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 find out!
If you use an iPhone you can find out how much time you spend on your phone and which apps you use most by going to Settings > Screen Time.
If you don’t have an iphone, try Moment app instead.
When I first looked at how much time I spent on my phone I was totally shocked to see that I spent about 3.5 hours each day on my phone - and most of that time was spent on Instagram!
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, bad habit and procrastination.
Here’s a little assignment: Put your phone in a drawer while you work each day and only take it out when you’ve finished working.
When you cut down on the amount of time you spend on your phone, you’ll gain hours each day! Hours you can spend looking for more clients, playing with your kids, trying new recipes, creating a passive income product and more.
2. Set boundaries on social media usage
On an iPhone, you can set time limits for apps that eat up too much of your time and attention. **Instagram cough cough**
There’s also 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 a loud, annoying noise 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 spending less time on Instagram each evening!
3. Get up earlier
You can add as much as 2 hours to your day every single day by waking earlier! That’s 10 hours a week you can now spend working on your own business!
You can get so much done in 2 hours each day for your own business.
Some of the tasks you could do include:
Setting up or refining your business systems. (My course, Organize & Automate, will help!)
Refining your web or graphic design process.
Looking for team members and outsourcing work.
Refining your client onboarding process.
Creating a passive income stream (like your first ebook or ecourse!)
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.
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. Not all weekend, but you may have to sacrifice your weekend sleep-in’s to set up your business.
Just remember it's only temporary until you quit your day job. 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 work at first. 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!
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.