“The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.” – Stephen R. Covey
Owning your own biz means that it is likely you wear many hats. Some of these hats are #chicAF- think Instagram/meeting Clients, and some not so much- ummm taxes anyone? How do you wear all the hats on your head at once, and give them all the attention they so desperately need?
#1: You don’t.
Step 1 is easy-ish. Find people that are better than you at the tasks that don’t make you money. AKA- hire a friggen accountant. Typing expenses into a spreadsheet is important, but it doesn’t make you money, and someone is way faster than you at it. Our accountant is the BOMB- message us if you want his info. Understand how to prioritize your time, and understand that there are things that you’re just not the best at.
#2: Do a timeline.
Map out your project, all of the components, and all of the people necessary in a timeline. Get the timeline approved by anyone involved (team, volunteers, contractors, clients), and then keep everyone (including yourself) accountable. We used TeamGantt, because it is THE BOMB, and because it links to your google calendar, so you know when a task is starting and how long you have to achieve it.
In fact, we are SO set on being on time that we include it in our 5 Rules of Play in our contracts for clients. The first goes like this:
“TIMELINES: At Trout + Taylor we are obsessed with amazing design. Part of the design process is keeping up creative momentum throughout the project. For this reason we are proud to call ourselves Timeline Maniacs. We believe in delivering on time, and to ensure everything stays on track please review the provided timeline and agree that you will be able to complete your portion of the timeline by the scheduled date. Be prepared for Trout + Taylor to be persistent in their pursuit of being on time – we may (read: will definitely) be reminding you when your deadline is approaching.”
In our industry (branding), there are our clients as well a variety of mini-projects within each client’s project (ie. business cards, document design, packaging design), so even after we’ve done their logo & brand identity, there are lots of pieces to manage.
TeamGantt is about $40 a month, but it changed our project management game. I searched for something with this level of functionality & ease for about 6 months. I did the work for you. You’re welcome.
#3: Do a KANBAN chart.
We are always down for cool apps, digital tools, and saving paper, but sometimes you just gotta write sh*t out. Kanban is a quick way to monitor all your projects/items on your to-do list at once.
We have ours on a white board, with five categories (Needs, WIP- Work in Progress, On Hold, Invoice, Done). We write all of our clients on a sticky note and move them down the line whenever they’ve progressed to the next stage.
#4: Brain dump.
Dump all the things in your brain on paper (some say doing this at the end of the day for the following morning is best, but I function better doing this in the am). List out all the things you need to do that day, and prioritize your tasks based on urgent/important. If you missed that day in university, and don’t know what this means- here’s an explanation: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_91.htm. Seeing all your tasks written down in front of you helps break down your days in digestible chunks so you’ll be more productive and get more done in less time.
Do these 4 things (or any of them) and you’ll find that time is on your side.
- Ais from Trout + Taylor
We are Trout + Taylor, a branding and graphic design studio based in Calgary and Toronto. We care about creating compelling and inspiring brands and visuals for cool humans with cool businesses.
Trout + Taylor was spearheaded by us, Aislinn Grant and Caitlin Wharton, because we share a passion for not only creating exceptional designs, but creating an exceptionally run business.
We run each of our branding clients through a six-part workshop. We invest the time because we want to elevate the entrepreneur community by developing both their visual style, but also helping them get grounded in their brand strategy so they can continue to kick ass for years to come.