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After my success last week with the Morning Brain Dump scheduling exercise, I felt like I’d really started to get my day under control and achievable in the timeframe I had to work within. So to add another layer on to this already very useful system, I read more on the subject and found this interesting article about a Daily Schedule here.
This is a technique used by arguably one of the world’s most productive men, Benjamin Franklin, and you can read about his own personal schedule on that post. Basically, the idea is to use your Morning Brain Dump to feed information into a daily schedule and then put your dump sheet away until tomorrow. When you pick up your dump sheet the following day, you might find things which you thought were important yesterday can either be upgraded to a Must or downgraded for the day since you’ve had a chance to sleep on it.
I will plan my day a little like the below schedule and then slot all my tasks from my Morning Brain Dump into the Work Block spaces, making sure I consider how much time each job might take. I also think that working solidly for 8 hours with a half hour lunch CAN work but also taxes the worker if this is what every work day looks like. The outcome on your health of working 9 – 5 or in a large work block has been likened to the equivalent of having jet lag and can leave you feeling exhausted and disconnected with the world.
My goal this week is to stick to my Morning Brain Dump exercise then feed it into my Daily Schedule and keep to the plan each day.
I’ll be giving this one a critique at the end of the week so I would love to see how you fared and if there’s anything you would change or another technique you would like to try! At the beginning of this week I let you know about my idea to trial a few time management techniques to see how they affect my business, health and mind. This week I decided to do a Morning Brain Dump each day for all the tasks I needed to get done for my business. Initially I really felt like this was working for me and I was thinking I’d solved all my problems. However, after the following days, I noticed there were a few things on my list that I just wasn’t rubbing off my sheet (I laminated mine and used a dry-erase pen).
My mind used to be a whirling, out of control mess some years ago while I was just starting my business.
This brain-emptying morning ritual is definitely a great place to start if you’ve got a lot going on in your head but after my experience this I am now going to try to amalgamate it with a few other techniques.
For the next few weeks I am going to be having a go at some particular time saving and scheduling plans.
I think there will be one or a mixture of a few ideas which are going to positively affect not only my productivity for my business but also my mental and physical health.
Searching through the internet treasure trove of business blogs I found a few things I’d like to try and have adapted them to my own tastes and needs. The first of the techniques I thought I’d try was the Morning Brain Dump which I found over here. I recommend laminating it and using a dry-erase marker which you’ll be able to wipe off as you get your tasks done.
The idea is to get everything down for the day before you’ve even answered your first email or checked your social media or online store.
The way I’m going to work things this week is to wake up, write down my tasks in these four categories then keep the sheet on the desk next to me as I work. The Should quadrant might even be more painful that the first one since I know they need to be done but I know I CAN push them aside.
The Could area will have things that I might do to make my life easier in the future but I can definitely wait to get these done another day.
There you have it, I’ll give it a go and let you know how I went by the end of the week and any comments, successes or pitfalls I think there are surrounding this scheduling technique.
If you do want to join me in this experiment, download the sheet and laminate, or just print out a new one for each day of the week. Comment below if you have any questions or suggestions for my week of the Morning Brain Dump. It can be easy to fall into bad habits when orders are few and far between, and you’re spending most of your time making new designs, adding new stock to your website, and getting the word out about your business. If you find yourself stretched for time and stressed out because your business is growing, I’ve got 10 tips for you today that will help you to claw back a whole lot of control via simplification, systematisation, and more effective time management. If you’ve been in business for a few years, your product line might be getting a little bit bloated. The more successful your business becomes, the less time you have to devote to maintaining social media. If you’re like me, this sounds like a super-daunting step, because you like being in control of every single aspect of your business! It’s oh-so-easy to let a growing business spread its tendrils into every waking hour of your life, until you find yourself checking your email when you wake up in the middle of the night, and start breaking out into a cold sweat when you accidentally leave your phone at home.
This hyper-awareness keeps your body in a constant state of stress, and that is just no good for your mental (or physical) health. Learning how to set boundaries and take breaks is a crucial skill to master if you want to continue to run your business into the future without burning out. Whatever works for you – do it, stick to it, and remember there is a life outside of work, too. Raising prices can also be an incredibly useful tool if business is booming beyond the point where you can keep up.

If the idea of doubling your prices sounds way beyond what you’re comfortable with, how about just adding 10 or 20%? Then again, you might discover (as many makers have) that raising prices actually makes your items MORE desirable to customers, and you actually increase sales.
How much better would it feel to have a routine that ensured everything that needed to get done before you started work did get done – in a relaxed, uplifting way? Figure out what activities you really love to do in the morning – those things that get you in the right head-space to tackle the rest of the day. When you started out, you might have done what I did – put your work into any and all venues you possibly can!
Managing 2-3 online venues is hard enough when you have hundreds of products – let alone managing 10 or more. Don’t automatically jump at the chance to get your work onto that new site, or into that new shop or market. Everybody works differently, so no-one can give you a one-size-fits-all solution to this, however, there are oodles of options out there for how to keep track of everything you need to do, and structuring your time. Personally, I use a combo of a yearly wall planner, a weekly desktop planner, and google calendar (including those handy alarm reminders!).
That system works for me, because it lets me look at my time in a range of increments – from the year ahead, to the week ahead, to daily tasks.
When’s the last time you sat down and looked at your 6-month, 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year goals?
Long-term goal-setting is crucial to give you something to aim for – but it needs to be modified on a regular basis as your business grows and shifts. This is just a taste of the sort of content I cover in SHIFT – my e-course for more established handmade business owners. If your business is already cruising along, but you want to shift things up a gear (or two or three!) and hit highway speed, join me for a month-long virtual road-trip that will help you #SHIFTyourbiz.
So you’re working away on your latest line, you’ve got a market this weekend, and your online store sales are steadily growing. You get a phone call from a newspaper who has heard about your incredible handmade creations and they want to run a story on you.
You spend an hour looking for the documents and photos and then decide to rewrite your bio and take more shots.
With my background in admin and banking, I am a bit fastidious when it comes to file management (both on my computer and paper) and it pays off when you need to find something quickly just like in this scenario. Everyone does things differently but I highly recommend you figure out a system for YOU to file your business photos and documents so you can locate them quickly and efficiently.
Now, this all might be a bit of a yawn for some but I can guarantee that spending a little time upfront to get your file management in order can save you hours of time in the future. Ever tried to find a file you KNOW you have, but it proved completely elusive because the file name seemed to bear no resemblance to what it was actually about?
Year first (2014), then month (04), followed by day (12) and name of file makes it easy to find.
This is how I name my files as they neatly line up in date order then alphabetically when I sort by Name. When taking a bunch of photos for your online store, as soon as they are off your camera, pop them into a folder which is easy to locate and explains what they are for. You know how you have been asked for ‘hi-res’ images in the past but after you edited your photos you saved them as lo-res for online? In regards to paper files – I recommend everyone either get a filing cabinet or at least a filing box. Each financial year, I bundle the manila folders up into piles and tie each pile up with string. Even though your emails are kept online and you can search for important documents that came as attachments, I still recommend downloading them and filing them on your desktop. I realised that I changed email addresses around that time and the old email was now lost since I hadn’t logged in for over 3 years. I truly believe that having a place for everything (and everything in its place) will make you more productive and more in control.
About Farshad Farshad is a Tech Blogger from Pakistan who has worked for numerous international Technology Blogs. I wanted freedom to live my life the way I wanted and to choose when I work and when I play. I had some really great things I wanted to achieve and I was able to give them priority, make myself charge through the things which were vital to do today and then hop around the rest of the quadrants to find things which I wanted to get done and tick them off.
This meant that they were there staring me in the face and making me feel a little frustrated that I wasn’t getting the whole thing completely done by the end of the day. On the outside I looked calm and collected but the endless hopping and jumping that my mind was prone to doing really made it difficult to be as effective as I wanted to be.
I started each day with a very clear understanding of what needed to be done in order to get my business moving in the right direction. Managing my time better means I can get the things done which matter to me and allow me breathing space and time to look after myself better too. It’s a great way to get all that swirling, whirling mess of ideas and to-dos out of your head so you can focus on what you need to achieve.

It’s a focussing exercise which allows more space in your mind for getting the things done which are vital that day. Share yours on Instagram with the hashtag #CTBrainDump so we can check out how you’re going!
How do you make time for creating new designs when you’re flat out keeping up with making and admin?
Are you still hanging on to products you designed years ago, but that no longer fit the aesthetic of your brand – or that don’t reflect the direction you want to take your business? The key is ensuring that everything you offer is top-notch, and reflects your business as it is now – not as it was 2 years ago.
Decide which social media you are going to focus on (I recommend no more than 2) and do a plan for what content you are going to share on a weekly basis. However, if your business is growing, there comes a time where you either have to deliberately slow things down (more on that later) OR you need to bring some help on board.
Chances are, you can hire them at a reasonable rate that will free you up to spend more time on the activities that actually grow your business and bring in more money. You may find that the extra cost reduces the number of sales you make, and gives you a bit more breathing space. As many online selling sites as you could, as many shops via wholesale and consignment, as many markets as would accept you. Pick the ones that really work with your brand (I know my friend Megan Auman focuses on getting her work into gallery stores, because that’s where her ideal customer is). I sit down on Sunday night and Monday morning and schedule must-do tasks for the week on my weekly planner, so I know what’s coming up for the week ahead, and can make sure to allot the time for those projects.
This takes you another couple of hours and you’re losing time that could be spent working on your products. Don’t just leave it in your email inbox, send it off to your folders and know it will be there exactly when you need it. Once you’ve edited the ones you like, add a subfolder which says ‘Edited’ or similar so you have the originals and the edited shots all at your fingertips. Now you can go back to the original photo and re-edit in a snap to keep it high quality and usable for that project. Now you have it filed conveniently in a folder where you can shoot it back off to them in an instant and get on with your day. Then I pop them all in a box with that financial year written on the side so I can get access to them if necessary. No matter what platform you use, there is always a way to set up folders to hold your important emails. I knew I had filed it in my inbox somewhere but no searches turned up the email it was attached to. Sticky Note Toolkit is a PowerPoint Template that offers a wide range of sample slides with editable sticky notes.Create Sticky Notes For Presentations Or Make A Presentation About Time ManagementThe slides and clipart in this template are quite generic and therefore can be used for a variety of purposes such as for adding sticky notes to your presentations (by copying the editable sticky notes in sample slides) or to make a presentation about topics like time management, reminders, memory, etc. He is a former systems engineer and has been associated with the IT industry for the past 8 years, rendering professional services related to desktop administration, networking, SEO and Blogging. Yeah, those sorts of things can leave you feeling like you’ve accomplished something but in the end, are they really helping you get the important business off your plate and done effectively in a smaller timeframe? These might be things like my account keeping, photographing products and updating my online store or pricing stock for my retail space. How can you streamline and simplify in every area of your business so you have time to do everything?
Not only to save you time and stress, but to make sure you don’t make mistakes, mix up orders, or miss orders. Do you have old designs sitting there that never sold well, but that you’re holding onto for sentimental purposes? Not only are you now much more experienced than you were then, but you’ve probably also got a more established brand and a strong reputation. When we start the day rushed and stressed, chances are that’s how the rest of the day will go, too.
In fact, a year or so back, I actually shut down the majority of my shops on different venues, so I could focus on the ones that were bringing me the most success.
How will you make big decisions for the direction of your biz if you don’t have some sort of vision for what you want it to look like a few years down the track? Needless to say, you can add your own text to these sticky notes and fully customize them to change their overall look.
But if you’re measuring your success by how much profit you are making, this idea should delight you. Like any common presentation template, you can also add your own images, videos, text and clipart to the given sample slides. Perhaps you need to put an alarm on your phone to remind you to spend 10 minutes a day morning and night pinning content.

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