Time Management as an Entrepreneur

After polling all of you guys in my survey last week, I found that many of you want insight into being self-employed and how I handle certain aspects! It’s definitely something that I’ve been wanting to do and so I’m glad you all want to see it as well! The first post will be all about time management. Exciting stuff, right?

I’ve learned a lot over the past year while being self-employed. Sometimes I’m really, really awesome with how I handle my time. Sometimes I totally fail. Over the past month or so, I’ve pinpointed some things that I need to do in order to be productive. Here they are:

1. Be intentional on social media

Social media in general (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook) can be a time suck. I used to find myself reading everything in my feed on Twitter, looking at the same pictures on Facebook and checking Instagram way too much. I decided to do a few things.

  • I took the Twitter app off my computers. Now I can’t check Twitter very easily and I’m not getting any notifications while I work.
  • When I DO check Twitter, it’s usually at a few set times a day and then I respond to everything at once.
  • I use Buffer to schedule tweets throughout the day. Usually 3-4 for self-promotion. A few to share fun links.
  • I deactivated notifications on my iPhone so I’m not getting alerted every time someone interacts with me.

2. Track your hours as an experiment

I decided to track my hours for 3 weeks straight. It was very insightful. I found out the following:

  • I wasn’t working as much as it felt like I was working.
  • I was spending way too much time driving to and attending meetings.
  • I wasn’t spending as much time on blogging as I used to.
  • Photography takes up a lot of time but is needed in order to build a portfolio and gain experience.
  • I am a fast working designer.

I decided, after learning all of that, that I am going to limit my “meeting days” to two days per week (or suggest phone calls or Skype), I definitely can take on more projects than we currently juggle and I can put more time into blogging without feeling guilty. I do know, however, that I could never track my hours all day, every day. It definitely keeps you on task but it became a distraction after awhile since I can work so quickly.

3. Schedule time to work ON your business

Now that I work with Adam full-time, this is even more crucial. It’s easy to forget to work on your business when you’re responsible for your income day in and day out. This month, we’re going to be better about scheduling time throughout the week to review current projects, leads and get better at being business owners. We must treat this time with as much importance as a client meeting.

4. Know the difference between production + creative work

After talking to David recently, I had a breakthrough. He brought up the idea of getting 2-3 hours of solid “production” type work out in the morning. You see, I feel the most creative later into the day. That’s why I’ve been essentially nocturnal lately and starting fun projects at 10pm. This month I’m going to try to re-sync my sleep schedule in order to take on this new routine. It will look a little something like this:

  • 9am-12pm: Work on “production” type work. This includes client revisions, site maps, wireframes, emails, proposals, invoices and EMAILS. Things that have a distinct goal and where I know when it’s considered complete.
  • 12pm-1pm: Lunch or grab a coffee down the street and chat with Adam about project statuses
  • 1pm-5pm:¬†Creative work! For me, this includes designing blogs/sites/print for clients. The kind of work where I’ll be pitching or showing them something fun and innovative.
  • 5pm-6pm: Any final revisions from clients can be sent and I can go through email once more.
  • 6pm-on: Actually have a social life, network, blog, work on side projects or cook! Fancy.

For me, this will be a HUGE challenge but I think it will bring more clarity and peace to my life, marriage and relationships. The only challenge, for me, will be on days that I have meetings or photoshoots. I’m trying to figure out how to shift it so that I still have a normal week. If you have any thoughts or ideas, let me know.

So that’s what I’ve learned over the past year. I’m trying to be better with my time but we all have those weeks or days where we’re not motivated at all. It can feel a bit overwhelming while other times I’m a fireball of motivation. I’d love to hear your thoughts below!¬†

September 10, 2013