since going full-time with my studio, hatch & harbour, i wanted to create a series on the blog to document everything from things i learn along the way to business tips . knowing full well i have much to learn, i want to share about it all mostly to help anyone that can relate, but also for accountability.
the first thing i wanted to talk about is time management, which is something we all practice in life, but something i’ve become more focused on since starting out as a designer in school. we all have to find our own way of tackling time and we never stop learning about. since going full-time, i’ve learned a few tricks that have helped me immensely.
there is a constant saying i think we’re all guilty of uttering a great deal during out lifetimes “there’s never enough time.” i recently read a quote that really stuck with me when it comes to this:
i think constantly repeating “i don’t have enough time” is a debilitating thought. instead, i try to stick to the present and focus more on the tasks at hand and what i can accomplish during the work day. here’s a few things i’ve learned about time management.
make lists + prioritize
i’ve come to be an avid list-maker. it seriously helps me prioritize my tasks. i use the bullet journal method, but i colour code it for what the tasks are for (ex. studio client, blog post, finances, etc). I also put a red star next to the things that are most important – like ones i need to get one that day or that week. if you find it too overwhelming making a massive to-do list for your whole week, make one per day. write down all the tasks you would like to get done that day and go from most important to least and start tackling.
sometimes we can get a little over-ambitious in our to-do lists. pay attention to how long tasks usually take you when you make your day list and how much time you have to work that day. if you know a task will take you 8 hours, don’t bank on getting it all done in one day if you have multiple things to do. pick out parts of the task you want to complete first and tackle them to start. and don’t get down on yourself if you don’t complete it all – it happens – other things come up like time sensitive jobs or calls from clients.
set time limits
this is something that has been HUGE in helping me manage tasks and timelines since starting full-time. i use a self-made version of the pomodoro technique. i don’t use a timer, but i like to set goals and time limits. so say i have a bunch of revisions to do on a client brochure but it’s almost lunch time. well, i make a goal that i’ll get those revisions done and then i can go make lunch. then i don’t move from my desk until the task is completed. it works really great to maintain your focus.
if you’re like me, at times social media, phone or catching up on the latest blogs can be a big source procrastination. i suggest using the time limit technique to get your tasks done. allow yourself the time to complete whatever it is you need to get done, separate from these distractions (ie. turn your phone on vibrate) and then you can browse through your feeds and check your texts.
make time for rest + play
this is key. respect your bodies’ need for renewal. becoming overworked and overtired can be detrimental to our jobs. if you are living your dreams and love what you do don’t loose that by becoming exhausted. create meaningful work that doesn’t drain you and try to stay aware of when you’re becoming overworked. i am completely guilty of taking on too much, and sometimes i need to take a step back, reflect and take on a little less so i have time for rest and play. those two things are so important to our creativity, drive and inspiration. it’s difficult to function riding on coffee alone!
i am constantly learning about prioritizing, time management and rest, but the more i practice these things, slowly but surely, the easier it seems to get. what are some of your favourite time management tips and tricks?