How To Find Time To Work On Your Business, Not Just In It

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So you want to spend some time working on your design business, not just in it. But you can’t find the time.

You spend all your time looking for clients or designing for clients, and by the time the evening comes, you’re shattered and just want to watch Netflix.

How do you find time to work on your design biz without giving up your client work (which brings in the money), and your free time, which helps you stay sane?


In this video, I’m going to show you how to free up up to 4 hours per day, and no, that’s no exaggeration.

First, I have a question: if you had a spare 1, 2, 3 or 4 hours per day, what would you use that time for?

Many might say they want to:

  • Organise their inbox

  • Set up a new project management system

  • Take on and train a much needed VA

  • Organise their design business so it isn’t so stressful to run

You may feel like you have no spare time to work on your own business, but you do. You’re just not prioritizing correctly and you’re wasting time each day on things that don’t actually matter.

I know because I did and still sometimes do the same things.

I’m not talking about client work or marketing… I’m talking about small things you waste time on each day without realizing.

Let’s dive in to what they are and how to kick them to the curb.

How to find time to work on your business, not just in it

1. Decrease the time you spend on your phone

According to eMarketer, the average person spends 3 hours and 57 minutes on their phone each day. It sounds crazy and you may think you don’t - so why not download Moment and find out?

I thought this was crazy until I did it. I spend about 3.5 hours each day on my phone.

Moment also tells you what apps you spend most time on. You'll find it’s usually apps like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

What good is this really doing? Looking at pictures of people's decor, holidays and dogs? Watching Instagram stories of people's lives? I think we're spending this amount of time on our phones out of sheer boredom and bad habits, and it's important to put those things to good use.

When you cut out the social media use, that’s hours you'll gain each day.

2. Set boundaries on social media usage

There’s a daily limits feature in Moment. It gives you a limit each day on your apps and then kicks you off by vibrating non-stop and making an awful sound until you lock your phone.

This is a GREAT way to ensure you’re not getting distracted and you're using your time wisely.

It will take you a few weeks to get used to these time limits, but it's worth it. Just think of the hours you'll save each week from simply putting down your phone!  

3. Get up earlier

You can add as much as 2 hours to your day every single day by waking earlier! You can get so much done in 2 hours for your own business.

Some of the tasks you could be doing include:

  • Emails

  • Set up or refine systems

  • Refine your design process

  • Look for a VA

  • Refine your contract

  • Set up a better invoicing system

That’s 10 hours a week working on your own business!

4. Find a daily routine that works for you

How productive your day is depends on your routine. I found that when I woke up when I wanted and didn’t go to the gym, I didn’t get much done.

When I get up early and go to the gym, I’m invigorated and get lots done throughout the day!

According to Daily Health Post, exercise has been proven to increase mental focus and acuity for up to ten whole hours post-workout. If you're working out on an evening, you're not making the most of those ten hours of boosted brain power and productivity! Work out in the morning and you'll set up your day for insane productivity throughout the day.

5. Sometimes, you'll have to work on the weekend

If you have a day job and need to find time to work on your business, you may have to work on the weekend.

Just remember it's only temporary until you quit your day job and think of your big picture dream while you do it.

Remember: all business owners have been there. We've all had to do the weekend hustle. 

It's not permanent. But if you have a full-time day job, it's the only way to make your dream business a reality.

Now, what should you focus on doing for your business when you have the time?

First, you could focus on setting up a project management system for you and your clients.

A project management tool is a secure space online where you can share files, feedback, communicate, set deadlines and reminders with clients.

It’s so much better than managing projects through back and forth emails. It’s organised, clear and the best thing I put in place in my design business.

Is this something you want to do but it feels a bit daunting or time consuming?

Don't worry because I have a free course called Project Management for Designers that will get you set up in my favourite free project management tool, Asana!

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Over 3000 freelancers have taken this course and used it to improve their project management and client management, and I know it can help you too.


Nesha Woolery

I build beautiful brands & websites for passionate entrepreneurs!