I must say, with an energetic toddler running about & a career (put on hold) as a special education teacher, I've got some time saving tips under my belt. These have luckily transferred over to running my business & I thought I'd jot some down and share them, because while some may be obvious, they will hopefully help, or at least give a little push in the tush to get things done!
*Prioritize To-Do Lists: It might not be good enough to write out a list, it can help to prioritize those must do things! Here are some ideas-
"Front Burner and Back Burner,"or "By the end of the day" column with a "By the end of the week" column or Top: Business Items Bottom: Household Items (keep these separate)
Attention: Any paper artists out there, I'd love to see a to do list dedicated to prioritizing :)
*Do It In Batches: Obvious, I know. But somehow I missed this when I just started out on Etsy. Instead of cutting, making, listing, shipping....and repeat...try doing those steps (or whatever it is you do) all together. Same goes for checking/responding to convos & emails, taking photographs, etc.
*Use A Timer: Might seem a little like punching a time clock, but as a special education teacher I learned those little timers can do wonders to help you complete dreaded tasks, keep you focused, & provide incentive. Having a sluggish day? Set the timer for 20 mins, get to work, and when it beeps you can stand back & admire your own initiative!
*Limit Time Wasters: Going along with the timer thing, limit time wasters in a quantifiable way (because it just doesn't work to say, "just for a little bit"). Allow yourself to send 5 personal emails. Give yourself 10 mins to romp around on Facebook. Choose 3 of your favorite blogs and read them. Only them.
*Take Meaningful Breaks: Every business (except maybe a few...) seems to know that taking breaks is important. The key though is to really make the most of out them. Think about what your body/mind/creative spirit needs & then fill it up (i.e. yoga, exercise, music, a latte, whatever) just don't take a break & waste it on a repeat of "Child Stars from the 80's- Where Are They Now?" Use the timer if you need to.
*Don't Waste A Trip: Whether it's from the studio to the kitchen or from home to the office supply store- either way, go prepared, armed with everything you need. When I leave a room, I always check to see if there is something (such as trash or random items) that can be tidied along the way..this saves cleaning later on!
*O.H.I.O. (Only Handle It Once): I learned this as a teacher....touch something, find it a home, and be done with it. No more drifting supplies & work areas.
*"Measure Twice, Cut Once": This old adage certainly is true for sewing but it applies to everything. Just do it right the first time (allowing for good ol honest mistakes of course) but it can really save in the long run to double check addresses, shipping costs, and shop announcements.
*Delegate: This can be the fun one. Need some time together? Invite your spouse/friend to join in the tasks. (I was pleasantly surprised when my husband joined in with the holiday rush- we put the baby to bed, turned on some music, lit a few candles...and shipped some orders!) I've also had a fabric cutting party with friends- amazing what drink & food & friendship can accomplish!
Please add any other tips & tricks you've got....I can use all the help I can get!