may find that there are some things that are a mixture. There may be some that it really doesn’t matter when in the process you do them. But there can be particularly like with writing a book, one in the actual book is gonna take you the longest. So you do need to start now. Or let’s talk about the idea of writing a book. What is time sensitive, building your audience starting that as soon as you can, that’s a really good thing to do, because then it will serve you better when the book is actually done. You will have people to market the book to. So time is always my first consideration because if there’s anything that is a really high priority and time sensitive, it moves right up the queue. So then we move on to practicality. Are there any pieces to this big project or any actions that have to be done in a day certain order, maybe it’s a logical order, you know, there’s steps to the process. This is how you have to write the book before you can edit the book. And then when the book is edited, then you can format it and blah, blah, blah, this bit is kind of obvious, you will just see it, if there are steps to your process, you will just know what they are. So that means that you’re already creating a timeline of flow for yourself, these are the things that need to happen in this order. And you can kind of plot them out. And if you look at how long are any of these actions, time sensitive, or how long will some of these actions take me, you can kind of start to build your own kind of timeline on the project to ensure that you get it done.
Now, they seem like the most obvious things to think about when we’re prioritising. But the one that has come in for me, has been super important, really hugely, massively important. In fact, it’s possibly the most important piece over time and practicality sometimes is joy. And as Emily was talking to us a couple of episodes ago, we’re in the season of fire, this is action, doing and emotion of fire is joy, joy and laughter and having fun, which totally makes sense, because it’s, we’re heading into summer, the weather is beautiful, we can get outside. So her joy, front and centre in terms of these projects, in terms of all the steps around this project, what is joyful and exciting to me. And if there are bits that aren’t joyful, and exciting, then okay, what can I do with those? Can I delegate them? Can I streamline them? Can I outsource them? And I do realise that as independent creators, we don’t always have the funds to do these things. Don’t worry, I’m going to talk a little bit later about some things that can help you streamline your processes. And they don’t have to be expensive. So I’m gonna get to that later. But in terms of these three main things that I use when I’m prioritising, so time, practicality, joy, it can be really hard to find the balance between these things. Because you know what, you may have something that’s really time sensitive, but you feel so tired, and so burnt out, that the only thing you feel like you can do is the joyful option. That’s okay. You know what, you got to be kind to yourself in this process, creativity. It, it takes a lot out of us to do this. And particularly when as independent creators, we are wearing so many hats, we are not just the designer, the writer of the Social Media Manager, the admin, the customer service, the blah, blah, blah, we have to do everything. We have to be our own cheerleader, we have to keep ourselves motivated, we have to put ourselves out there and be visible. And it’s a lot. It’s exhausting. So you know what? It’s okay to just follow your joy. And if there’s something that is really time sensitive, and you just think I really don’t want to do it, but I need to get it done because I have a deadline, etc, etc. How can you reframe it? Can you give yourself a reward afterwards? Or can you split your day in half and do something joyful first, and then do the time sensitive thing. It’s all about using this process of prioritising and goal setting, which I don’t feel creative tend to do too well, we can be quite fluid with our process and just have a hint of a tinge of an idea. But actually getting a little bit serious and mapping things out and giving things a little bit more solidity. I think it can help you manage those periods of time where you do just feel tired. And the only thing you want to do is bomb everything off. Like I didn’t spend a whole month working on a book about dogs. I was able to do that. Because all things are really time sensitive. I sent an email out to someone saying you know what, I’m going to need a bit more time. I’m sorry, I will get back to this. Oh, we’ll get back to you next week. So I bought myself some time there. And this process of prioritising and mapping out your project with a little bit more focus a little bit more shape can help you create some breathing room for yourself because you know what? Life happens? Things happen. Then, curveballs get thrown as things come in and reprioritize themselves all the time. It’s a fluid evolving process, we know this. So allow yourself that, that grace, that that breathing room to breathe, to let that happen to let things chop and change and ebb and flow by just giving yourself a little bit more of a map. And like I said, if you look at those things that are going to take you a long time, so the time sensitive or long time piece, if you’ve already started working on them now, in front loaded it, you’re not going to be in such a rush from the deadline. So you what you could do is
plot everything on a timeline, make your own timeline of your project, depending on how long you want to give yourself to work on it. And then separate all the different tasks, all the different aspects of getting this project into reality. Separate them out and tag them. So what is a joyful part of this process? What is something that’s a practical kind of logical step that I need to make, and what parts are time sensitive or need a certain amount of time to do and then I know it sounds really, really boring, I know, I get it, and you’re just here. For goodness sake, Camilla, this just sounds so dry. Trust me, it doesn’t have to take you long to do. But it really does help you it gives you brain space, you know, headspace to think I’ve got this covered, I don’t have to hold it in my head all the tasks I have to do and when I need to do them by hand, got it written down. So you can just let it go. And you know that you’ve given yourself enough time to do everything, so you won’t be rushing at a later date, you won’t be panicking, because come on, we know what it’s like. We do panic very easily, particularly when it gets near a deadline. So after you’ve prioritised, it’s time to streamline your process. Because like I said earlier, we wear a lot of hats as creators. And we do kind of get used to doing things a long way around. And I don’t know if that’s just a creative thing that we think that we have to do all ourselves. But automation can be your friend. I know for myself that the minute I started to get a bit more organised, and automate some of my processes, and then outsource some things, I was lucky enough to have a virtual assistant that would help me speed up some bits that I know when really slower. It just frees you up mentally, to be able to do more and to do the bits that you actually love. And I know not everyone has that luxury initially. But you don’t have to do every aspect of it manually for the rest of time. Okay, there are plenty of things out there that you can do to speed your processes up. And one of them is templating. So look at your creative processes. Is there anything in there that you could make a template or maybe you make your own set of, I don’t know canned emails, perhaps there’s certain things that you just send out all the time. Maybe you get asked certain questions. So you could create a Frequently Asked Questions page. Or maybe there’s certain designs that you use for workbooks or social media, graphics, etc. These are all things that you could standardise and then you just adjust them as needed. So you would just change a little bit of the text. Or you will change a little bit of an image or something. But you’re not changing the whole thing. And you’re also not starting from scratch every time. Except, you know, it takes up more time, even for the most efficient among us, you can still take time and it certainly takes up headspace to do these things. So once you identified if there’s certain things that you just do really repetitively, and I know for myself when it comes to design, I’ve been doing it for years, you know, 15 years or more at this point. So I know that I go on autopilot when I design I know I’m efficient. The equally there’s certain things that I’m always designing the same thing. So do I really want to be doing that from scratch every time? Of course I don’t so what can I template and I want to share with you a couple of tips when templating are just gonna save you a whole load of hassle later, honestly. If you can take these to the bank, these are gold. So when you’re designing, let’s say you’re doing a calendar,
whatever it is, always start with the longest title. So you leave enough space. So like I said, with this calendar, September is the longest month name. So use that one when you’re creating your template. Because if you use April, you might find that when you get to September, you haven’t left enough space with your font and the size of it. So then you’ve got to go and readjust everything. And then it doesn’t all look uniform and beautiful. Equally, if you were doing say social media graphics, say you were doing testimonials, use your longest testimony or quotes, use the longest one first to make your template, because then everything else will fit in easier and still look good. Whereas if you’ve done like a really short and sweet quote, while it looks beautiful, if you then come and use something that’s three times longer, it’s not gonna look as good, it’s not gonna fit right, you’re gonna have to do some jiggery pokery, and then nothing matches. So start with the longest word longest title, longest piece of text burst. Just gonna make your life so much easier. Another tip for you work out how much of a design or layout is going to remain the same across the board. So if you’re doing workbooks, you’ve got things like your headers, and your Footers, Page numbers, they’re always going to be the same. They’re always going to be in the same place the same size, so standardise and put them in your template first. And for things like workbooks, maybe come up with several pages, where you’ve got text and image, spaces, spaces for all those things, but in different layouts, so you’ve got things to choose from. So make it different and interesting. But the templates, so you’re not creating a new design from scratch every single time, you’ve got maybe three to five different page templates where you’ve got, you know, one’s just solid text, one’s got text and an image one’s got a tiny little bit of text, but it’s got most mostly images, you get what I mean, you’ve got these things a standard, then, and then everything looks really cohesive and beautiful. And you’ve saved yourself a whole bunch of time. Because that’s what we want to do. We want to just speed ourselves up so that we can get these things done. My last really big tip, which I don’t think people think about enough, is, it’s a really good idea to use website, or Google Fonts wherever possible. Because yes, that font that you downloaded five years ago, from some obscure little website that you found, yes, beautiful. But a you don’t know what the licence is for it, because not all licences for fonts are for commercial use. But be if you at some point, we’re handing out this template or this file to a virtual assistant or some other kind of designer or helper. If you haven’t had access to that phone anymore, what are you gonna do, you’re gonna have to change your entire design, because you don’t have access to that font. And you can’t remember what it was called, because it was a really random name. From a strange website that you can’t even remember who doesn’t exist. website for Google Fonts standard across the board, everyone has access to them. This just makes life so much easier. That’s not to say that you can’t use beautiful, different fonts but keep track of where they come from. Keep track of your licence as well to make sure that you can use it for commercial use. Or if it’s a free demo file, how do you upgrade How do you donate to the Creator so that you can get a commercial licence? track everything I know it doesn’t sound like fun for creative people to start tracking stuff, but honestly, it just makes your life so so much easier. It really does. It gets all of this stuff out of your head. You don’t have to hold on to it. You can let it go because you know you’ve got it written down into templates. I love templates. So that’s really important to kind of streamline your designs and template things. You know, things that you make quite often
that is also really important when you’re streamlining and kind of automating your processes to think about what repetitive tasks you just don’t enjoy. Because you know what, there’s probably an app for that. And I’m going to share with you very, very quickly, I’m not going to do a whole spiel, I promise. But four really great apps that I find have been game changing for me. Canva? I mean, yes, I’m a designer. Yes, I have the Adobe Suite. Like, Photoshop is my second language. Honestly, I get it. But Canva makes it so easy to do quick things. On my social media graphics, I do them in Canva. It’s just quick, it’s easy. And you know what, it’s really accessible. They have a free version, there’s absolutely no reason why not to use it. Because it’s drag and drop. Literally, What You See Is What You Get on the screen, you just drag things in place. It’s just brilliant. If you haven’t used Canva, get yourself on there. I will put links in the show notes to all of these things. Don’t worry. We’re the thing that I love that made my life so much easier is Asana. It’s a kind of task management tool. So you know how I was talking about these projects and how you can you know, add due dates. And do you have a timeline, you can do that in Asana, you know, sections for different projects, you can, if you’ve got people in your team working with you, you can assign them to certain tasks. There’s also a timeline feature. So you can see all laid out beautifully, rather than just a list of tasks. Asana has, again, allowed me to empty my head with so much stuff, frees up the process, and I actually use it to capture ideas. So if I have a new idea, and I don’t quite know what I’m going to do with it, I have a little section in Asana, or just throw that in as an idea. Because later if it turns into a whole project or task, it’s already started to be in, I’ve saved myself a few seconds of typing up, because I didn’t put it on a scrap of paper that I potentially lost in the ether is already in my task management tool. So Asana is also great. The next thing I use, and absolutely love is otter.ai is a transcription tool. So any videos that I do any audios like these podcast episodes, I can upload them into otter and it will generate a transcript for me in about 15 minutes. No, it’s not perfect. But it saves me a whole lot of time, because I can go in and tidy it up. What I can also do, if I’ve got an idea for a workbook, and I don’t like the idea of sitting there typing, typing typing for the rest of my life, I can record some audio of my thoughts, stick them in Otter, get a transcript, and then I’ve done half the work because you know what we can say, in five minutes. So much more than we can type we can talk a lot quicker than we can type, even the fastest people, they can still talk quicker. So do yourself a favour. If writing isn’t your thing, if you’re slower at it, or if you’ve just got too much information to get out of your head. Otter ai otter.ai Is your friend transcripts, tidy them up later. Job done. The final tool that I’ve started using, which has been revolutionary, and it’s been designed for creative people, is dubsado. And it’s a client management system. So you literally can go through the whole process of sending out proposals or quotes for work. People sign up, you know, if you’re getting Commission’s and get your new clients, you can keep track of the whole project in there. It will send out automatic emails to your clients with updates. They’ve got a whole portal that keeps all like their invoice in their contract. And you can even upload proofs in there for them to approve everything is held in this one place. dubsado has saved me from having a million emails in my inbox and a load of Word documents with canned email, text and all that kind of stuff because everything’s all in one place. And it just has simplified my process so much. The thing I love about dub Sado is you can sign up and use all of the all of the features for free for your first three clients. And hopefully by the time you’ve got your fourth client, you’re getting some good money in to pay for it.
It’s a bit of a no brainer to just log in, sign up, log in and just give it a try and see what it can do. For you, honestly, those four, four pieces of kit alone Canva, Asana, otter.ai, and dubsado, have revolutionised my creative process. And I could probably tell you about more. But I’m just gonna leave it. Because honestly, they are great. And I suggest that you go give them a look. Because you know what, we don’t have to look ourselves for this. We don’t have to suffer. As creators, we don’t have to do everything manually. You don’t have to do anything alone. It doesn’t have to take forever. Let’s get smart about creativity. Because you know what, once we free our minds up from all of them this tip from the call bump. We’re free. To be more creative. We are free to like the amount of headspace that’s created for me is just incredible. I’d love to see what it can do for everyone else, just free your mind. Get rid of all of that stuff, all of the tech, all of the repetitive tasks that just weigh you down, slow you down and just make you feel good as hell. Let them go. Automate, streamline template, everything. prioritise your tasks. And you’re going to have so much headspace to create something incredible. Honestly, just give it a try. Use this whole episode as a map of what to do. And let me know how you get on. If there’s any tips and tricks for prioritisation, or streamlining on automation that you use, I’d love to hear them because I’m totally all over it. Just love, love to streamline. I love the efficiency that I’m creating in my business. So please do share them with me. And I wish you the best of luck because you know what, it’s totally worth the effort. It can take time to get this stuff set up, you know to set up your dubsado and get the hang of using cameras etc. It can take a bit of time. But honestly, once you’ve got past the learning curve and it’s set up, the time it saves you is more than worth the effort. So, have a play. Go prioritise some stuff, get some things done. And I will see you back here next week in the next episode. Thanks for listening to creative power today. If you enjoyed this episode, please share it with your friends and consider leaving a review. To find out more ways you can connect or work with me please visit WWW dot Camilla fellas arnold.com forward slash creative power