Time Management Strategies for Creative Entrepreneurs
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Its 4 pm And You Are Still in Your Pajamas
As a creative entrepreneur...it is easy to get caught up in a project and forget to "set an intent" for the day....
I work from home and outsource to my team...I often get distracted by many interesting and intriguing things and it can take me off task and totally off track. Knowing this about myself....which, I actually like it a bit because I don't want to miss out on anything lovely...I have developed a strategy to keep me on task without feeling like I am a machine.
Balance in the work day is essential for optimum performance. Implementing mind, body, and soul exercises before the day start and mindfulness throughout the day. Here are effective ways I get the day started and keep the momentum:
I wanted to dial this practice down a little more in the "scheduling" area.
I Make A List At the End Of The Day
These are things I know I need to attend to. I will have many projects ongoing and want to be sure I am covering my bases. I also have people I delegate to and want to make sure I am organized in doing that. I have my personal life of course and just business to attend to.
I take a minute at the end of the day to have a list of things that need my attention. I don't live by the list but it helps me to stay on track.
Daily - I Dress For Work...It Sets The Intent
After I have done my daily Mind, Body and Soul exercises, I get myself ready for the day. I dress AS IF if am meeting a client...Even if I am not. Why?? It seems like a lot of effort for nothing...right? Here is why:
A) Respect for my career and business...It starts with me. I take it seriously and respect the skills, and talents I possess and bring to others as my business. I respect my time and knowledge. Like concentric circles, it has a positive effect. I dress AS IF even though I may have my soft Ugg boots on : )
B) I may get a last minute call where I am needed to be seen in person. I can go out to the site right away, a showroom, a client, etc. I am ready for business both in the office and out.
Why did I start doing this?? Because I love what I do and the projects, office and computer would become a rabbit hole...add social media to that and snapping photos of things and it's easy to get completely off track.
If I stopped into the office after I work out...I would be dressed that way for most all of the day. Not good on a few levels. One - respecting the career, two - I am behind on the day, and truly I am not at my best...kind of behind the 8 ball and catching up.
Dress for the day. My work day starts typically around 9:30-10am unless I have an early morning site visit and then I will do the gym, kayak, walk or hike later in the day...I plan it out though so I do get that time. It is essential for my well-being. There is more to it than just staying in shape.
I Tackle Posts and Emails Right Away
Posts are usually somewhat predetermined but again, I am creative and there may be something I am inspired to share in a post. That takes a bit of time but I am mindful of it and keep close to the timeline I have set.
Emails, I weed through and respond, review and take action when necessary.
Projects - I have several ongoing
Typically I will have several projects - large to small. And I organize and delegate where I can. Each project receives a certain amount of time and then I move on. That is the key. Put it away and move to the next project.
Sometimes I will have a deadline and will schedule accordingly. One project may take up to 3 hours of my time. But I watch the time and adhere to it as best I can. I don't let the clock dictate my life. I draw proper boundaries for myself and work in an efficient manner because I know I am allotting a certain amount of time.
If the time is limitless.....again, you fall behind on your day and it slips away without accomplishing what really needs to be accomplished. And we check our phones, social media, read articles, etc, etc.
Breaks and End of Day.
I take breaks of course and have lunch. I get out and get fresh air sometimes I don't take a lot of leisurely time but enough to refresh myself....and eat. Many creatives forget to or put off eating. Then, low blood sugar sets in and what good are you to anyone then??
I end my day between 5-6pm. I have fit in correspondence, meetings, site visits, showrooms, office work and whatever I have scheduled for the day. I devote time to learning, marketing, blogging, etc. I set up the next day's priorities and then I am done for the day. Delegation and outsourcing are big in keeping to this schedule.
Remember: Respect Starts With You
This is huge. I didn't start out this way and I wish I knew these I was always running and super busy. I made errors...plenty of them.
Being and entrepreneur can be exciting and exhausting. It is important to know when to quit for the day. YOU have to respect that you need to balance out the day. Decide how much time you will devote to tasks for maximum results.
Being Creative - its in your head. You can keep designing while you are cooking dinner, spending time with family, even sleeping....It is VITAL you learn how to turn that off. YOU have to respect that you need to balance out the day and give your mind a rest.
Decide how much time you will devote to your work, each project, business and follow it. With practice, you will learn that this discipline will make you far more effective and successful.
Healthy Habits and Boundaries Set You Up for Success
Elizabeth Ribons, ASID, CID
Entrepreneur and designer for most all her life, Elizabeth endeavors to shed light on valuable business practices, inspiration, expert tips from pros and resources via blogs, videos and online course directed towards design.
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