I have been a sole trader self employed crafter/designer/maker for a few years now and still my biggest problem is time management. When I was a teacher it was not a problem; when employed in various office roles it was not a problem. So why is it now?
Part of the problem is that I work from home; I know I am not alone in this as there are many people in different sectors working from home. Suddenly our working environment is the laundry, the dining room, the playroom or all of them. Our families and friends find it difficult (as do I, often) to distinguish between just being at home and working.
So how do you solve the frequent visits, quick coffees and invitations to go out problem; how do you manage to get family and friends to accept that even though you don't leave the house you are working?
I asked a friend this question recently and the reply was "it's the way you do it". I must have looked at her a little strange because she then tried to explain, at length, what I was doing wrong and how she thought I could put it right. In a nutshell she explained that I need to set boundaries, have fixed working hours and be stronger in saying no when asked out for a coffee. Simples!
Taking that advice on board I am now lucky enough to have a dedicated workroom in the house, making it easier to close the door on the rest of the house, especially at the end of my working day. I have looked at the number of hours I work and have tried to set fixed working hours; my hours are now 10 - 4 daily (Monday - Friday) BUT I often work evenings and of course weekends when doing craft fairs. If I have a craft fair at the weekend then I do allow myself time off during the week to counter the extra evenings/days.
This is all very well in theory but how do I train my family and friends to stick to my working hours? How do I train myself because I cannot control when I feel creative, when a new idea will pop into my head that I just HAVE to sketch/sew/make etc. So will find myself sketching on a napkin or scrap of paper when out with friends or at 3am when the idea just won't go away.
I don't have the answers, although I have started to plan my time better ... I love mind maps and find they are the best way for me to plan. I look at each month and try to map it ... looking at each craft fair, wedding fair and appointment deciding what they need in terms of stock to be made and supplies to be purchased.
I have abandoned my traditional style 'to do list' and each day I select one thing that I know I have been putting off and try to tackle it. I am playing with my to do list in that I avoid it being longer than 5 items long each day ... although I can of course add something new to the bottom if I cross an item off the top. Just a couple of things I am doing to make my day more effective.
This works to a certain degree but I still get easily distracted from what I should be doing by a coffee out.
I am fighting the time management demons and if anyone has any methods I could try to improve my success rate please let me know.
love & fluffy hugs from