Time Audit: What Are Your Spending Habits?
As the old adage goes, time is money. Time is truly the only universal currency, and not know exactly how yours is spent is like not keeping track of your finances. Let’s explore some vital strategies to avoid going bankrupt.
Work To The Deadline
Working in a creative field often means working around deadlines. Sometimes, even multiple deadlines simultaneously. Balancing this sort of juggling act requires an intimate knowledge of your workflow. Being able to accurately estimate how long a project will take can help prevent you from committing to projects that require more time than you have available, or pay a flat rate that’s too little for the time it will take.
Track Your Performance
Without a body of data to analyze, these guesses will be rough, at best. The next time you begin a project, keep detailed notes of your entire workday. When you start or finish a task, make note of the time and write a summary of what you were able to complete during this window. If you were working digitally, save out a copy of your project file. When the project is complete, you’ll know exactly how long it took to reach each step along the way, and you’ll have a log you can use to retrace your steps and find areas for improvement. For freelancers, this is vital in determining your hourly rate and ensuring adherence to deadlines.
Avoid Time Wasters
Developing good time-keeping habits will not only help you to optimize your workflow but also to hold yourself accountable. A typical workday can consist of any number of non-creative tasks. Responding to emails, sending invoices, checking Instagram. 5 minutes here and there may not feel like much, but they add up. Without a visual aid to quantify that time, you may not realize just how much of your day is spent off-task. Having the data to show you may be all it takes to help refocus.
Adopt Tools That Work For You
There are countless timekeeping, calendar, and invoicing tools that can aid in this process. Whether it be on your phone, computer, or even on paper, find what works for you, and stick with it. Over time, you’ll find that the data you amass will become indispensable. At the end of the day, we all have 24 hours, all that matters is how you use them.
Taylor is the Managing Editor of Notes on Design. Taylor is a graphic designer, illustrator, and Design Lead at Weirdsleep.