So, you’ve taken the plunge into the world of working from home as a crafter, and now it’s time to structure your day for maximum productivity. If you missed our first chapter on navigating the challenges and opportunities of a home-based craft business, catch up here. Now, let’s dive into the next chapter, where we’ll explore essential strategies for craft business time management that can transform your home workspace into a hub of productivity for your craft business.
Working from home presents unique challenges, especially when it comes to structuring your day for maximum productivity. Without the watchful eye of a manager, it’s easy to fall into the trap of procrastination. Let’s talk about how to boost your craft business time management.
How to Structure Your Working Day to Get More Done
The way that you structure your day when working from home can make a huge difference to your craft business time management. The danger is that when you have no manager leaning over you, you might find that you allow yourself a little extra luxury and time than is ideal. That in turn could mean
you end up procrastinating to the point where you fall behind before you’ve even started!
The solution is to introduce some rules. These might seem a bit silly, but we’ll see that they can provide a structure and discipline that will help you to accomplish MUCH more.
Eat the Whole Frog: A Rule for Maximum Craft Business Time Management Impact
The first one that we’re going to address is something called “Eating the Whole Frog.” This comes from a quote by Mark Twain that says: “If your job is to eat a frog, then you should do that first thing in the
morning. If your job is to eat two frogs, then you should eat the biggest and ugliest one first.” That might not be exact, but you get the idea. Basically what he’s saying here, is that you should do the biggest and
ugliest task first.
If you’re starting your day and you have 5,000 words to write, or 50 orders to ship, then you should sit down and do that before you do anything else. Before you answer any emails, before you do any smaller tasks, or anything you want to do.
This is important, because it means you’re providing the most value as quickly as possible. The biggest task is the one that will probably get you paid the most, that will win over clients the most… and it also means that is no longer hanging over you.
And if you run out of time at the end of the day, it’s much easier to fit in something small that you’re looking forward to doing, than it is to fit in something huge that you don’t want to do. So instead of putting it off, then just get it out of the way! This also works as great training: it builds great habits.
This simple rule will allow you to be as productive as possible. There are exceptions to this rule though…
The 1 Minute Rule: Tackling Small Tasks Effectively
While conquering significant tasks is crucial, we’ll also discuss the importance of the “1 Minute Rule.” If a task takes one minute or less, handle it immediately. This approach prevents small tasks from accumulating and causing unnecessary stress, allowing you to maintain focus on more substantial projects.
For instance, if you should find yourself needing to complete a task that will only take one minute, then you should tick that off as soon as you possibly can.
It’s very common for people who work from home to find themselves becoming overwhelmed and exhausted. While there are several reasons for this, one of the biggest is simply trying to manage their time when they have a huge amount to do. How do you possibly keep on top of all the tasks that are piling up, when there is no one to help structure your day? Tim Ferriss calls the kinds of small tasks that play on your mind “open loops.”
For instance, you might have an email that you need to answer that you are putting off, or you might have
something that needs fixing on your website.
These jobs take one minute or less, but you put them off because:
a) You have that other big pressing task to take care of
b) They are emotionally stressful – so you would rather bury your head in the sand
But here’s the thing: those issues aren’t going to go away. And the longer they hang over you, the more they are going to cause you stress and anxiety.
In other words, you should just do them right away. If they take one minute, then they aren’t really going to eat into your day. But once they’re done, that’s one thing less on your mind. And it becomes that much easier to just focus on the work that you need to get done!
This doesn’t just apply to your work either: it also applies to chores and things you need to do around the house. For instance, if you have dishes that you have just eaten off of, then put them in the sink and get back to work!
The exception to the one minute rule, is when you are deep in work. If you are working in a very focused manner toward completing a specific task or goal, then you should not allow small things like emails to steal your attention away.
When you are distracted by another task, it can actually take you around 23 minutes and 15 seconds to refocus back on the original job. Our brains are not physically capable of multitasking, and instead work by switching between tasks!
So if you stop your big project to write a social media post, you are going to break yourself out of flow, and find yourself struggling with procrastination again as soon as you try to get back to it.
My advice is that you turn off all notifications, shut your doors, and put on noise cancelling headphones. You aren’t breaking the one minute rule, because you’re not going to be aware of the new task until after you have finished the current big job.
To-dos: Organizing and Prioritizing
Okay, but what about those jobs that are going to take 2-3 minutes? What about the 20 minute jobs?
Well, jobs that are large enough to be considered actual tasks will simply be queued up behind your one big task in descending order. You’ll complete your biggest and ugliest “frog” first, and the second biggest and
ugliest frog second.
For those remaining to-dos, the best option is to put them on a to-do list. Once you do this, you clear them out of your headspace, allowing you to focus more on the big task at hand. The best part, is that you can now
designate some time within your day in order to attack those issues. For instance, you can spend 20 minutes at the end of each working day making sure to work through small to-dos. This means they’ll never pile up
and become overwhelming, and you’ll never forget something that ends up causing you a lot of stress!
Of course, these rules are not set in stone. Different people work differently, and the best strategy for you may depend on the type of work you prefer.
But the key take-home is that by employing strict rules, you can make sure that you don’t end up overwhelmed by tasks as they come in. This in turn allows you to work during more defined hours, and avoid letting your work spill over into your downtime. All that can be a game-changer for your craft business time management.
Remember, these rules are adaptable, and finding the right strategy depends on your individual work style. By establishing and adhering to strict rules, you can avoid feeling overwhelmed, define your working hours, and maintain a healthy work-life balance. These proven rules have been embraced by countless professionals and can be a game-changer for your craft business productivity.
As we wrap up this chapter on mastering time management for your craft business, we hope you’ve found valuable insights to enhance your productivity. Don’t forget to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below—your input is invaluable to our growing community of craft entrepreneurs. Stay tuned for more chapters packed with tips and strategies to elevate your work-from-home experience. Craft on and keep the conversation going—share your thoughts and stay connected with fellow crafters below!