Do you feel like each week starts fast and then just goes faster and faster until it’s Friday?
As an interior designer, I’m sure you have an overwhelming number of tasks on your to-do list at any given time, and most of them should have been done yesterday! Interior design projects are long, extremely detailed, and complicated. It’s difficult to manage multiple clients, vendors, contractors, employees, and more. So, it’s essential to find ways to streamline your work.
It’s about being proactive and not reactive. If we jump at every single thing that pops up, we can often get into a place where it’s hard to get any “real work” done. You jump from thing to thing all day, and by the end of the day, you feel like you got nothing done.
Our biggest priorities are often the things that take the most time and mental energy. Reaching for quick tasks is easier for our brain to handle, so we do that over and over until we run out of time. But, if you can make a plan for the week, reserve time for your highest priority things, and then create repeatable processes for the regular daily or weekly tasks you need to do, you will find that you can actually settle down and get into a flow. FLOW IS KEY FOR DESIGN WORK.
Flow is where the magic happens. When you can create flow, you tap into your deeply creative state. This is what helps creative businesses thrive. When you can do this day after day at work, you will be inspired, passionate, and overflowing with energy. This is how you avoid burnout.
Here are three of our suggestions for organizing your time and increasing productivity.
1. TIME BLOCK
Time blocking is a productivity tool that can address a couple of very common problems–overwhelm, indecision, procrastination, and anxiety. Time blocking is setting aside a certain amount of time to complete a certain task or group of tasks. For instance, you might set aside an hour to send emails updating clients on status of their projects every week. Time blocking is like a To-Do List version 2.0. and can help you:
When you carve out chunks of time to get certain tasks done, you are, by default, prioritizing the things that need to get done first. It requires you to account for deadlines, other commitments, and how long a task will take. It forces you to avoid overbooking yourself, and, as you get better at it, time blocking your to-do list can help calm your anxiety by making you feel confident that everything is accounted for and won’t fall through the cracks.
By time blocking, you are creating space in which to do a specific task. Instead of becoming discouraged if something takes too long (or more likely–you’re worried it’s going to take too long), you can set yourself up for success by building in the time it takes to plan, prepare, and implement the task. Carve out chunks of time for work to get done. One of the things to keep in mind when you time block is that the chunk of time that you set aside is like a purse–however big it is, you’ll fill it. So, make sure that you make your blocks as small as possible while still being realistic. Label what you want to accomplish during that time and make it sacred.
We like to think that we are good at multi-tasking, but the truth is that even though sometimes it’s unavoidable, it’s not the most efficient use of our time. Constantly bouncing from one thing to another contributes to burnout, overwhelm, and suppresses creativity.
Create go-to versions for everything you need. Don’t let yourself start from scratch. Your creativity and your time are your most precious assets. By identifying the tasks that you do over and over, you can create templates and avoid reinventing the wheel all the time, which will save time, but also save your creative energy for your design work. This is where something like Dubsado or Honeybook can come in handy, but you can do it on your own as well. You can create templates of design boards, CAD, emails, guides, workflows, and more!
3. WEEKLY TO-DO LIST
Write down a to-do list for the week on Monday. Make the tasks short enough to accomplish in one day. Keep it visible and review it daily. Why a weekly to-do list instead of a daily one? Looking at the week as a whole helps you to consider the big picture and makes it less likely for you to forget important tasks or deadlines. Creating your to-do list on a weekly basis allows you to more strategically plan your week as well as your days. Once you have your list for the week, you can break it down into what should be done each day.
And don’t forget to DELEGATE! Sometimes you have no choice but to do everything yourself. However, your business will stagnate if you always do everything, because no matter how talented you are, you can’t be an expert at everything. In order for your business to grow beyond yourself, you have to delegate. So, don’t try to do everything yourself, and if you have a team, don’t have to take all the worst jobs and let your junior designer do what you want to be doing.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how we can help you build a better business.