ICBA Blog

Finding Routine as a Direct Seller

Working how you want when you want is a big plus of being an independent contractor, but if you crave structure, we’ve got tips

If you’re in direct sales or marketing, you likely have a to-do list that feels like it keeps expanding. That’s because it does. As your business grows, your tasks have a way of mushrooming—and they all take precedence. Event planning, lead generation, follow-up, product promotion, and administrative duties are all equally important parts of a successful personal business. So how do you get it all done as an independent contractor without feeling like a pinball? Here are some tried-and-true strategies.

Set up a weekly plan.

Take the days of the week that you typically work and designate each one for a specific role. Maybe Monday is for administrative tasks and getting organized for the rest of the week. That doesn’t mean you can’t post on social media that day; it just means you’ll be focusing the bulk of your Monday energy on making your business run smoothly. Then if Tuesday is your primary social media planning day, use a program like Hootsuite to load up your content for the week and put posting on autopilot. Need ideas for your days? Check out Lynn Bardowski’s Million Dollar Party Girl Plan.

Set up a daily plan.

Making a daily plan is just as important as squaring away your whole week. If you have the best focus and uninterrupted time in the mornings, set aside your a.m. hours for hammering out tougher tasks. If you feel squirrely by the afternoon, use that time for running work errands, photographing products for social media, or making any necessary calls.

Plan your monthly and quarterly schedules.

As each new month approaches, take a day to plan the bones of your calendar. Planning out several months (or even a quarter) can help you visualize how much lead time you have before important events. Set goals for each month with deadlines to meet them and mini milestones along the way. A skeleton calendar can be fleshed out as you go. And the more you build it, the more momentum you’ll generate to achieve your business objectives. If you need some fun and fancy planning materials, check out the tool kit from Direct Selling CEO.

Stop multitasking and skip distractions.

You’ve likely heard it before: Multitasking is a myth. No matter how much we try, our brains really aren’t good at it, according to an article in Psychology Today. We often waste more time when we switch between tasks than if we stick to one thing at a time. Why? Because our concentration gets wrecked when switching. And refocusing takes time. So if you’re working on a blog post, avoid the urge to answer every email or social media notification you receive. Finish your post, and then tackle responses during the time you’ve set aside each day to do so. Of course, giving up multitasking is easier said than done. Sometimes distractions get the best of us. If you’re fielding comments on social media, you can easily get sidetracked by your news feed, for example. Resist the urge whenever you can. Although scrolling through Instagram might feel like a mini break, it’s truly a time suck. Plus, you might find yourself drained of energy after going down unnecessary rabbit holes and then trying to return to your tasks at hand.

Find time-saving methods.

Find ways to automate or shortcut to-do items. For example, if you use the same text response for new leads or customers, have copy handy that you can easily paste. Streamline the process by using apps that will automatically reload frequently sent content. Message Templates is a good example. Watch out for tasks that are taking up more time than you allotted. Temporarily set aside whatever it is so you can stay on track. Then build more time in your schedule later to finish the laborious item. Once you develop a routine, sticking to it really becomes about time management.

Give yourself a break.

Remember, sticking to a routine 100 percent of the time will be impossible. Perfection is a myth too! So cut yourself some slack when you need it.