You’re home, your kids are home, maybe your partner is home...there’s a lot going on, but you still need to run your business. Or maybe you’re used to working on your business and keeping some form of routine and presence in your business is important to you.
Whatever your motivation, these ideas will help you keep your business moving forward in under ten minutes.
Brain Dump - Out of Your Brain & Onto Paper
The first place to start is with a timer and a blank piece of paper. Spend ten minutes writing out everything you want to work on, everything you think you should work on, and everything you feel like you should be working on. At some point you may feel as if you’ve listed the most important things and are done, but keep going.
Why it maters: Getting it all out of your brain and on paper means you can look at everything objectively.
Then set it aside and come back to it later. The pause of an hour or two will let you look at your list more objectively than if you jump to the next step without a break.
When you come back to your list, highlight or circle the tasks that can be done in under ten minutes. Then pick the one you want to do the least and get it done.
Why it matters: This method ensures the worst task you have to do is done and it took less than ten minutes!
Maybe your task list doesn’t have any ten minute items. Maybe everything you need to do is more involved - that’s ok. The next step is breaking down those larger tasks into smaller chunks that can be worked on in ten minutes.
For example, if getting your inbox under control is on your list, you can’t do it in under ten minutes. But do you know what you can do in under ten minutes?
And then move on to something else. Your inbox isn’t going anywhere and it will be there when you circle back to work on it for another ten minutes.
Why it matters: You don't want to miss an important client communication or opportunity because your inbox is a mess.
Keeping Up with Social Media
Write the captions for two social media posts.
Or find the images for two posts.
Does that still feel like too much? Jot down some ideas of what you’d like to share or themes you’d like to address. If you’re sharing your computer with your newly homeschooling child, jot your notes and ideas on a piece of paper or put them in the notes section of your phone. Progress & flexibility over perfection.
Stumped about what to post in general?
Start with this question “How can I serve my people today?”
Why it matters: It can be tempting to pull away from sharing on social media about your business during times like these, and I have advised against promoting business during national disasters or tragedies in the past. But because this will be an ongoing situation that impacts us long-term it doesn’t make sense to stop responsibly promoting your business. It is one thing to hold off posting for three or four days and something else entirely to not do it for three or four weeks (or months). Be a good person, do it with integrity, and come from a position of serving your people in the best way you can.
Break up your day
Go for a walk. Have a dance break. Do some yoga. Involve your kids (or just do it for you). One of the strangest things about this pandemic that we are all experiencing (together, but separately) is that days run into each other and we’re all suddenly living in the movie Groundhog Day. Get some movement.
Why it matters: It's good for you, you’ll feel better, and it will add variety to your day.
Update Your website
No, this isn’t something you can do in ten minutes! But you can work on small pieces of it in ten minutes at a time.
Here is your action plan:
This task can quickly turn into a big project and may even leave you feeling as if it is time to scrap the entire thing and start over. Save that for a future project when you have more time. For now, keep your focus on the quick changes.
Why it matters: Business owners often put up websites, but often forget to keep the site updated and reflective of the current work they do.
Look at your routine
Whether you are several weeks into staying home or you’re still going out every day for work, you have a routine. The question is whether or not it is a routine that still works for you.
Take ten minutes and think about if your routine is still serving you. If not, what is one thing you can change, add, or subtract to make your life easier and more satisfying?
A few weeks ago, I realized I was spending a silly (to me) amount of time on a game app. I decided I wasn’t using it as much for fun as I was for distraction to the point that the app itself became a distraction in my day. So I deleted the app.
Why it matters: Maybe you have something else in your day that isn’t working anymore. Change it up and see what it improves.
Connect with your people
Do you have an email list? When was the last time you sent them an email?
If it has been awhile, now may be a good time to share an update on what you’ve been working on and send them something useful and helpful (whatever that looks like for your business).
If you don’t have an email list, now is a good time to choose an email provider and get it set up.
If you’re not sure which email provider to use - ask your business friends what they use. Many have a free level that should work for most people. If you’ve been less than thrilled with your email service provider, now may be the time to investigate other options.
Of course, none of these tasks can be done in ten minutes, but it is something you can start and come back to when you have another ten minutes to work on this project.
Why it matters: If you're building your business on social media and have no way to contact those who are interested in what you do you in other ways, you're are not only missing an opportunity, you're risking your entire business. Social media accounts get deleted and algorithms change.
To blog or not to blog?
One of the reasons I’m writing this blog is because I want to use some of this time to create more blogs (as well as podcasts and other content). Again, you won’t be creating an entire blog post in ten minutes or less, but you can bring the framework and layout for the ideas you want to share.
If you’re feeling stuck, start a list of things you’d like to talk about with your audience. List three ways what you or sell can help them right now. Or in the future. Or in their everyday life. Or in their business.
Still stuck? Try listing three reasons why someone should work with you or buy from you.
Now take ONE of those reasons or ways and expand on it. Add four to eight sentences and you have the beginnings of a blog post.
Come back and work on this the next time you have ten minutes. Keep expanding your ideas and you’ll end up with a blog post.
Why it matters: If blogging is a part of your marketing strategy, you need to put effort into creating blog posts (or hire it out).
Will you always have a whole ten minutes to work? No. Sometimes you’ll have more and sometimes you’ll have less.
The key to working in short bursts is managing your own expectations of what can be accomplished in the time you have as well as keeping a running list of things you want to be able to work on when you have those minutes.
Musings about marketing, social media, and small business.