Being your own boss has a lot of benefits, like choosing your own dress code and stocking the mini fridge with your favorite flavors of lacroix. One downside is learning how to manage your time so you can actually ‘clock out’ on nights and weekends.
Loving what you do makes it easy to work all the time, but that still doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Learning to separate your work time and rest time is an essential part of running a productive, efficient business. Giving yourself the time to recover, relax, and recharge actually makes you more productive during your working hours.
So here’s my very best advice on how to manage your time in your jewelry business.
1. Use a project management system
No matter how good your memory is, it’s no match for technology. Putting your tasks and priorities into a project management system like Asana, Basecamp, or Trello is a lifesaver. Things fall through the cracks when you’re a solopreneur, but as your team grows these apps help keep everyone on the same page. Plus, there’s peace of mind knowing you’re literally checking things off the “to-do” list. No more waking up at midnight in a cold sweat wondering if you replied to that email or shipped that order!
2. Use a CRM
Again, technology is your friend when it comes to organization and time management. Customer relationship management (CRM) systems help you keep track of your accounts and clients so you’re following up with everyone at the appropriate time. You can set up reminders to contact your accounts every few months, update contact information, and even track sales! Having all the information about your dream clients (including birthdays!) in one place helps you use your time efficiently. You don’t want to waste time searching for that torn napkin with a phone number scribbled on it.
3. Plan your day/week beforehand
Managing your time starts with managing your calendar. Each month you should have an idea of a few projects you want completed. Breaking this down by week and then by day helps you have simple steps towards a larger goal that’s going to move your business forward. I recommend having 3 priorities per day, 3 goals per week. Once you have those 3 priorities complete for the day, you know you’re on the right track. Otherwise, you’ll get caught up in the day-to-day tasks of your business and not focus on bringing in revenue.
4. Time Block
Once you know your 3 daily priorities, block out time in your calendar for them. You can literally schedule a meeting with yourself in your Google calendar or something to hold yourself accountable. Especially when it comes to revenue generating activities (RGAs) you have to be consistent. Blocking out this time on your calendar is the biggest favor you can do for the health of your business. Just like Mark Cuban says, “sales cure all” so if you have enough money coming into your business, you can fix other problems as they come up.
5. Work in sprints
It’s impossible to be productive all the time. Managing your working time also means managing your non-working time. You have to schedule in breaks, otherwise you’ll quickly get burned out. Set a timer and work for 45 minutes, then take a 15 minute break. You can also experiment with a Pomodoro method of time management. Establish a task to be done. Set a timer for 25 minutes, when the timer goes off put a checkmark on a piece of paper. If you have fewer than 4 checkmarks, take a 2-3 minute break. If you have more than 4 checkmarks, take a longer break. When you come back, start your checkmarks over again at zero.
6. Make your breaks count
During your breaks it’s important to change it up! Get outside, take a walk, and stretch. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. Especially if you’re doing creative work, try switching up the scenery. Feeling stuck in your studio or cooped up behind a computer is not the best way to get inspired! Maybe spend your 15 minute break walking to a local coffee shop with your laptop to work there in the afternoon!
7. Hire help
The only way to get the most done with your time is by outsourcing tasks you’re not naturally good at. This doesn’t mean hiring people in another country, it just means bringing in help so you can focus on what you love. You don’t have to be the one categorizing your business transactions – hire a bookkeeper! If you’re not good at graphic design, scheduling emails, or writing blog posts, hire a virtual assistant!
I call this the freedom method, but it has lots of names. It all boils down to doing the work you’re naturally gifted in doing – like designing jewelry, talking with customers, or sharing your story. True visionaries know they don’t have to do everything in their business. Start practicing these tips on how to manage your time by only saying “yes” to the creative work you do best!
Want more ideas on how to focus on the creative work and still move your business forward? Grab our free Master Your Day Checklist!
Tracy Matthews is the Chief Visionary Officer of Flourish & Thrive Academy, an educational community dedicated to helping independent jewelry brands attract the RIGHT customers, get consistent sales, and grow businesses that support any vision of success.
Tracy started her career as an independent jewelry designer in the 90’s. Since then, her jewelry has been sold in over 350 stores internationally and featured in the hottest magazines like InStyle, Elle, and Glamour. Celebrity customers include Halle Berry, Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon and more!
She now hosts the top-rated business & lifestyle podcast, Thrive By Design and is the owner and designer at TracyMatthews.com where she specializes in heirloom redesign and custom bespoke pieces.
You can grab her FREE Master Your Day Checklist to keep all of these tips right by your side. For jewelry business programs, personalized business coaching, and one-of-a-kind community support visit www.flourishthriveacademy.com