Time Management for Creatives

Time Management for Creatives

Dress by Nicole McLaughlin, Photo by GC Photography

I want to welcome everyone to the first blog of the FTDC. Thank you for reading and I hope you get something from it.

Time management is the first blog first as it is the most important tool for every designer. It helps you be prepared, feel confident and in control. To start your design business you need this. You don’t want to be constantly asking yourself where did the day go. I myself find it tough to have enough time in the day and I realise it is a major problem for a lot of people.

I’ve sat down to tackle this blog a few times and my phone dings. I’m sure it’s the same for you sitting down to a brief or a sewing machine. The interruption may be an email from a supplier, or a colleague or maybe just a friend. You reply as it will only take a second.

Then you see you have 15 notifications on Facebook and half an hour has passed. Then your phone dings again.

Being distracted by emails, phone calls and social media makes it difficult to achieve your aims. For example right now how many tabs do you have open?

Good time management can be achieved! I use many apps, organizers and books to help me stay focused and get more done in a day, to help me feel like I have achieved something. But in the end what really is needed is clarity!

Clarity is when you are clear on your goals and cut the clutter!

You may find yourself stuck on the little tasks that are not urgent but the loudest, or urgent but not important. To avoid this you need to decide what are the most important goals and concentrate on them. Writing down a goal for each day will help.

Below are six pointers to help you become more clear and have better time management.

  1. Be Your Own Boss
  2. Make a plan
  3. Multitasking
  4. Email
  5. Social Media
  6. Giving your best


1. Be Your Own Boss


As your own boss starting and running your own business requires working long hours. At the start of the business this is normal or coming up to a show it can be expected. However try not to make this an everyday habit as your brain needs a break. If you worked for a company you would probably be working a normal 9-5 most days. Try to do the same. Know what time of day you are most productive. I find a lot of designers are at their best at night. Working at your most productive hours does not have to be the conventional 9-5. Remember to take breaks too. As your own boss you need to push yourself to get the work done in set hours as if you are working for someone else.

BYOB set time frames and stick to them!

2. Making a Plan
Making a Plan-3
Make a plan! All business owners should have a goal. If you don’t have a goal get one! When you have your ultimate goal set smaller goals to help achieve it. Your goal may be to have your designs purchased by a buyer in the next year. This is a big goal. To achieve this set quarter year goals, monthly goals, weekly goals and daily goals. By breaking it all down this huge goal is achievable.
Concentrate on your goals and don’t get stuck on unimportant tasks. As creatives we are very visual. Write down your daily and weekly goals in a notebook or diary. Check out BulletJournals – this is what I use for goal clarity. Stick to these objectives and don’t stress over the unimportant tasks.
3. Multitasking


It’s time to stop multitasking. Multitasking actually leads to getting less done. You are better to monotask. Studies have found there is a loss of time and efficiency when you switch from one task to another. If you find you have ten tabs open, jumping between Facebook, email and your phone, then you have a multitasking problem.

To monotask is to find clarity in your day. In the beginning this may feel less productive but focus on one task at a time, schedule your day and stick to it. You will be more realistic and you will find you get more done in the long run.

To help you stay away from disturbing websites check out these Stayfocused (Chrome), SelfControl (Mac).

4. Email

EmailHow long do you spend emailing a day? Emailing may take up a huge part of your day. Our emails ding all day and we are trained to jump and read them and answer immediately. This is not just multitasking but it is sucking time out of your day.

What are you achieving replying immediately? Can these emails wait? Anything urgent they would call or they can wait a few hours.

To make your emails more manageable – 1. cut the number of emails and 2. batch them.

  1. Cutting the number of emails by separating your personal to your work emails. Do you have to answer all these emails yourself or can you get someone else to do it?
    Unroll.me is a tool which puts the subscriptions you receive into a folder and can also batch unsubscribe. Very handy tool.
  2. Batch process is where you pick certain times of day to answer emails. If you do this stick to it. You could check them in the morning, afternoon and late afternoon. Like I said if anything is urgent they will call.
    AwayFind alerts people you won’t see your emails to the time you have chosen. This will free up a lot of time in your day and also minimise the unimportant tasks you receive.


5. Social Media

social media time suckGive yourself a fixed time each day for social media. 15-20mins to scroll and post. Social Media allows you to reach and interact with customers. It is a vital part of a marketing strategy. However if you are spending hours on social media you are wasting your time, you are not being engaging strategically.

Rescue Time is a tool that allows you to see how much time you spend on websites.

By limiting your time you on each social media channel will allow you to use your time more strategically.

Sound impossible? With the right plan it is very capable.

6. Giving Your Best

give your bestGiving your best always takes a lot longer than you expect. When you get to an end of a project you may wish you had a little more time as you know you can do better. Set your own deadline a few days in advance to allow you to go that extra mile. Evaluating your work at the end is a vital exercise. You will find areas you want to edit and it is important to have that time to do it. It may make the difference of getting that project or not.

Set time to go the extra mile


Don’t forget make time for yourself every day, whether its to meet a friend for coffee, have a bath, read a few chapters, you will find a difference, time to destress.

Taking these time management steps and identifying time wasting activities will help you feel more in control and calm and you will eventually see a difference in what you achieve in your design business. Everything depends on your approach and time management. It’s a lot easier said than done but to get ahead in your career time management is essential.

Time Management:

Be proactive to your day not reactive


About Fashion Textile Design Centre

Louise Porter is the blogger for the Fashion & Textile Design Centre. Louise has a degree in Fashion & Textile Design degree and a Masters in Business.
This entry was posted in The Business of Design and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Time Management for Creatives

  1. Pingback: Essence of Design | Fashion & Textile Design Centre Blog

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