Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Business Chat - Managing yourself

Yes it is Friday night, and yes it is past 10 o’clock and here I sit in my studio. I’m taking a brief break from making jewelry to craft this article then I’ll be back at it for another couple of hours. What, you thought self-employment meant lounging around playing when you felt like it?

Here’s one of my reality checks from life in the full-time crafty trenches. Sometimes there are seriously long late hours even though they are colour drenched and fun filled. The biggest difference between where I am right now and a regular “job”, is that I don’t have a boss beating on me to get the work done. And that is where this life can be tough.

You are the boss. You have to manage yourself. The good fairies aren’t going to whip up some jewelry, nor will they update a website. It’s up to you to get yourself into your studio and get the work done.

Procrastination is not an option.

Today I want to share with you some tips for self-management. It’s up to you to make your business successful and that means putting in the hours and doing the work.
Have Clear Goals
It is very important to know what you want out of your craft business. You will flounder around and waste time if you do not have a clear set of goals to keep you on track. Know why you are doing what you are doing.
In my Start Your Successful Microbusiness seminars, I ask everyone at the beginning of the class why they want a craft business. It’s important to know. The answers vary from covering the cost of your hobbies/addictions, to paying for a new kitchen. Write goals which are specific, dated, and measurable. Write goals that are personal to you and you will want to achieve them.
Make a To-Do List
I sit down once a week and make a list of what needs to be done. For every project on the list I write down what needs to be done next to move that project along. Keeping this list on the top of my bench helps to keep me on track by giving me some structure.
It is tough sometimes to actually get the tasks done rather than just writing lists. I’ve taken to rewarding myself every time I check something off the list.
Set time limits
It’s one thing to write yourself a To-Do list, it’s another thing to actually do it. Me, I am awesome at writing lists. Very long lists. One day I realized that my daily list would take about 30 hours to do. Oops. So now when I write myself a list, I put a time limit on each task.

Avoid Procrastination
Trick yourself into working. You might not want to sit down and write a blog, so tell yourself you will free-write or brainstorm ideas for 10 minutes. Use a timer and just get the job done.
Log Off
Now here is the biggest way of losing control over your own time. The internet coma. When I have stuff that just has to be done I unplug the modem so that I can’t access the internet. It hurts but is necessary. It’s not forever and you’d be amazed how much you can get done.
You will find that you are more productive and less distracted if you are not feeling that nagging desire to check up on your friends, to Google that new book you heard about, or to tweet you just spent 10 minutes thinking about tweeting. Just take a break from the computer and give yourself some uninterrupted, technology free time, and you will find you are able to accomplish so much more.
Ok, I know no one likes that last tip, but it’s oh-so-true.
Me, I’m back to making more jewelry. As to why I’m here so late on a Friday night? Well, it’s motivation. There’s a giant picture of the Eiffel Tower on my wall in front of me. I’m off to Paris for a vacation and I can’t go until my holiday inventory is made. So the trade off is losing a Friday night for hanging out in French cafes. Yup, that is motivation. 

1 comment:

Alicia said...

Excellent! Thanks for sharing - and enjoy your vacation!