Time Management Tips for Creatives
Woah, did anyone else feel that? In just the blink of an eye, it's already March.
February was super busy for me. I did my taxes for the first time as a freelancer, tied up some administrative loose ends, and even traveled to Mexico!
But, being busy doesn't necessarily mean being productive.
Despite my personal life taking over, I still had to juggle client projects, and that got a little tricky. If you're struggling with time management, too, here's how I'm buckling down.
Write shorter to-do lists
I used to write out super long to-do lists. Sometimes, they were over 10 tasks long! I never got to them all in one day, and ended up feeling defeated instead of organized.
Then, reality kicked in. I started writing lists of only 3 tasks, which felt much more manageable. Usually, it pertained to a client project, but sometimes it just meant sending an email.
I personally like to handwrite my to-do lists, but there are plenty of digital tools, like Asana, to help keep track of your milestones. In either case, try lessening your load to accomplish more.
Limit daily email use
Even after deactivating Facebook, I would instinctively type its URL into my browser bar. It took me months to break that muscle memory, and with technology literally in our pockets, there's no wonder why we default to it.
But studies show that checking your email constantly can do real damage. Now, I schedule times throughout the day to check my email: once at the beginning, middle, and end of my workday. Tools like Boomerang allow you to 'pause' your incoming email, to prevent an overflow of notifications.
Glorify your G-Cal
Call me a control freak, but I add everything to my Google Calendar–from my credit card bills to my yoga practice. If it's not on my calendar, it's not on my brain, and it's that much easier for me to lose track of my week.
I learned from working in the corporate world that calendars are crucial to staying on top of projects and visualizing your schedule. As a designer, part of me even nerds out on creating different color schemes between my personal, freelance, and financial calendars. The organizational opportunities are endless!
Dedicate your days
Similar to my to-do lists, I have a bad habit of trying to accomplish many different types of things in one day. For example, I would meet with a client, then work on a blog post, then finish up administrative tasks.
What I quickly learned was that shifting gears took a lot of effort. Where my head was going from abstract to creative to organizational, my ADD kicked in like no other, and at times, even set me back.
Now, I try to dedicate specific days to the type of task I want to accomplish. Usually, Mondays are Admin days, and I'll have 2 dedicated days for back-to-back client meetings. I still feel like I did what I needed to, but I'm spending less energy on switching between the many different hats I tend to wear.
What are your productivity and time-management tips?