Time Management and Organisation

This is one for my fellow biz-minded guys and girls with some of my tips to staying sane and organised in life and business.

Running your own business is always a huge challenge when it comes to getting sh*t done, amiright? Especially when you’re appointments based and trying to manage a sessions diary that rarely gives you more than 24hr notice. So how can it be done?

Now, I am no expert here and am on a constant learning curve and ebb and flow of manic weeks, quiet weeks and the steady in-between weeks. I have zero routine or regularity and it can really make you feel off balance and never feel “safe.” But I’ve been in this industry 9 years now and have slowly but surely learnt a few tricks that work for me, both on a practical and emotional level and I’d love to share them with you!

Being self-employed (and motivated, managed etc) is the greatest freedom we can achieve in our working lives, idyllic and dreamy because you can simply “work whenever you want, right?!” WRONG! My life as a business owner in charge of my own income and destiny means I regularly feel like I’m never really at work (because I love what I do and I can be flexible, plus I’m always multi-tasking: think replying to emails whilst watching Love Island) but also that I’m never really “off-work” either. Days off for me mean replying to emails, diary organising, social media or website updates, kit cleaning and packing, filling out client paperwork, doing tax returns, ordering stock, renewing insurance, getting fuel and so on and so on…. its never ending! And when you do finally sit down for a cup of tea, you feel guilty for not doing more for your business. After all, you get out what you put in right?

These constant feelings have been a huge battle for me and things that I have worked really hard on overcoming since taking my nail work full time.

So my first tip is paperwork, the boring route of all organisation. Find a system that works for you- I have to write all appointments down with a paper diary as they are booked or they are forgotten immediately! I have also started bullet journaling in my own way for all other tasks both business and non-business related. Some of you will already be familiar with this method, but I’m not going to explain it here as a quick google search will do it more justice. For me, this involves a big paper pad and pen, writing a list at the start of my free period (i.e. a morning or afternoon off) of all of the things I’d like to get completed in that session, such as post on Instagram, email X client, write a blog post. I can pick them off as I choose and tick them off as they are completed. This has truly changed my organisational life as I no longer have a million ideas swirling around my creative brain all the time resulting in NOTHING being actually achieved.

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My second tip would be to relax! Crazy thought but you cannot pour from an empty cup. Planned to get up early on your free morning to crack on with a certain task but overslept? Don’t beat yourself up, you must’ve needed the sleep and will accomplish the task more effectively later when you are rested. In fact, I believe self-care is a top priority when it comes to efficient business running and should be factored in to every single day! I do around 30 minutes of yoga at home daily which allows me to look after my body which can suffer due to the “hunched over” nature of doing nail treatments, and clear my mind and meditate ready for sleep. I’m slowly learning to be kinder to myself, to not beat myself up if I’m less productive than planned and to praise myself for any achievements.

I also advocate setting yourself some working boundaries to allow proper restful time off: if you’re planning a day out with your partner/children, don’t work. Don’t cancel plans to take on more work and ensure time is made for yourself and others. I don’t reply to ANY clients on a Sunday or after 10pm unless it’s vitally urgent and I don’t see clients before 10am because I regularly work until 10pm. You cannot do everything and you need to create separation between time at work and leisure time to recharge.

My final tip for today is to learn to say no. This is something I have really struggled with as a freelancer. Without a set income you always need to be working as hard as you can! Not necessarily. Work smarter, not harder. I used to get myself into all sorts of tricky situations saying yes to a session job and then realising it was impossible to move my commitments at home. These days I feel a lot more relaxed and philosophical in the knowledge that it will be if it’s meant to be and if it’s too stressful then let it go because it’s not for you. I am always as flexible as I can be but I will turn down a client who can only do a Sunday and I will turn down a shoot if I have too much going on elsewhere. There will be other jobs/clients more suited to you and most people will respect you more for having boundaries.

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I hope there’s some helpful insight in there somewhere for you. Please do comment below if you have any questions or suggestions for anything else you’d like me to write about.