Those of us in a creative business must learn to manage our time effectively to be successful. We often feel that responding to emails or answering client questions bog us down. We always seem to have a never-ending list of tasks to get done. I have found that time blocking is necessary for me to fit everything into my life. Here are some guidelines to help you time block and see your productivity soar.
- Set aside time for your emails. It can be easy to spend hours answering inquiries. Instead, time block thirty minutes to an hour to answer emails when you first get to work. At lunch and just before ending your day, check again briefly to make sure there are no immediate responses needed in your inbox.
- Give your days a theme. There are so many things to accomplish in a day. When you give your day a theme, you tend to organize your work better and switch from left brain to right brain less frequently. Some of the themes I use are finances, prospecting, marketing, and others. On my finances day, I will send out invoices and check on my bank accounts, as an example. Having an entire day set aside for a particular task helps me to focus in and get a lot more done.
- Make a “bite size” task list. When you set aside a period of time for a task, make sure it is something you can finish. Don’t give yourself an hour to hire a new staff member, for instance. Instead, make a list more along the lines of “post job listing online” or “put job in newspaper.” These now become tasks you can check off your list and move on from.
Once you learn to time block, you will be able to better eliminate the distractions that come up throughout the day. It can be a hard habit to get into, but try time blocking in your business and see how much easier your work days can get.
Being able to create a good design is a wonderful gift to have. It can give your business a level or market interest, credibility, and beauty unlike anything else. It is not a fix-all, though. If you have issues that are unsolved in your business, it cannot cover them up. Instead, it is merely a surface change when the business needs something much deeper.
There are a few things that branding will not fix for your business. You will need to be aware of these to build a solid business and know when to hire a designer, rather than merely putting up new designs to cover over a problem.
- Rebranding will not fix a product that is bad. It can be easy for a small business to have their entire identity wrapped up in a particular service or product. Yes, we should believe in what we have been called to do, but we also need to listen to the market and what it is telling us. What you have may not be a good fit for the market. If you spend the time and money to brand a product that the market has no interest in, that is a huge mistake. You will need to find a place where your passion meets a need within the market.
- Rebranding cannot cover over your customer experience or organization. Yes, people will be looking at your visual branding as their first impression. If they want to invest money, though,
they will look beyond your branding, especially if what you have comes with a hefty price tag. They will read reviews and talk with their friends. They will read up on as much information as they can find about your business. Your business can be “beautiful” but, if it doesn’t wow the client because of your history of client experiences, it will not draw them in to hiring you.
- Your lack of direction or business strategy cannot be fixed with rebranding. Your branding is a way to bring in a specific type of person to your product. If you don’t know how to bring them in and, instead, try to appeal to everyone, you will end up with a brand that is too generic to really work. To put it simply, the more you know about your target audience, the better you can target your branding.
Make sure to check your motives when you start looking to rebrand. If you try to rebrand your products while dealing with these issues, it will make things much harder for your business to be successful. It will not make your designer very happy with you either.