Victoria Eggs is an award-winning designer, starting her own homeware design company of the same name in 2011. In this article, Victoria discusses how she manages her time.
However narrow or wide my time window is for creating my business, I do believe that time management is the crucial thing that can make or break just how productive my work days are!
Knowing what I’m good at and practicing the habits that work best for me gives me a great sense that things are attainable and also gives me the confidence that my business is running smoothly.
This is how it works for me…
I have set office hours (definitely with a little flexibility as that is the beauty of having my own business). My weekly plan from Monday to Friday is split into hourly slots for each day and I choose what days I ultimately want to work on set projects and for how many hours each day.
My daily focus is set by knowing what work is important to me on each day. My priority is to complete work that will create money flow into the business and from this priority I create my ‘TO DO’ list. I have a lot of projects going on throughout each month and also meetings but for the days that are not mapped out with either, I ask myself “What is the most effective use of my time RIGHT NOW?”
I have a short list of things that I HAVE to do during the day. Next I have a list of things I’d LIKE to complete (but not absolutely essential) and finally a short list of things that need to be done at some point – so if I finish off my HAVE and LIKE list I’m on a roll and can get to the other things!
‘TO DO’ with a Deadline
I love a deadline! To be super savvy and productive, for each thing on my list I set a time frame for each task to be completed, this gets them done in good time rather than just being ‘ticked’ off as and when I get to them without any clear focus. Of course I have days where procrastination can get the better of me so I know that a deadline works perfectly to get me moving.
I set my tasks together, so e-mail checking is done for 1 hour every day at the beginning of my working day and at the end, phone calls are made one after another and creative brainstorming, writing and designing is done in a set block of hours (not just fitted in here and there). All this means that I can limit distractions and take advantage of being in the flow, as my attention span works better in 60 minute blocks!
This is a real fun and productive trick! Buy a simple kitchen timer and set it for the amount of time allocated to a particular task… then get going. Beating the clock is a great incentive. (I’m so competitive!).
I can’t do everything and some things I prefer to do over others, for me, being time-management smart is about knowing what I’m good at and using my time in the best way. If I can’t do something and don’t have the time or inclination ever to learn then I delegate to people who are better at particular tasks than me.
I definitely take breaks, there are times when I need to work through like a demon but I also have learned that on a daily basis the quality of what I produce is improved a hundredfold when I take time out.
A project scheduled and completed is a great feeling and worthy of celebration! Don’t skip all the relevant parts though, move through steadily to the end and the celebratory feeling will be fabulous!