5 essential time management tips for fashion designers: You are the boss of your time

Time Management for Fashion Designers (1) 5

Having trouble getting it all done?  We’ve all been there.  You have huge plans, like launching a fashion line, but managing your time isn’t easy, especially for creative people like fashion designers.  But before you use that as an excuse, check out these tips about getting more done in the same amount of time.

“You are not the boss of me!”

Surely you remember this great line from when you were 6 or 7 years old? (I heard it from my son on Saturday).  YOU are in charge of your time – nobody else.  You have to be RUTHLESS with your time if you really want to be get more done in a day.  In this spirit, here are a few tips for you to try…

#1.  Re-think the use of your cell phone. My phone rings/beeps/texts/emails 50 times a day but I probably answer it about 5 times a day.  It’s not because I don’t want to talk/text/email the other 45 times; it’s just that if I do, I’ll never get any actual WORK done.

We’ve probably all experienced a day where we felt busy but seemed to get nothing accomplished.  Chances are it was a day we spent every 10 minutes answering the phone and emails etc.  You don’t need to jump every time you beep – even though you may think you do.  If you’re really honest, most every call, even from a prospective customer, can wait a half a day to be answered.

#2.  Focus time is your friend. When was the last time you concentrated on one task exclusively for 2 hours?  Yes, I’m talkin’ no music, no background TV, no phone, no emails – nothin’ honey.  I won’t lie and say it’s easy.  But it is SO SO SO effective.

In my own experience and when I study my clients, I find multi-tasking simply doesn’t work as well as blocking out time for specific tasks.  I don’t think our brains work as well when we try to do too much.  Here’s how it works for me.  Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I block out 10 am – 12 pm.  During these 2 hours, I turn off my phone and internet and concentrate on new courses and traiings I’m developing for designers.  I actually turn these 3 days into a series of blocks.

You might look at this and say, Jane, you really only work about 4 hours a day!  And you ‘d be right.  But I guarantee you I get more done than most people do in a typical 8 hour day – when I am truly disciplined with my time.

A Day with Focus Time

6:45 – 7:15 check email

7 am – 8 am breakfast, kids

8 am – 9 am workout

9 am – 10 am shower, straighten up

10 am – 11 am FOCUS TIME

11 am – 12 pm FOCUS TIME

12 pm – 1 pm check email, lunch

1 pm – 2 pm client call

2 pm – 3 pm client call

3 pm – 4 pm check email, straighten up house

4 pm – 5 pm pick up kids

5 pm – 6 pm dinner

#3.  Skip that meeting. Here’s how I used to work.  A designer calls and says, “Jane, I’m interested in high level consulting because I need help getting more wholesale orders.”  I say “Great!  Let’s meet at a coffee shop at 1:00 Thursday.”  So I drive there (30 minutes), meet with the designer (60 minutes), drive home (30 minutes).  I’ve spent an hour and a half – minimum.

What I do now is suggest a 15 minute chat session on the phone.  I also ask a prospective client to read a few things before we chat (on my blog or info I send them) so they know a bit about how consulting works.  This way, by the time we talk, they usually already know whether or not they want to be a client and our chat session becomes a chance for me to learn more about their fashion business to see if and how I can help.  Everyone saves time and energy and we get right down to business to help the designer reach their goals.

#4.  Speaking of goals, ask yourself: “Is what I’m doing – this minute – moving me closer to my goals?” You really want to fight to do only things that are related directly to your goals.  Do you want to start your own clothing line?  If you’re doing stuff that’s not going to get you where you want to go, delegate it (even to an intern) or drop it.  Now.  For instance, if your goal is to sell to 6 new stores this season, write that goal on an index card near your desk and check in with yourself about what you’re doing to reach that goal.  Do you need to schlep things back and forth to the factory?  Is there someone else that can do it?  How can you streamline the process?

And one more thing…

#5. Think about your computer’s home screen. Set it to something not too tempting.  If you get sucked into celebrity news, make sure it doesn’t pop up when you get online.  Save it for after-work hours.

So now it’s your turn. What’s your biggest take-away from this list? What’s worked for you in the past? Please share it in the comments below.



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