Being a fashion entrepreneur means always having your hands full with one task or the other which can be very draining at times. Many times, chances are that after a full day of working, you find that you have not accomplished as much as you should have which leads to discouragement and frustration.
To avoid being in this cycle of waking up in the morning, spending the day working, and retiring to bed at night only to realise you did not accomplish much during the day you need to learn to manage your time better. Below are 7 tips to help you manage your time better no matter how busy your day might get.
7 Time Management Tips For Fashion Entrepreneurs
Schedule your Time and Write it Down
Each day, there’s most likely a whole truckload of work for you to do and just thinking about them can be overwhelming. That’s why scheduling your time and writing it all down is very important.
Scheduling means having a to-do list and putting a timeframe on each item on that list so your entire day is planned already. While you might feel like you don’t have to write down the things you need to get done because you already have a mental note of them all, you need to remember that you can’t always trust your memory.
So, no matter how large or small the orders your clients have placed for you are, write them all down. If you have, say, 5 pieces of clothes, shoes, or bags to make for a client, write them all out and schedule them then follow your schedule. Scheduling and writing out of your scheduled tasks should be done at the end of the previous day or the beginning of a new day.
You can choose to do it the more traditional way by having a notebook that you always carry around or you can try an online calendar or organiser. Whichever way you decide to go about it, just remember that you cannot effectively manage time without scheduling tasks. Remember, always finish one scheduled task before moving on to the next.
This works in line with the first point. When scheduling your time and tasks, you must do them in order of priority.
To make prioritising your tasks easier, you can choose to separate them into one of 4 quadrants under 4 headings; important, not important, urgent, and not urgent.
- Important and Urgent: This quadrant should be filled with tasks that are important and if not completed immediately attract serious repercussions. You need to put these at the top of your to-do list.
- Important but Not Urgent: These tasks are tasks that you need to get done but not immediately. You can put such tasks somewhere lower than the important and urgent tasks but not too far away that they become urgent.
- Not Important but Urgent: Here, you should place tasks that you do not necessarily need to do yourself but that needs to be done right away. Such tasks can be delegated to someone else.
- Not Important and Not Urgent: Here are tasks that you do not need necessarily need to do. Such tasks should be dropped.
Just by looking at these quadrants, you might not be able to put each task in its place but once you sit and think all your tasks over, it will get easier.
For example, if you have an express order for an outfit, a pair of shoes, or a bag then that task is both important and urgent and should be placed high on your priority list.
Schedule Based on how you Function
By this, I mean you have to study yourself and schedule your tasks based on how your body functions. Everybody has different times in the day when they feel most active and their brain seems to be working most optimally, use these times for more serious tasks.
For example, if you always feel groggy in the morning and cannot seem to get any serious work done, do not schedule tasks like pattern drafting or sewing in the morning because you will spend more time on it than normal. Also, if it is in the morning that your creative juices flow best then schedule tasks like sketching for that time so you can make the best use of every minute of the day.
Whatever works for you is what you should go with.
Automate Some Processes
There is a reason apps were created and that is to make work easier and save time. If you want to manage your time effectively as a fashion entrepreneur then you have to automate some processes.
Instead of working hard, choose to work smart.
As a fashion entrepreneur, you should find apps that can help take some of the work off you. You can automate all your bookkeeping processes so you do not need to spend so much time manually writing down on paper every transaction that goes on in the business.
Other tasks like responding to customer queries on your social media platforms can also be automated to take some of the stress of yourself.
Outsource and Delegate
While you might feel like you need to do everything yourself so all your fashion items can come out perfect, you do need to outsource and delegate certain tasks. As was said in our articles on 10 essential tools every fashion designer needs at the start of business, there are some tasks you can give others to do on your behalf.
Tasks like tacking on buttons, embroidery, weaving, and so on can be outsourced while you focus on tasks like pattern drafting and sewing. Every none core work in the whole fashion design process can be outsourced.
As for delegation, if a task does not require your full attention then you can hand it over to a staff member who can do it for you. If you are not good with social media management then you can hand over your social media pages to someone who is while you focus on other aspects of the business that you are better at.
Always remember, delegation is your best tool to free yourself up to bring the maximum value to the business.
Take Breaks for Brainstorming
As an entrepreneur, you most likely call the shots on most of the processes that go on in your business so you need time to brainstorm. Instead of filling your entire schedule with on the job tasks, allocate some time in between activities to align your progress with your targets.
Go out and do things that boost your creativity levels so you can bring fresh and new ideas to your business. This time should be used for introspection, learning new things, catching up on market trends, and rubbing minds with other entrepreneurs and mentors.
Yes, you read that right, rest. Rest is one thing you cannot afford to boycott as an entrepreneur who wishes to be effective at work. It is said that you cannot cheat nature so do not try to.
Many times, it is easy to get caught up in the whole process of growing your business that you forget to rest but you have to learn to slow down. When you rest, you refresh your mind and let go of the stress that might be building up already in you.
While rest is important. do not overdo it, plan periods of rest in such a way that they can significantly improve your daily productivity. Apart from the rest at night, you can take out small breaks throughout the day to get away from work and just relax a bit, and maybe even hang out with family and friends.