Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Resolved - Taking Care of Business

You might know that I run a little online vintage shop called Animal Head Vintage in my spare time. I really enjoy it, but lately, the problem has been the "in my spare time" part of that sentence, since I don't find myself just sitting around with nothing to do very often.

February's resolution has been to spend a little more time on the shop, figuring out what is working, what needs to change and what I honestly have time/space for in my life. I think some of the goals I made this month while "taking care of business" can be applied to any personal project that you're working on, so I'm listing a few here.

1) Focus

I'm a list-maker by nature, but am not always great at prioritizing my list. I check off the easy ones first because they don't take as much brain power to complete and steer clear of the big stuff that I know needs to get done but that I dread. Or, I allow myself to get distracted by other things (like checking my RSS feeder 17 times a day). And then, at the end of my days, I feel like I've never stopped working but somehow don't have as much to show for it as I'd like.

GOAL THIS MONTH: Choose two essential things every day to finish, and don't do anything else until they are complete.

That means not checking emails first thing in the morning, or keeping Facebook open in the background and keeping one eye on your friend's feeds. This means not just "taking a quick 5 minute break to look at Pinterest" that will probably turn into at least 20. I know. It can be extreme, but its a good exercise in focusing on just doing one thing at a time. I didn't realize how quickly I could become derailed, and how long it takes to mentally get back on track.

Its amazing how much less scattered it can help you feel when you eliminate as many distractions as possible and just focus on being really productive for at least two important tasks a day.

2) Do What You Love

At Alt this year, Sarah of Sarah Jane Studios said "Do what you love. Delegate the rest." I've never had a problem spending time on the shopping portion of keeping up AHV ... but the photographing, listing, shipping, etc can get a little tedious...and honestly I don't have time to do it all by myself. I want to spend more time doing what I actually like to do and am good at, and less time with the tasks that are necessary but time consuming.

GOAL THIS MONTH: Figure out how to delegate at least one time-consuming task (and not just delegate it to a husband who is too nice to say no)

I've started experimenting with outsourcing my photo editing, and I'm already hooked on this idea.

3) Try New Things (and then don't be afraid to get rid of what doesn't work)

It goes without saying that if you keep doing what you've been doing, you can't be surprised when nothing changes. It makes sense to try something new, find out what's actually working, then focus your energy there and cut out the rest.

This meant spending some time doing boring things like tracking visits and page views and sales (which is funny, since any "business" ought to be doing those things all the time anyway, but my hobby didn't ever get the same scrutiny). In truth, this idea ought to apply to everything we spend our time on - we should always be evaluating whether the things we are spending our time on deserve the time we are giving them.

GOAL THIS MONTH: Try 3 new things. Evaluate. Adjust as needed.

I figure that there are a lot of things that I could be doing to take my shop more seriously, but this month I'm looking at:

1) Listing Frequency
I'm experimenting with how often to post new items, and when to list (as well as evaluating search terms, etc)

2) Advertising
I'm giving Etsy advertising a try to see what kind of new eyeballs it might bring, and researching other types of advertising as well.

3) AHV Blog
I keep a AHV blog dealing with shop updates and vintage finds here, so I've been experimenting with more frequent posting, and hopefully producing more content out for the world to find on Pinterest and other internet searchings.

It feels good to spend a little time figuring out how to use my time better.

Now let us all go forth and be more productive.

Instead of taking on a whole list of resolutions at once, I'm focusing on one life improvement a month in 2012.

See January's resolution - DO MY HAIR


marshall p said...

how is this working?

bex said...

I forgot step #4 - never sleep, and you'll actually have time to do all the stuff you need to do. Yeah.