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I was running a successful fashion business -- but was working to exhaustion and spinning my wheels. I found my way out through time management and building systems that worked for me.

my time management story

“I just can’t do it all!  I’m really overwhelmed right now.”

Sound familiar?  I hear hear this from my fashion designer clients about 3x a month.

I have felt the anxiety you’re feeling now about managing your time, being productive, and getting it all done. You’re starting a fashion business, launching a line, or trying to stay above water with the fashion business you’ve begun.

I’ve definitely been there. There was a time in my business, when I just COULD NOT get it all done and couldn’t understand why not.  For many years I worked very hard at designing the Jane Hamill line, being in charge of production, selling the line to boutiques and department stores, and running my own Jane Hamill boutique.  I was used to long hours, hard work, staying organized, and being productive.  The business was successful, growing quickly, and I made a great living (you can read more about my former fashion business here).  And for the most part, I liked it and enjoyed the ride.

But let me tell you, after a number of years, I started to burn out. I became cranky, exhausted, overwhelmed, and unsure of my next move. I couldn’t keep up with everything and had no idea what was important work and what I could delegate or just ignore.  I started to lose touch with where I wanted the fashion business to go and what my goals were. I had good people around me but I didn;t give them any power to take care of projects. I was a major micro-manager.

One day, I saw a book with a phrase that went something like this… “You claim to hate the ‘where are my keys?’ drama but you don’t do anything to change your behavior, do you?”  Man, it hit me right between the eyes – as though they wrote it just for me.  “Hey Jane, do ya think you could get a key hook and stop wasting 10 minutes every morning? Not to mention the added stress?”  Duh.

That was a big AHA moment.  Yes, I was already efficient.  But I needed to be more EFFECTIVE and get more of the RIGHT things done.  I needed to stop wasting time on stuff that wasn’t really important to the goals I had for my fashion business.

I made a lot of mistakes along the way, some that cost me a lot of money and even more that cost me a frustrating amount of time.  And I HATE wasting time.  Don’t get me wrong – I love spending time doing nothing.  Or relaxing. Or just staring into space.  Time doing these things is not at all wasted.  For me, that’s time well-spent.

But time spent on the WRONG things, now that just bugs me. When I work, I want to get the most done possible in the shortest amount of time. (So I can spend more time staring into space, of course).  I want all my work time to be spent moving me considerably closer to the goals I have for my business.  For me, any tasks that don’t fit this criteria count as time wasted.

So I started getting serious about maximizing my time at work to get the BEST RESULTS I could out of my days.  I wanted to work 7 – 8 hours a day, not 12 – 15.  I tried a lot of different things to be more productive; some were great and some failed miserably.  I created systems and rules for myself and my business to work smarter, not harder.  At first it was hard, but I kept at it.  And it worked.  I started enjoying work more (while working less) and life was good.  In 2007 (after 14 years and now with 2 little boys!) I sold my business and started consulting.  It’s my true pleasure to help other creative people on the way to success.  I really love it.

If you really want to block out some of the noise and move your business forward, I recommend you get your act together. No, really. All this struggle with time management and productivity prompted me to create an online class just for fashion designers and creative types. It’s called “Time management for Designers” and it’s changed my life. It’s helped a lot of entrepreneurs and it could help you too. You can find it at:

Enjoy and feel free to let me know other topics you’d like me to cover.

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