If you have been following the Dreamhouse brand for some time, you have probably noticed a certain word we frequently use: workflow.
It’s our favorite.
As a team, we are constantly inspired by one another to keep on keepin’ on with our tasks and big picture goals. While functioning within a team, it becomes quite obvious that everyone has their own workflow style. Some work non stop until their eye’s fall out of their heads, others like to take breaks throughout their day, but for most, it’s a challenge to even find their most productive workflow. Believe us, we’ve been there. When working as an entrepreneur or freelancer, one of the biggest challenges to face is finding your workflow sweet spot. There are so many different styles and methods... there is no right or wrong answer. The key is to build a routine and instill self discipline throughout your day to day work schedule, so you are effective and productive. Workflow's are not one size fits all! A certain style of workflow may work best for one person but not for another person, so we want to help you find what works best for you. Like I said, there is not right or wrong answer here. This is a personal quest to find your best work mode.
So...where do you start?
We put together a list of tips that can help you formulate your workflow
Reflect on what motivates you
On some days, finding motivation can be difficult. There are mornings when you wake up and want to remain under the covers with a cup of coffee. Realizing what makes you feel motivated will enable you to develop a workflow that keeps you hustling. Maybe you need some personal time in the morning or a pump up playlist to prepare you to tackle the day. Whatever your motivation may be, find it. Once you do, your workflow will follow.
Discover the perfect space
Whether you work from home or in an office, the space where you do your job affects how productive you are. Working from your home offers you the opportunity to work in different areas! Try out a few local spots such as a local coffee shop, park or even your living room, and see how well you work there. If you work in an office space, try out adding a few pictures or reorganizing your desk to freshen it up. Adding a few desk accessories is an easy and inexpensive to make your desk feel brand new. It’s important to work in a space that will make you feel comfortable but also allow you to zone into your to-do list!
Utilize productivity tools alongside your work
Using an agenda, to-do list app, or even a notebook is a great way to organize your thoughts. When you have a million things to do and so many great ideas, your mind will quickly become scattered and overwhelmed. Take advantage of useful time management programs or even an old school pen and paper to keep your mind systematic and happy. We compiled a list of our favorites here!
Beware of distractions
Let’s be real, there are many enticing temptations while working from home or in an office, but it is important to keep yourself accountable. Scrolling through Pinterest or chatting with co-workers are easy ways to sidetrack your mind and fall out of your workflow. In order to develop a strong workflow, you need to set boundaries for yourself while working. That may mean you can’t listen to music, watch television or answer a phone call from a friend until your work day is done. Of course, different types of work lend themselves to different workflows, for some tasks it may enhance your flow to have background noise from the TV or music playing, and for others it may have the opposite affect. Being able to identify those patterns and avoid distractions will help you to optimize your workflow.
Remember to take a break
Eat a snack, take a walk around the office, grab some coffee down the street, watch a quick episode of New Girl, do whatever you need to do to shut off your brain for 15 or 30 minutes. Giving yourself periodic breaks throughout the day will refresh your body and restart your mind. Then hit the play button and get back to hustlin’!
To help you apply these tips to your own workflow, we wanted to offer some insight into the daily lives of the Dream Team:
I am honestly not sure if Mallory ever sleeps. She is either working through all hours of the night or working all day and hanging out with friends at night. If there is one word to describe Mallory’s workflow, it is passionate.
“I have different peak times for different types of projects. I love to do administration and strategy in the morning. Starting out with the big picture makes me really excited to accomplish everything!
I like to do tedious projects in the afternoon. Whether copywriting, blogging, research, or brand development projects, afternoon is a good time for me to crank the tunes and get into it.
For design projects I love to start those right after dinner with a cup of tea and just work into the night, letting my creativity take over!”
Mallory’s workflow is driven by her love for her business and her clients. Her loyalty and spirit seeps into her daily workflow and pushes her to stay motivated and produce incredible content.
To give you a taste of Katherine’s workflow, let me remind you that she lives in Seattle with a 3 hour time difference from the Dreamhouse HQ in Cleveland, OH. Not only does she create content calendars, social media schedules and graphics with incredible detail, Katherine manages to accomplish all of these tasks with an Eastern Standard Time zone work schedule. It’s easy to define her workflow with just a single word, diligent.
“I usually wake up around 7 am and make a latte or go to the coffee shop down the street. I like to relax in the morning before I jump into my work day, so I usually check in with Mallory to see what her plan is and arrange a time to chat. I either watch or read something or scan social media for a while before I hop on the computer. I usually check my email and then check in with DH and all of our client's social media pages just to see how things are going, if there is any news, etc. After that, I go through and make sure I have a clear plan for postings one each one for the day. I may spend some time on content curation or scheduling for whoever needs a little love. Then I move on to the meaty tasks for the day, usually design, client onboarding, ad development or other Dreamhouse tasks. There is usually at least an hour of planning/strategy meetings with Mallory in each day.”
It’s important for Katherine’s workflow to be defined with a clear-cut plan. Giving herself early mornings for personal time is key to starting her day with a strong sense of motivation to kick off the rest of her daily tasks.
For myself, I am a project and routine based person. I function most productively when I know what my daily projects are and maintain my daily routines. I like to call my workflow a “game plan.” In order to gear up for the day, I need to know my project and goals ahead of time so I can hit the ground running when I start my day! In the mornings, I can’t start my workflow until I get dressed, throw on some makeup, and make my bed. It’s one of my quirks! Once those tasks are finished, I brew myself a cup of tea and get to work! I like to work throughout the morning and pause for a lunch break. I struggle with staying focused throughout the day so allowing my mind to rest keeps me focused and productive! I will get back to work afterwards and work until my priority tasks are complete or when I feel like I am at a good stopping point.
Among our different workflow styles, there are two crucial similarities: personal time and structure. It is extremely important to allow yourself to have some personal time during your daily workflow. This will keep you happy, sane, and motivated! The moment you are feeling bogged down or overwhelmed by your to-do list is the moment you give yourself a chunk of time to take a break.
Structure is also important because it embeds self discipline and time management into your workflow. The type of structure may vary based on your personal workflow style, but the general idea remains the same. Finding that structure will enable you to stay organized and on task, according to what suits you the best!
So now after reading our list of tips and personal workflow styles, we hope that you are ready to kick off your productive workflow! Just remember: establishing your workflow will be a time of trial and error. It could take you a year to get a good grasp on it, or just a month. Regardless, creating a routine and self discipline for yourself will lead to a more effective and productive workflow and work life.
Share your workflow styles with us in the comments below!