Time management is the part of my freelancer life I’m still struggling with, even after having been a full time etsy seller for nine years. It seems to be easy at first, but actually it’s pretty tricky… at least for me.
Honestly, I don’t like writing this post. I do it anyway, because it’s important. People usually talk about the things they are good at. But I think talking about things I’m struggling with can be useful (and maybe interesting) too. We are all little humans with flaws and problems, but we try to learn and improve constantly to become our best self. 🙂
1. Plan ahead
This is the one thing I’ve made a really big progress over the last 1.5 years. I’ve started bullet journaling in May, 2016. I wanted to see how I spend my days, and how I could be more productive. I tried using pre-made calendars before, but they have never worked for me, and I always abandoned them after a few weeks. Bullet journaling is different, because you can personalize it. I’ve started with a simple to do list and a few trackers, and now, 1.5 years later I still make changes almost every month. If you’re not familiar with bullet journaling, you can learn more about it here: bulletjournal.com.
Sorry, but I won’t show you mine… It contains a lot of personal things I want to keep for myself, and it’s written in a weird ‘Hunglish’ (Hungarian + English) language that wouldn’t make any sense to you 🙂
I also have a pinterest board where I collect bullet journal ideas (I’ve started it when Gábor (my boyfriend) has decided to try it too. :))
2. Have a long term plan too
I’ve recently started to learn how to do this. For years I haven’t even understood why I’d need it. I just want to make jewelry and to paint, and to sell enough of my works so as I can make even more jewelry and paintings. 🙂
I’ve read several articles about writing long term business plans, and now I have something I can call that.
It includes goals and to do lists for the whole year, things I want to learn and improve, and also plans for the next five years.
I think the purpose of having a long term plan is to have a vision about what you want in the future. Then it’s easier to plan short term too, because you know where you’re going.
3. Be more flexible
Another flaw of mine I have to work on. When I have a plan, I do everything to accomplish it, and if I can’t, I feel it’s the end of the world. The problem is that I don’t really know how to change things that are so automatic … maybe being more mindful is the answer.
4. Don’t overcommit yourself
As a one person business I have to do almost everything myself: do my orders, answer messages and e-mails, make new jewelry, work on SEO and photography, post on social media, do the administration work, prepare shipping and packaging materials and write my weekly blog posts. This means that the actual creative work (making jewelry) is only 50% of the whole thing. The other 50% is that ‘invisible’ work I also have to do regularly, and without it my business would never be successful. I still don’t really accept that it’s also work, and I tend to do it after my official work hours, when I should rest and collect energy for the next day.
5. It’s ok to take a break from time to time
I very rarely procrastinate, I usually do it when I’m too tired. This is bad, because instead of taking a break and enjoying a day off, I usually try to force myself working, but I usually end up checking my social media sites a 100 times a day, or the etsy forum, that makes me depressed because of all those negative threads. I have to accept that I’m not a robot, and it’s ok not to be productive all day every day.
This week I’ve practiced this a bit: after the very busy January and some nasty weather changes earlier this week I’ve decided to have a day off on Wednesday. I’ve played The Sims all day, and I felt like a lazy bad girl only in the evening! 😀 (The Sims used to be my favourite game for at least 10 years, but I haven’t played it since 2012.)
This year I started to use a weekly wall calendar along with my bullet journal. I find it very useful, because I can see it all day (I use my BuJo only 2-3 times a day.)
A gift for you
I’ve decided to share my weekly template with you. It’s a pdf file that you should be able to easily print. (Do use your printer’s “shrink to fit” option if needed.) It’s my free gift for you, for reading my blog. 🙂 I hope you’ll find it useful. Here’s a look at how I use it myself:
It’s hand drawn, and not pretty-perfect computer-made. Remember, I’m slightly technophobic, so I prefer it this way. I hope you don’t mind neither. 🙂
If you have any helpful tips or tricks about about time management, please, share them in a comment – I’m still a “work in progress”, after all. 🙂
Next week I want to write about something really interesting and creative, so I’ll share the process of my latest ‘POErtait’ oil painting with you. 😀