Time Management Tips For Creatives
Managing your time when you're trying to spin the multiple plates required to run your own creative business is no mean feat. Not only do you need to make and design your products but you also need to market and sell them. And then perhaps you're looking to re-brand your business, launch a new website or start teaching your craft as well.
Time-management-is-key. So here are my top time management tips for creative business owners
Find your focus
First up, make sure that you’re focusing on giving your time to projects and tasks that are having the biggest impact. If you need a hand with this check out my Find You Focus workbook.
Create a routine
I’ve put this point towards the top of this post because I really believe that having a routine is soooo important, especially for creatives. Work out when you’re most productive and create a routine around those times. When your weekly or daily routine becomes second nature you’ll waste a lot less time trying to decide which tasks to work on.
Work in 40 minute chunks
Set out a list of things you need to work on and set a timer for 40 minutes, each time the times goes switch tasks. This really works for me when I’m feeling sluggish or when I find myself faffing and procrastinating and it starts to get your brain into the idea of just working in short blocks of time.
Depending on your tasks you could even do it for a shorter time period. Say you wanted to package some orders and cut out some new pattern pieces. You could spend 20 minutes on each task alternating between them until they’re done.
The 2 minute method
I mentioned this in my post about how to get stuff done that's been on your list for too long. If there's stuff on your to-do list that will take less than two minutes - you're probably spending more time putting it on your list everyday for a week than just doing it. Star all of the 2-minute jobs on your list, stop reading this post and do them now! Feels good to get those crossed off, right?
Get up and move about
I find the days when I’ve done some exercise in the mornings waaaay more productive. I’m sure there’s a scientific reason for this but after walking the dogs in the morning and having some breakfast I’m in a much more productive frame of mind and my productivity lasts for longer.
When you love what you do it’s tempting to jump straight out of bed and start working, but by doing this I found that, although I was productive for a couple of hours I soon started to lag. Have a play around with your routine and see what works for you, try having a week where you exercise in the mornings before you start work and see if you’re more productive.
Batch your tasks
This is an easy starting point, batch tasks together to save you time in the long run. List all of the tasks in your business that you could batch. Making up products is an obvious one. If you need to make 10 linen aprons you could cut out all the pieces at once, Sew the hems all at the same time, sew on all of the buttons at the same time etc so you're only having to move or change around your equipment once for all 10 pieces.
Here’s a starter for ten on some other bits you could batch; taking product photos, framing, packaging products, responding to emails, writing new product descriptions, writing thank you notes.
Get an understanding of how long things really take
We’re all prone to underestimating how long a task will take. Ever started a ’10 minute task’ to find it took 2 hours? Once you’ve batched some tasks together set a timer and keep a note of how long tasks are taking you. This will not only help you learn how long things really take but also be useful for sense checking your pricing.
Stop ‘multi tasking’
I put quote marks around ‘multi tasking’ because we all know it’s not really productive to try and do multiple tasks at once. Focus on one task at a time. My favourite trick to help with this is to clear your desk or work space, put your phone in another room and write that one task on a piece of paper that you need to get done. Every time you look up or reach for your phone to distract you, you’ll see that one task. I love this method for keeping me focused and making sure I finish one task before moving onto the next.
[OVER TO YOU]
- What actions can you take from the suggestions in this post to manage your time better?
- Set yourself a weekly or daily routine and if you're still working while growing your creative business, take a look at my post How to manage your time when you have a business and a job
- Start reaping the rewards of managing your time better, give yourself an afternoon to learn something new or just chill on the sofa, you've earned it!