Working long hours in the creative industry is a widely accepted and often celebrated practice. The industry has been designed this way for years and any interior designer or industry professional has done the late nights pre pitch or slightly worse the all nighters. Whilst this is perhaps inevitable once in a while it does teach us that our time management can improve. Improving your time management skills doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, there are five simple ways interior designers can boost productivity, streamline tasks, and stay on track. Keep reading to find out what they are!
1. Tracking your time
In order to manage your time better you need to understand your time. Both financially and professionally this is an important first step. It can take some time getting used to at first, but will provide the insight that you need.
Start by creating time sheets for all your projects and before you start any work make a note of the time. It can sometimes be easier to log your hours on paper and then transfer to the timesheets online at the end of every day.
At the end of every week go through your time sheets for every project to help you understand your weekly output. It can be quite a confronting process but will no doubt help with your time management and expectations. Ask yourself the questions
- Where did you spend the most time?
- Did you spend too much time on any project?
- Can you identify areas where you spent too much time?
- Is some of the time you spent not billable?
- What did you learn about the time required for each project? This can help in understanding your expectation and charging more accurately in the future.
2. Write a clear to do list
Feels like an obvious one, but a clear to do list is crucial as it will help you set goals for the week and improve productivity.
Spend every Monday morning writing a clear agenda for the week, including personal and other commitments. Once the list is complete place the tasks in an order of importance from 1-3. This will help you strategize how you spend your week and ensure the most important tasks are completed at the start of the week. Blocking out time for each task is a good way to see your time and be realistic with what tasks can be completed. Breaking down larger jobs into smaller tasks will make them less overwhelming and feel more achievable.
If you are finding yourself procrastinating, set time for breaks in between each task, even if it means getting up to make a tea and time to sit on social media. Seems like an odd idea, but if you know you are going to be distracted carve out time to enjoy the pleasures of Instagram which will then allow you to focus when need be.
3. Take time for yourself
By prioritising time for yourself you are creating boundaries with work which we need in order to increase efficiency. Not only is mastering time management great for your business but it’s also great for your interiority, your holistic health. As a creative, we use a lot of energy and power to constantly re-create and design which can be taxing. Studies have shown a well-rested body and mind can assist in productivity and creativity, so try get those 8 hours of beauty sleep.
A great way to take time for yourself is to create a morning routine. Morning routines kickstart your day on a sweet note and set the tone for the day. Some ideas for a morning routine are:
- No phones for the first hour
- Go for a walk even if it’s around the block to get coffee
- Making a delicious breakfast
- If you aren’t going to do no phones for the first hour it could be a great time to sit on Pinterest or Instagram and get inspired.
4. Identify your peak times
The whole 9-5 job is a strange concept as we all have different hours when we are most efficient. Ask yourself the questions of when you work best and create your schedule around that. Maybe you are best at spreadsheets and admin tasks fresh in the morning and more creative in the evening? If you can identify your peak times, create your schedule and agenda around these hours to help with productivity.
5. Cut down on multi-tasking
How often do you have a CAD file open while you’re updating a schedule and replying to an email? More often than not we are almost always multi-tasking these days. Our brains can’t handle several complex tasks at once, which means we reduce our productivity by multi-tasking. Seems ironic as we think we are getting everything done at once. Studies show that multi-tasking actually reduces productivity by as much as 40%. Here are some ideas to reduce the need to multi-task:
- Eliminate distractions
- Manage the workflow
- Delegate properly
- Take regular breaks
We hope these ideas help to better manage your time, so you can enjoy the other things in life.
Any other time management tips we would love to hear in the comments section below.