How to Take the Stress Out of Getting Things Done

Getting things done as a a business owner always seems like an uphill battle. It’s easy enough to get organized, but staying organized and finding a productive routine that actually works, is a whole other story. Over the past 3 years of being a full-time freelancer, I've created a system that's nearly perfect. Here's how to take the stress out of getting things done!

Getting things done as a freelancer always seems like an uphill battle. It’s easy enough to get organized, but staying organized and finding a productive routine that actually works, is a whole other story.

That’s why the past few posts I’ve published have given you an in-depth look at how I organize my client workflow and the different ways I automate my freelance business on a budget.

I want you to be able to tackle the overwhelm and win!

So today I’m showing you a step-by-step guide for getting things done every week so you can earn more money in less time.

Schedule your day by the type of task

Instead of focusing on the hundreds of different tasks you have to do each day, try grouping them into the type of task they are and tackling them that way. It’s almost like completing work in batches but instead you’re “batching” your entire day’s schedule.

Think of it as energy management, not time management. When are your most productive times of day? Group all of your brain-drain tasks into that time frame. Anything that takes a large amount of energy needs to be allocated to you’re most awake and feeling energized to complete them.

Then group all of your lower-level energy tasks at the beginning or end of the day when you have less brainpower to deal with them. Then you’ll be able to complete tasks based on your energy and actually learn to get ahead with your work!

Organize tasks by color

Once you’ve grouped all your similar tasks and appointments, assign a color to them. Here’s how I break down the color-coding:

  • Orange = anything related to money, paying the bills, sending client invoices, following up on payments, etc
  • Pink = social media updates, scheduling, interacting with the community, creating images, updating Pinterest/Instagram
  • Blue = coaching calls, meetups, hangouts, interviews, podcasts and mastermind calls
  • Green = content (or money making!) tasks like freelance writing assignments, blog content, editorial calendar management, course and workshop creation, and the like
  • Purple = personal stuff, projects, art classes and other personal appointments

Organizing tasks by color helps me avoid the age-old freelancing problem of feast and famine. How?

I can view all of my appointments, assignments and deadlines at a glance based on the type of tasks they are (for example, all my freelance writing assignments are in green). Then when I look over my calendar for the next week or month, I can see if I have too much green or not enough.

Here’s an example of my Google Calendar at a week’s glance.

google calendar sneak peek

For me, a lot of green on my calendar means a good amount of money that I can earn but a lot of energy that needs to be expended to complete that work. Saying “no” to less work, or “yes” to more work in the future will help level out this roller coaster ride that is self-employment.

Here’s an example of my calendar of assignments in Asana.

Asana calendar colored

Perform regular audits of your business workflow

This is system that has taken me years of being a full-time freelancer to perfect, and I still feel like I’m making small tweaks here and there. Be open to experimenting, testing out different times of the day that you wake up and when you start working on different projects.

Are you a morning person or night owl? Do you need to adjust your schedule based on the weather and seasons (I know I do!). Perform regular audits of your business workflow and test out other ideas, work different times of the day and record your findings.

What works for me may not work for you, but I’ve been testing out morning routines and daily schedules for over 3 years. It will take some time to find out the best schedule but just stay patience and keep at it!

Honor your schedule (but be flexible)

One of the tough things about creating a new schedule is following through. You have to stay disciplined to get up on time, stay focused during your work and take regular breaks.

If there’s just one piece of advice you take away from reading this, it’s that you must honor the schedule you create but know that you must also be flexible (not distracted, lazy or undisciplined, just flexible).

This is something I struggled with after being self-employed for almost 3 years. I found that my systems and processes were doing so well that I had all this extra time. But instead of capitalizing on this extra time, I was simply wasting it.

Learn to honor the schedule and it will pay you back in spades!

Keep what works & ax what doesn’t

Not every productivity tip, or morning routine you try will work. So be prepared to fail a little, to try things that don’t work and give up on ideas you wish would pan out.

It’s okay to keep what works and ax what doesn’t. In fact, it’s the only way you’ll find a routine that actually works! Getting things done the right way is all about finding your optimum schedule and working within your best productivity times.

Take the stress out of getting things done

These are just a few of the ways I take the stress out of getting things done and I hope they help give you some ideas. Be open to testing out these ideas and trying them for yourself. Keep the ones that work and quickly ax the stuff that’s clogging up your creativity.

To help you dive deeper into your productivity routine and find business systems that actually work, I’m hosting an online course called Be Ultra Productive. It’s available for $149, where you can get lifetime access to this course, training modules and worksheets.

You’ll see exactly why color-coding my day has changed my life and my business in a way I never imagined. I also share an inside look at my entire day (in pictures!) and the one thing you can do to start automating your business this week.

The Be Ultra Productive course is YOUR guide to creating business systems that help automate your tasks, save you money and give you back hours of time.

If you’re ready to earn more money in less time, this training is for you!

Plus, you’ll learn how to limit at-home distractions, stop jumping from task to task, battle the inbox overwhelm (and win!)so you can be more productive every. single. day.


How do you reduce the stress of getting things done every day? Share your best productivity tip!

Then and Now: Celebrating 5 Years of Blogging
How I Organize Client Assignments and Deadlines With Asana


  1. Aliyyah says:

    I had never considered scheduling my day by types of tasks, but it makes total sense! Social media is a big one that can be drain to do every day. Setting aside time once or twice a week to focus on it would definitely help me.

    • Carrie says:

      Yes, I agree about social media. Sometimes I can zip through it and other times it’s time-consuming. Batching it together a few times a week has really helped me and hopefully will for you too!

  2. Kimmoy says:

    I use batching all the time, but I haven’t done the color-coding like this. Definitely gonna try it out. Thanks!

  3. Amber Jones says:

    I love Asana! We use it in our Marketing Department at work, and we have 3 major projects going on right now. Makes it so easy to track projects and measure progress. We’ll be experimenting with the calendar feature in the next few months as we start developing content for our website…going to use the calendar as an Editorial Calendar. 🙂

  4. I love the color coding idea! I’m going to give that one a try! I also use Trello to keep things organized. I’m still working full time while starting up my freelance business so keeping my To-Do’s on task is incredibly important. Thanks for the tips, Carrie!

  5. Jeffrey Hill says:

    Batching is generally how I get things done as well, but I never would have thought of color coding the types of tasks. I like that idea. Might have to try it out!

    I’ve also done things haphazardly and randomly – the results are rarely very pretty. Haha.

  6. Scott says:

    Thanks for the tips Carrie. Sarah and I do this for our weekend TO DO list with categories of cooking, cleaning, shopping, business and “other” which covers working out and any little personal tasks we need to tackle. I love the idea of colour-coding, much easier to get a picture of your day/week.

  7. Jen says:

    This is a great idea! I color-code my Outlook calendar for my part-time job, but I never transferred that idea to my own personal Google calendar. I might just have to do this.

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