When it comes to owning a creative or craft business we usually wear all the hats. Everything that we are selling and sharing comes from our creative minds. Often is it so effortless to get lost when it comes to practicing time management techniques as a crafter or creative business owner. I have worked from home for the last 8 years and I have seen a huge return in the last 3 as I put in the right efforts at the right time.
In my post today I want to share with you 4 strategies that are snippets from my new course, Time Freed, which I have used to successfully scale my craft blog and creative business to 6 figures and beyond as a one-woman show.
Wait, 6-figures as a one-woman show? Yup! Do I have your attention now?!
Whether you are in your studio throwing some pottery, stringing a necklace or drawing your latest SVG or printable on your computer, these tips can make a world of difference in the amount of product and content you can produce and, therefore the return on your time invested.
Because we all know that saying.. time is money. Or as I like to say, time is an investment. As an entrepreneur, I like to think of ways I can invest what I already have to make it grow.
So how can we invest your time wisely to have it return to you with reward and profit?
1. Batch Everything
Batching is like the holy grail of my time management techniques. I think, especially in the craft and creative business world, batching can literally make all the difference alone.
But what is batching?
Batching is the means by which you can accomplish multiple pieces of several projects at once, within similar task groups, without (and this is important) falling into the trap of multi-tasking or as I call it – task switching.
Let me give you a simplistic example before I present a work example.
Right now it is Christmas time, and I love to bake cookies. All different kinds – sugar, pumpkin, gingerbread, etc.
When I go to make a batch of cookies, do I go about making just enough dough for one cookie, making that one cookie, and then starting over till I have made 12 cookies? Of course not. We mix all the ingredients together to make all 12 cookies and then bake usually 8-12 cookies at a time on a cookie sheet.
Wouldn’t it be silly if we made only one cookie from scratch at a time? Uh yeah…
The above example is a very simple way of explaining how batching can save time when applied to our creative work.
Think of the time you would waste making each cookie from scratch one by one. Likewise, how many times do you repeat similar tasks for your work that could be done all at once to make substantial progress across more than one project?
How to Batch
To give a personal example, one way I love to batch is doing my photography and filming or my crafts and tutorials. I have to photograph all. the. time. I often have 4-5 brand-new unique craft designs I make and release each month.
Instead of photographing each individual project, series of steps, and releasing one at a time as I go, I instead do all the photography for a compiled number of craft projects at once. Which means I am also batching my creation of the projects.
When I have finished with the creation of all my work, then I move on to picture taking for all my work. Afterward, I start editing all the photos for all the different products or projects.
For some of you, it will work to just release your products or projects in batches as well. Others will want to drip out your content.
In the case where you do not want to reveal all your new products, projects or blog posts at the same time, then just draft it all in one sitting and then drip it out on a schedule! While the content is being dripped out on a schedule, you are working on your next batch of work!
When I started working like this on my craft blog and new product creations, I increased my productivity by 500%!
Action step: Write a list of everything you find yourself doing repetitively and decide what can be paired together and batched on a daily or weekly basis, so you can accomplish more at one time.
Related Post: 11 Time Management Tips for Small Business Success
2. Plan Quarterly
Planning is obviously a huge part of time management, but how you execute your planning is a different story. Sure, you need to write a weekly schedule but if you are not writing those weekly schedules based on your annual and quarterly goals then you are probably never going to see a lot of big-picture progress.
I can even hear some of you saying, I need to be making annual and quarterly goals in my business??
Write out goals
I have found the best way to do this is to sit down and write out 4 goals for the year. Make them reasonable, of course, and try to keep two of them a little smaller than the other two.
Once you have written your goals down, you need to break down the steps you need to take every 90 days to accomplish them. Those steps you are writing to accomplish these quarterly goals are then used to write your weekly schedule!
See how this can be beneficial to see productive progress in your plans? Whew, try saying, that 3x fast!
Action step: I want you to think about some goals you need to plan out and break them down for yourself in your weekly schedules. Download my free Goal Recipe worksheets to help you see the milestones you need to reach within the goal.
3. Time Blocking
Time blocking can be used quite well in conjunction with batching. It essentially is used to concentrate on one specific task for a blocked-out amount of time. For example, I get a lot of messages from readers or customers throughout most days.
But instead of checking my emails at a whim, answering them, and ultimately getting distracted by them, I allocate certain times throughout the day to do an email check. This means I will not look at my emails until I am within those time blocks on the clock. Even if I see messages waiting, I won’t open them till the designated time.
Action step: Write out anything that is a common distraction for you throughout your work time and commit certain times of the day to those tasks so you can concentrate on your project goals or product creations.
Use my free time blocking worksheet to help you with this!
4. Don’t Try and Be Someone Else
One of the module’s in my new course, Time Freed, is solely dedicated to this concept. While this one might seem a little out in left field, but just hear me out. As creative thinkers, we often get distracted by so many other people or project ideas along the way. This is often referred to as shiny object syndrome.
Shiny object syndrome usually is unleashed when we see someone else in a similar niche as us come up with something that either has been successful for them or makes us feel like we should have thought of it first. I have totally suffered from this at times and even tried to change who I am because of it. If you don’t know me already, I am a transparent person!
Let me debunk these two feelings:
- Just because someone else has done it and it was a success for them doesn’t mean it will be a success for you if it doesn’t cater to your reader or customer’s interests.
- In the case of feeling as if you should have thought of something first, let me burst your bubble… no one has thought of any idea first – unless you were born back during the birth of all technology – if so I’d love to meet you! ;).
Sure there are a lot of people putting their own branding or spin on something, but I’ll bet you can find at least a dozen others in your niche that have created something similar at heart.
In other words, we may suddenly feel the need to try and be someone else when we get caught up in shiny object syndrome.
What does this have to do with effective time management techniques?
When we are not focused on the things that make us better in our business and are moving us towards our goals, we face a heavy loss in productivity.
Bouncing from one thing to the next doesn’t give your projects time to pay off or pay you money.
As entrepreneurs and crafty people we are blessed and cursed with inspiration overflow. Shiny object syndrome is to be expected. But making the decision to not let it consume you and instead learn to simply glean inspiration from it can save you from a big loss in time.
Action step: When you see an idea you love and think it is something you should do in your creative business ask yourself these questions:
- Will this add to my profit?
- Does this idea stay true to my brand’s identity?
- How does this idea serve to my buyer or reader?
If the answer is yes, then add it to a list of goals. If the answer is no, to any of those questions then put it on a wish list or admiration board on Pinterest!
So if I could give you the two most important takeaways from these time management techniques, it would be to stay laser-focused on goals that match you and your brand’s identity and learn to work at a higher productivity level through batching.
Daily planning also becomes important for this to all work together. In the free printables for this post I also include a daily planner that I use!
Free Time Management Printables
Grab my free daily planner printable here!
Don’t want to print paper every day? Try laminating 5 sheets (one for Monday-Friday) and use a dry-erase marker to fill in each day of the week then erase next week!
Did these time management techniques help or enlighten you? Tell me below in the comments!
Wishing you creativity and success!