You have time for that … right?

Posted By on Dec 2, 2013 in Creative Business

time management for creatives

The Plan for My Day as a Small Business Owner:

  • 8am: home from dropping off the kids, work out, shower
  • 9am: sit down at the computer to answer e-mails
  • 10am: bring out supplies and begin to make products
  • 12pm: enjoy a refreshing, healthy, homemade lunch
  • 1pm: back to making more products
  • 3pm: product photography and editing
  • 4pm: work on a course I’m taking on small business marketing
  • 5pm: done for the day

My Actual Day as a Small Business Owner:

  • 8am: home from dropping off the kids, think about working out, decide to skip it, shower
  • 9am: sit down at the computer to answer e-mails
  • 10am: spend some time “working on social media,” aka trolling Twitter and Facebook for funny or gossip-y posts
  • 1pm: realize I forgot to eat, grab a granola bar or something and commit to “making products” for the rest of the day
  • 5pm: realize that most of my day was spent gathering supplies or thinking about working rather than actually doing it

Does that scenario look at all familiar to you? Maybe you don’t have my problem with social media; maybe you get lost in other pursuits like reading a book or doctor’s appointments for your kids. Maybe you spend all day making products but forget to take the time for other things, like actually listing those products in your shop or eating lunch. For a small business owner, time can be your best friend and your worst enemy. If you work exclusively on your business, then you have ALL DAY to get things done. Right? Except that when you face the prospect of a whole day ahead of you, it can be daunting to figure out how to plan that day and make the most of it. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the dilemma about managing your time. There are some tips that might work for just about anyone, though. If you feel like you’re spending all your time doing one thing, and you wish you had just a little more time to do something else, the resources are out there to help you have it all (without bending the space-time continuum to create more than 24 hours in any given day). Really! A recent post in the Etsy Seller’s Handbook recommended working with your natural tendencies when you want to make the time for something. Instead of forcing yourself into a routine that feels arbitrary or unappealing, try to create a routine around the things you love most about your business. Focus on making products if that’s what you enjoy most; schedule that at the peak time of productivity in your day. Then fit in all the other bits and pieces around it. Read the rest of the post for more ideas you can put into action if you want more time to make the things you love. If you’re still a little lost, or you feel like a Time Management Failure, there’s a new micro-course that could be helpful. Beverly Army-Williams is a writing professor who finds that her students often have a lot of writing inspiration – but not a lot of time to fit writing into their daily routines. She has worked with them to develop time-management skills, and now she’s bringing that expertise to the world. With You Have Time, she reminds you that you actually have 168 hours a week to work with; so, as it turns out, you probably have more time than you think. Her course will help you see how you use your time now and make changes that could help you use it more wisely next week and beyond. Here are a few more tips for managing your time, and finding the time to do what you love:

  • Use the thing you love as a reward for the thing you don’t. When I have a lot of boring or unpleasant work to do, I schedule time to knit in the afternoon. Then, if I finish all of my work on time (or – bonus! – early), I get the reward of sitting down to knit without feeling guilty because I know my boring work is finished and out of the way.
  • Use a To Do list that works for YOU. If you’re constantly online, a program like Evernote might be useful to keep track of your lists. You can incorporate check-boxes to have the satisfaction of checking things off the list when you complete them. If you’re NOT always online, then it might work better for you to write down your To Dos in a regular agenda book or a pretty notepad. Keep it handy in your regular working area so it will be impossible for you to miss it.
  • Some people even like to force themselves to avoid temptation. With the help of Leechblock, you can actually block yourself from tempting, time-sucking web sites during specific times of the day. There are even ways to stop yourself from turning it off!

When it comes right down to it, you get only so many hours in a day, and only so many days in a lifetime. What’s the most important thing for YOU – how do YOU want to spend the time you’ve been given? If you have any tips for the rest of us, leave a comment below and share it!

Header photo credit: Βethan via photopin cc

photo credit: gadl via photopin cc

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