Hey guys! I’m Ellie from Mint and I’m here with a new project Margot and I are starting called Howdy Do It.
If you read Mint, you may know a little bit about this already… but if not, the short version of my story is that my husband and I were laid off from our graphic design jobs in September. It was really sudden, and I felt lucky to have some freelance projects started in addition to wedding design work from my shop Hello Tenfold. Since being laid off, I’ve heard from tons of people who are in our same situation. It’s not a great economy to be a designer (or much else, for that matter!). So, I know I’m not alone in trying to make my way as newly self-employed. Margot and I commiserated on the difficulties of time management and organization, and when she proposed a series on the topic I was all for it. Not only did I think this series would be helpful for other people in our same situation, but I thought it might help us to have the topic on our minds each week and maybe learn by doing. That’s the plan. So I’ll be here each Monday and Margot will be over on Mint discussing ways to get organized, get stuff done, and how to go about it. (And if you’ve got some ideas, please share!)
The first thing I noticed when I didn’t have to go to work for 8 hours every day was how quickly the days flew by. Two weeks of this, and I was starting to get panicky. At the end of each day I couldn’t believe it was over, and I also couldn’t pinpoint what I had gotten done. My to-do list (which includes managing my blog, shop, freelance design projects, along with sending out resumes and gathering a portfolio) was never-ending and causing a lot of stress.
Although I had never kept a time log before, I thought it might be a good way for me to figure out what, exactly, I was doing all day. It turned out to be very eye-opening in terms of where my time goes, and also kept me on task throughout the day (like oh crap, if I stop to watch an episode of Project Runway, I’ll have to write it down!). I realized I was getting done more than I thought I was, but that I was being unrealistic about how long things really take. It was perfect for those “I’m overwhelmed and frozen” moments, because I had to push through to the next task for the log. Sounds crazy, but whatever works, right?
So my challenge to you this week is to keep a time log for at least one entire day. I’ve made pdfs for you to download and print so that your time log will be pretty (and enticing, hopefully). My goal was to do it for a whole week, but after three days I’d had my fill. Sometimes I pick the log up again when I’m feeling especially overwhelmed with the number of things on my to-do list, and it really helps. In those situations, it’s not about monitoring my time, but making sure I’m actually doing something.
If you give it a shot, let us know how it goes for you! Good luck and… ’til next week!