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Posts Tagged ‘time management’

Finish the Year Strong

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018

finish-strong

It’s  the beginning of October and, if you are at all like me, you’ve look at the end of the year and at all you want to accomplish before then. It could be trade shows, new patterns or programs, a rush to get your sales where you projected. And, then, of course, the holidays  — Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah — will be here before you know it.

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Say No to Busy

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

 

Have you ever been rushing around trying to get things done and at the end of the day realized you didn’t accomplish what you really needed to accomplish?

Yes, it felt great to check those things off your to-do list. Your studio was clean, you posted on Facebook and Instagram multiple times, and you felt like you got so much done. After all the list was full of check marks or crossed-off items. It was proof.

But did you really accomplish the important things that would move your business or your life forward?

In all likelihood the answer is no. You got caught up in “busy.” Working on things you think might make a difference.

The problem is when you get caught up in busy, it’s because you said yes to too much. You said yes without thinking.

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Creating white space

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

 

As artists, we understand the need for white space. White space is the space between design elements and also the space inside the design elements. Without white space, which truly doesn’t have to be “white,” everything would run together. Imagine if there was no white space in this type. It would all run together and be confusing, to say the least.

The amount of white space you include varies based on your design decisions. Your goal should be to balance design elements, organize the content for ease of use, and to allow a place for the eye to rest.

You also need white space in your life, space that allows you to rest and reconnect. Once you appreciate what it does in the art you create and the art you view, you can appreciate its value in your business and life.

Imagine if your life or business calendar was jam packed with no relief. You would end up overwhelmed, frustrated and stressed. You could become resentful about what tugs at your life.

If you go back to the goal of white space in design work and think about the concept in your life and business, it would balance your life, organize your days, and let you have rest.

Here are some ways you can create and use more white space in your life.

Schedule it

You can’t have more white space if you don’t allow for it purposefully. It’s so easy to fill your calendar with things to do that you don’t have any time left to rest or for yourself. Get out your calendar and block that space off. You need to make you a priority. If you don’t, chances are that you will find yourself overworked and overwhelmed.

An important note: you need to schedule your white space first rather then work it around your other commitments. Chances are if you try to fit it around everything else, it will fall by the wayside.

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Let’s take 15!

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

 

Do you ever look at what others have accomplished and think you can’t possibly do that? We all have that comparison gremlin to contend with. Do you then fall back on your standard excuse? I just don’t have time!

I’m going to challenge you on that.

I wrote about “you management” as opposed to “time management” a few weeks back. Today I want to share a simple concept that might make a difference in your day.

Let’s call it Take 15.

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Is time managing you?

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

 

If you are like many people, you decided to get a better handle on your time this year. Some people call this time management. How is that working out for you?

Funny thing is that we all have the same 24 hours in the day. Some of us just do a better job of managing ourselves. We really can’t manage the time. Here are five tips to help you do that.

Know what your time is worth.

Your goal as a business owner is to turn your time into money, so I think you should know what your time is worth. Here’s an easy way to figure it out. What do you want to make this year from your creative arts business?

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Exercise Your “Done” Muscle

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

 

Recently I chatted with my client Bethany about her problems getting things done. She seemed to make little progress on what she said her goals were. She would start a project then get distracted by something else. Or she would start a project, then think another project sounded more exciting and she would shift her focus. And, often she ended up caught because she missed deadlines. Then she felt worse because she let people other than herself down.

As we talked about this, we hit on a number of reasons that were at play: procrastination; the need to be perfect; distractions by other things, aka Bright Shiny Object Syndrome; failure to prioritize. You may have others.

So how can you get the right things done? Here are nine tips for exercising what I call your “done” muscle.

1. Get clear about what it is that you are trying to accomplish. Once you have clarity around your goals and/or a particular project, it is much easier to move forward. As you work, keep your eye on the prize. This will help you make progress.

2. Break your project down into manageable tasks. When you look at a goal or a specific project, it can seem overwhelming. If you can break it down into bite-size pieces, it is always easier to see how you can accomplish it.

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Give Up Time Management!

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

 photo energymanagement-org_zps6xhepger.gif

Do you ever feel like you are so caught up in the everyday, ongoing activity in your business that you can’t actually find time to make decisions about your business?

Do you take on tasks that you shouldn’t?

Do you really need to be the person who runs to the post office to mail off the patterns you sold?
Do you need to run to the office supply shop when you are out of staples?

If the answer is yes, when do you have time to look at your numbers and make hiring or buying decisions if this is how you spend your time? We all know the answer to that one; you don’t.

While you may not see yourself in the above scenario, I’m sure you aren’t always working smarter in your business. And, it’s not really a function of managing time. We all have the same 24 hours. It’s more about managing energy. You can actually do something about your energy. And, if you can learn how to manage your energy, then you can put attention and focus where they belong — on your business.

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Ditch the “To Do” List!

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

 

Time blocking ICAP

 

 

Do you still use your “to-do” list and prioritize all the items on it? According to a recent article in Forbes Magazine by Kevin Kruse, millionaires do not make to-do lists. What they do instead is live by the calendar.

 

What is the problem with making a to-do list? According to what Kruse discovered after talking with more than 200 successful people, the to-do list does not consider the time involved in completing the tasks, so you do not complete what is on the list; it does not let you distinguish between the urgent and important; and not completing items adds to your stress.

 

If successful people do not make to-do lists, what do they do? They live and work from their calendars. Yes, they may make a list, but they schedule the time to complete the specific item on their calendar and adhere to it.

 

One of the most successful approaches to this is to use time blocking. This is something that I do and that most of my private clients do.  Time blocking is a method of allocating or pre-assigning time for specific activities throughout your day. It helps me keep my day and life more balanced. I accomplish more because I have structure to my day, I can focus on a specific task with a high value, and I am able to manage interruptions. I am the one in charge of my day. Here is how to do this:

 

1. Review your daily and weekly activities.

 

  • Can you determine how much time you spend on specific tasks? It might be helpful to track your time for a few days so you can see how much time you do spend on those activities. For example, do you check your e-mail every couple of hours and find that you spend at least 15 minutes each time answering them?
  • Do you have like tasks that are spread through out the week, e.g., teaching every day, working with new clients, or taking in new quilts to longarm? Can these tasks be handled on one or two days, so your energy focuses on one activity?
  • Do you have tasks that need attention that do not seem to get any? For example, dedicated marketing time is key for any business. Artists want to spend their time creating and often have trouble reconciling the need to spend so much time marketing. This task is often relegated to the leftover time when it needs to move to the front burner.
  • Do you have uninterrupted time for creative work? Even though we run creative-based businesses, the time should still be dedicated to the task.

 

2. Consider your short- and long-term goals.

 

  • Do you have a big project that needs to be completed? Start with a list of the tasks involved to complete it and estimate how much time is involved for each.

 

3. Consider your own personal work habits. When are you most effective? I’m a morning person, and I know I am more productive in the morning. For me this translates into activities that require brain-power earlier in the day.

 

4. Consider your life values and block time for them first. If you do not block time for your vacation, for your family, or exercise if these are important to you, they will get short shrift.

 

5. Armed with answers to those questions, get out your calendar and begin to block off time for your activities. What most of us do is set appointments with others and that’s what is on our calendar. We then fill our time with items on our goals or to-do list. This system lets you set an appointment with yourself for your work. Once you have shifted to an “appointment” mindset, it is often easier to accomplish tasks on your list. I like to start with the time that has to do with my life values and block that first. With your goals in mind, then put the important tasks first so you will accomplish them. If I do not block time for the key tasks, I can easily spend lots of time on simple tasks, like straightening art supplies or reading the latest quilt or art magazine or checking Facebook or Pinterest. These items don’t move my business forward in a significant way.

 

Here are some things you might like to time-block:

 

  • Quilt intake time on one or two afternoons or evenings a week, rather than spread out at odd times.
  • Time dedicated to longarm or production work
  • Creative time to design
  • Marketing time
  • Bookkeeping, if you don’t have outside help
  • Order fulfillment, if you don’t have outside help
  • Learning time
  • Time to work on blog posts and your communications with clients
  • Writing time if you are working on a book
  • Time to complete samples
  • Time to read and respond to emails (I know you will have times when you need to check for something particular. When that happens, just handle that one item and save the rest for the blocked time.)
  • Time to develop new classes
  • Breaks in your day (This can be crucial if you are standing or sitting at a machine most of your day.)

 

To give you an idea of how I time block my week, I have our ICAP member calls and coaching calls on Tuesdays rather than spaced throughout the week. I block Monday afternoons for work with my mastermind clients. I allot one block of several hours during the week on one day to work on my blog and ezine articles. When I am working on a new program, I block time during each day to work on that. It is a goal with many smaller tasks that need to be completed. I also block out time twice a day for e-mail, so I am not checking constantly. I have an hour each day blocked out for reading or learning something new I can apply to the business. I block out Wednesday afternoons for errands. Because I know that is the day for errands, I try to schedule doctor appointments during that time, and I have already scheduled my hair appointments through the end of the year. And, I block out time for family and self-care first so they do not get lost.

 

I am not rigid with the time blocking, and, of course, I have other appointments to put in. I may have a networking meeting that comes up or the opportunity to go to a gallery opening. Because I accomplish more by time blocking, I am freer to make adjustments.

 

In the end the reason I think this works is because when you pre-assign the time for a specific activity, you are more focused on getting it done. In a sense, you created a deadline for yourself. And by batching like tasks together in the same block (like the quilt intake sessions), you work more efficiently.

 

Let me know how time blocking works for you. Leave a reply below or leave a comment on the ICAP Facebook or Google+ pages.

 

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Morna McEver is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a FREE subscription at http://www.creativeartsprofessional.com.

 

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Exercise Your “Done” Muscle

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

A lot of us have problems getting things finished. Several reasons come to mind: procrastination, the need to be perfect, distractions by other things, failure to prioritize. Here are eight tips for exercising what I call your “done” muscle.

1. Get clear about what it is that you are trying to accomplish. Once you have clarity around your goals and/or a particular project, it’s much easier to move forward. As you work, keep your eye on the prize. This will help you progress.

2. Break your project down into manageable tasks. When you look at a goal or a specific project, it can seem overwhelming. If you can break it down into bite-size pieces, it’s always easier to see how you can accomplish it.

3. Look for where you need help. Just because you have a big project, doesn’t mean that you need to do it all yourself. Remember, it’s not necessary to know how to do everything, just what needs to be done.

4. Prioritize what needs to be done. This can apply to a specific project or your daily “to do” list. It’s easy to look for the quick and uncomplicated things to do each day so you can check them off the list. The problem is you aren’t really accomplishing what you need to accomplish. What you should be doing is tackling those projects that move you towards completing your goal.

5. Consider the ROI. That’s Return on Investment. You can look at your tasks and see if time spent doing these tasks is worth your time. Maybe you should delegate the tasks or not even do them at all.

6. Finish what you start. Make that your goal. Really look around at how many people actually finish what they set out to do. Many people say they are going to do something and don’t ever complete it.

7. Remember good enough is often good enough. Sometimes we spend so much time aiming for perfection that we don’t accomplish our goals.

8. Don’t over-think everything. As the Nike ad says, “Just do it.”

If you have a tip for exercising your “done” muscle, please share it on the blog.

The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business.  Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership and join here.

Happy Valentine’s to You and Your Business

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Traditionally Valentine’s Day is about relationship love, and I think our most important relationship is with ourselves. When we love and take care of ourselves, it shows up in a positive way in both our lives and our work. Here are some easy ways to incorporate some self-care into your week.

Start by using time-blocking and set aside 30 minutes each day for personal retreat time. You can use this time to read a non-business book, take a talk outside, have a cup of tea, look through a collection of old photos, do a yoga routine, get a massage, listen to some favorite music. Just select an activity that takes you away from your business and focuses on something you want to do. Yesterday I used my personal retreat time to enjoy a cup of tea and a mystery novel. I returned to my work refreshed. (Though I’ll admit, I always have a hard time putting down a good mystery!)

Once you have the daily personal retreat working, consider adding a day-long retreat when you completed that big project or are feeling overwhelmed from all the work you’ve had on your plate. You’ll feel refreshed and will face your work with a renewed focus. And, it doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. Your retreat can be as simple as packing a picnic lunch and setting off for a walk in the woods with a good book and your sketch pad.

I know, you are thinking you don’t have time for even the small retreat on a daily basis. Give it a try for a week and see if it makes a difference. Taking care of yourself really does reap big rewards.

Here’s a quote I love about taking care of yourself:

Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world. Lucille Ball

The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business.  Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership and join here.

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