+ Guest Blogger Rosie Red shares her ultimate guide to mastering time management
Before we get into this blog, I would like to share a seemingly irrelevant fact about me: I used to have a cookie dough business. Bare with me, this is going somewhere.
The dough was egg-free and safe to eat without cooking. You could use it to make cost effective cookie dough ice cream. Amazeballs, right?
Before you ask, yes, the taste of my cookie dough did make me orgasm; and yes, I did eat most of the profits.
Reader: “Err Jess no one asked you either of these questions…”
Eventually, I realised that providing high sugar, high-fat products to emotionally unstable females was not in alignment with my values. I put cute inspirational quotes in every package, but in the end, this did not outweigh the bad stuff my product was doing to my customer’s bodies. In November 2014 I made the final decision to close my business and six months later got into property.
During my cookie dough adventures, my friend Rosie (founder of Rosie Red Corsetry & Couture) taught me an important lesson: How to manage my time efficiently.
Imagine this scenario:
- You work on a trade stall all day
- You get home at 8pm shattered.
- You spend the evening/early hours of the morning faffing around and preparing for the next day’s work. Finishing around 3am.
- You get two to three hours of sleep (if you are lucky)
- You get up at 6am to start your day again
As you can see this is not a sustainable model.
Luckily, for my trade stall, I had recruited my very good friends Rosie (of Rosie Red) and my friend Shahin who kindly offered a second pair of hands.
This trade stall event was three days long. It was cold. It was raining. I was a wet, stressy mess. Bless my friends for their tolerance.
I was constantly rushing around, faffing, stressing, trying to make everything about the stall perfect. My dearest darling Rosie saw this mess and by the end of the first day when I am about to break, she said six words that hit home:
“Babe, your time management is sh*t.”
I cannot tell you how much I appreciated this comment. I asked Rosie what I could do to improve my time management for the next two days, plus the rest of my life. Rosie sat me down for 30 minutes and schooled me in time management techniques. I learned a lot from Rosie that day, and I continue to do so.
Rosie is also a one woman business (although now she has interns). She’s done work for celebrities such as Helena Bonham Carter, Billie Piper, had Madonna’s people request items. Plus Rosie gets commissioned to make wedding dresses for people. In short, Rosie is an incredibly talented designer who cannot afford to procrastinate, be disorganised or miss deadlines.
In my eyes she has, and has had to, master the skill of time management. So, just for you guys I have asked Rosie to share six simple tips you can use to improve your own time management:
Time management is something I have always prided myself on. I really do make sure everything gets done, and if I can’t work out a way, sometimes I think maybe there just isn’t one. Here are my six simple tips for improving your own time management:
1. Write lists
I live by a list. Being a one-woman business means that I have to prioritise every little detail. I even include things on my lists such as if I need to wash my hair!
I’m quite a forgetful character (seeing as I have a zillion things to juggle), so being prepared with a list means that nothing slips my mind.
I also feel that having a list means that you aren’t wasting time during the day, you have definite goals, and can see if you have achieved them. Crossing them off your list is such a great feeling too!
2. Be realistic
Keeping a list is all well and good (and highly recommended!) But please be realistic. My list for a day might read:
- Pattern cut dress for bride (Sarah)
- Applique 5 flowers
- Reply to emails regarding interns
- Meet Jess for dinner
- Wash hair
This list is achievable. I know from my experience that I can do this in a day, so it is a reasonable request to put upon myself. It is good to push yourself and set challenging limits, but being realistic is far more important. Being realistic is a sustainable skill you will need to learn if you want to manage your time successfully. Don’t be over-optimistic, and likewise don’t be over-pessimistic: balance is key.
The request to write this blog post has been sat in my inbox for a little while, because it hasn’t (so sorry!) been at the top of my priority list. As I write, I am in the full flow of wedding season, and getting my bride’s dresses finished to perfection has had to come first.
Prioritising isn’t rude or doesn’t mean that you’re careless, it simply means you know which order things need to be done in. Simply put, sometimes it may be more important for me to put another couple of hours into work one evening than to wash the car.
4. Give more time than is needed
If you are new to this time management thing, then can I recommend you take the time you think it will take to complete a task, and double it (at least)! This falls into the same category as being realistic.
It can help to put an approx time in brackets by the task you need to do. This is another way to check that you can fit it all in! If you find your jobs haven’t taken as long as you thought, then score! Time for a gin and tonic and a sunbathe…
I have a friend who always grossly underestimates the time things will take. Down to the extent that although she lives 20 minutes away, always says she will be over in 10. She won’t be, it’s not possible.
5. Don’t leave things till last minute!
This is a personal pet hate. Sometimes our schedules are just too tight that certain jobs will be more last-minute than others. I always like to know that I have completed bridal commissions at least one week before the deadline.
If I need to go into hospital, fall ill, or get invited on a last minute holiday: I want to know I can go! If you have the time spare to complete more of the job you are working on, then why not just stop procrastinating? You really will reap the rewards.
6. Reward yourself and value sleep
This leads me on to my final point: always reward yourself! All work and no play really do make “Jack a dull boy.” Because I manage my time for the working week, it means I can play equally hard. My social life is absolutely key to my happiness, and without giving myself a reward, I just wouldn’t have the motivation.
And finally, sleep. I cannot stress this enough. My job is highly technical, and working on someone’s wedding dress when it is likely to be the most important and special piece of clothing they will ever buy, means that I can’t make a crap job of it. There is no “winging it” when making someone’s wedding dress. It’s just not professional.
Our bodies need sleep to do a good job. It is as simple as that. I don’t understand when someone eats a “clean diet” and drinks coconut water but then gets three hours sleep a night. Your body needs sleep to function. The same job will take me five hours to complete on an overtired overworked brain, and about an hours work on a well-rested brain. Nurture your body.
Life is still stressful at times, and so is work, but I honestly believe that learning some simple time management skills can massively reduce this. It helps keep everything in perspective and lets us know that we really can achieve our goals.
Thank you so much for having me as a guest blogger <3
And thank you Rosie for sharing! I love reading your writing.
Roise makes so many great points. I am still guilty of writing a list that would take a week to achieve, then expecting myself to do it in a day.
The result? Working till midnight, or later, trying to get the list done but end up tried and too foggy brained to do anything productive. I find myself aimlessly clicking on things, not sure why I was on this website or what I was looking for in the first place.
Any other workaholics know the feeling?
From now on, I want to write a realistic list and once that is done, RELAX. Read a book. Go to the gym. Write. Whatever chills me out.
I can schedule my other tasks for the next day or later in the week.
It’s funny isn’t it, six simple ideas that we all know work but how many of us actually do them?
Please join me today in adopting Rosie’s six simple tips so we can start getting our shit together. YAY!
- Write a to do list
- Be realistic with what you can achieve in one day
- Prioritise the most important and urgent tasks first
- Allocate more time to tasks than is needed
- Don’t leave things to last minute
- Reward yourself and value sleep. This is the long term will help you be more productive with your time.
To see some of Rosie’s breath-taking dresses go to:
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