The life of an interior designer looks different every day (more like every hour!). To avoid feeling like a whirlwind of never ending to-do lists, we recommend practicing time management routines on the regular. From organizing your physical space to the latest apps and even bedtime tips, I’m sharing my personal strategies for making the most of your time each day. These tips were learned through trial and error, passed on by high profile mentors, and gleaned from years of interactive seminars and continued education. Without further ado…because the clock’s always ticking!…here are 5 time-saving tips to implement right now.
MAKE DECISIONS IN ADVANCE
Decisions consume anyone’s day, especially in a creative field. Before diving in at random, prioritize your to-do list by urgency (not by the easiest or quickest). If you have client meetings on the books with time breaks between, mark your calendar with which item you’re going to work on and how long you’re going to spend on it. Avoid all other “noise” and put your AirPods in with whatever song motivates you! Once the item is complete, move on to the next, without jumping back and forth. Multitasking often accomplishes a little bit of each task, but never finishes either of them. By laser focusing and committing to a time window, you’re more likely to actually cross items off the list. A set time also discourages “quickly checking Instagram” because you’ve given yourself an allotted amount of time to finish something and feel a sense of accomplishment when it’s DONE.
SAY YES BY SAYING NO
Business lunch meetings take much longer than a scheduled call, vendor presentations eat up valuable time sourcing the actual item you’re looking for, and a “quick” phone call in the middle of a team brainstorming session can derail the entire thing. Even if it’s uncomfortable, and you feel like you’re missing something, saying no feels better than scrambling every day. Align your priorities by saying no (or, rather, not now but later), to say yes to accomplishing your goals and meeting project deadlines.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF TECHNOLOGY
My go-to apps for making my workdays more functional, sane and focused? Asana and Timeular.
- Asana let’s you delegate (another HUGE time saver) tasks to the appropriate people, tracks the task activity paper-trail (hallelujah!), sets deadlines and alerts you when they’re complete.
- Timeular helps you track your time, set progress alerts and generates data-driven results, so you can fine tune where you could better spend that valuable time.
ORGANIZE FOR EFFICIENCY
- Looking all over for swatches and trying to remember where you saved client files and inspiration pics on presentation day is stressful. When systems aren’t in place, it’s easy for things to crumble. Schedule an office organization session with your team or a pro organizer (could even be 2 hours), assign each member an area to sort, file and label and then…assign everyone(!) the responsibility for keeping it in place. Knowing right where your stone, carpet and wall covering samples are means selecting client samples faster, getting out the door quicker and having a peaceful environment to work in. To quote Benjamin Franklin: “For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned”.
- If you are like me, I have on average 5 deliveries a day – from Amazon to the mailman. Assign each member of your staff a specific day to handle answering the doorbell and sorting packages for everyone.
With all of the above tips in motion, the goal is to gain more time to refuel yourself. To fill your creative cup in the world of interior design, means letting your mind take a break, exploring new places, getting to know someone new, trying new restaurants (and eyeing the decor while you’re there!) and getting enough rest. Some of my most productive days are outlined the night before. Taking a look at the calendar, reprioritizing where necessary and making sure things like my toolkit are ready to go, sets me up for success the next day. Bonus: I also rest easier knowing I’m prepared and get the sleep I need for the next day.