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As everyone gets into school mode, the last bits of summer bliss are still fresh in our minds. In either case, the shift back to home life and soon to be school life is a struggle for everyone. As you have probably noticed, the amount of homework for students in all grades and all academic levels has dramatically increased over the last several years. We consistently work with elementary students that are receiving a minimum of two hours of work daily. Make sure you have a firm understanding of the portal and how to keep track of grades and upcoming assignments.
Be sure to check all classes at the start of the week so you can prioritize what work needs to be done first. Make sure your child makes a time management schedule that encompasses all weekly activities from recreational to normal household chores. Staring blankly at a half completed design concept for a batch of new business cards is a freelance designer struggling with a major case of creativity block. As designers, we spend many hours of our week in similar situations to the above freelancer struggling to come up with designs that we’re happy with. You’re probably thinking that managing your time is something that CEO’s and other bean counting schmucks need to be worrying about, however you couldn’t be more wrong. Each of us would have a set number of tasks that we have to complete each week to ensure our business runs smoothly. By fixing the amount of time we spend on a given set of tasks, we can focus on doing the things that matter, give us motivation to start, prevent overruns and use our “null” times effectively.
Once you’ve worked out all of the different types of tasks you need to complete each week, map out a chart that contains all of the hours in the day down the vertical axis and all of the days of the week along the horizontal axis.
As freelancers, we’re all very visual people thus it is important that we relay this into our new time plan.
So, after spending truckloads of time getting your weekly calendar in order, it’d be a shame to see it all go to waste because you never actually tracked your time.
The easiest way to start tracking your time is to create a timesheet template which you can fill out each day.
Implementing a well thought out time plan to your week is the perfect solution when you’re feeling a little lost in your business.
Jon Bergan is a passionate web designer and developer from the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia.
I especially love your use of the idea of rhythm in time management, as well as the visuals!
Thank you, I will using these tips to work on my time management arrangements in time for the kids returning to school. As an employee of a state company your article describes time management in a pretty easy to understand way. Each step you present is great and I fully agree, but the same reason the GTD system didn’t work for me will likely be the downfall of your advice as well.
I know I’m late to jump in but I really wanted to say this is a fantastic article Jon! This is pretty much the method I use, and in reference to Zac’s comments, I use this method BECAUSE I’m very abstract and have absolutely no perception of time! I’m still struggling to get my head around being a freelancer and not in a bigger company. Time tracking is one of the toughest things for me to do, but a 2010 resolution for my business.
These websites play a very important role in the learning and recognizing of the subject and how to deliver the best managerial performances. As interface designers, we’re often required to demonstrate the look and feel (and interactions) of the interfaces we design. If you’ve recently cleaned your home for an event or party, snap a few pictures of each room. For example, our dining room table was set up with a tablecloth, 6 placemats, and centerpiece with flowers. Tip: Consider straightening up each room at the end of each day, to keep the clutter under control. This entry was posted in Maintenance and tagged clutter free home, clutter-free house, how to keep home clean, how to keep house clean, printable cleaning schedules, printable house maintenance list on June 23, 2014 by Running A Household.
Welcome to Running A HouseholdWhether you’re moving into your first place or just trying to bring order to your current home, our resources are here to help you. Lost for ideas, the designer taps at the mouse, trying this colour and that font without any luck. However, by introducing a well structured time management plan into our routine, we could take control of our days virtually overnight.

The success of any service provision type business is all about managing time as closely as possible to ensure that hours quoted are hours actually spent. Our brains love working in patterns, so if we can start implementing some tasks that recur at regular intervals during our week, our brains will quickly snap into the right mode for the right task at the right time. If you get some ideas to market your business, write them down and keep them for your marketing time. Time boxing is all about working on a specific task for a set duration – no more and no less.
In contrast, if we worked on things until completion in one sitting, we’re less likely to start on complex tasks, more likely to overrun on open ended tasks and ultimately it leaves us with less time and motivation to work on the next set of tasks. Having something that we can see in front of us reminding us of when we should be working on what is important to gaining structure and focus. It should include personal tasks and other goal related items to give us focus in both our work and personal lives. Now proceed to fill in all of the blanks in between with the various tasks you need to complete each week. The best way to do this is to associate colours to specific tasks from our weekly calendar and then follow through by colouring folders, files and other objects that relate to those tasks in similar colours.
Once you’re done, colour each of the documents, files, folders and other objects that relate to those tasks in the same colour. Time tracking is probably the most important part to this exercise as it provides us with a firm understanding of where our time is actually being spent. In the template, include fields for the project name, the client name, the date, the time you started on the work and the time you finished. They provide structure, focus and motivation and really allow you to get a grasp on your priorities. When we have no control over our time, our days begin to blur and we end up having no real idea where any of that time actually went. I was talking with my better-half last night about needing to divide up my day, so this post is very timely. I feel like I have a pretty good handle on time management when it comes managing the daily business and client work. Been a long time user there myself and have been looking for a more accurate way to track projects that are not billed hourly. Gives you structure and focus and as busy freelancers, these are two things we desperately need to have!
Holidays are always a bit topsy turvey but I do need to get organised once they’re over. I’m 5 days away from being free of the cube-farm corperate IT world and have roughly 4-6 months to make what I can of my time. It is really important to have all possible reminders in your face, at least when you are starting and really need to put some boundaries on your personal time in order to get somewhere. I would often agree to do client jobs, usually at the expense of my family time, in order to not disappoint a client. I have all these tasks on a daily list in my desktop planner, but so many of them get pushed to the next day or are so time-consuming that I’m not even getting started on them until I have a huge block of time available, which rarely happens.
With all of our creative juices flying this way and that, it is important to have some level of structure behind everything we do. Lisa here is living proof that such a system can work for you regardless of how crazy your life is.
Perhaps one of the most scintillating advancements has taken place in the field of web services for mobile phones. Within a few days, someone opened a gift, and left the gift bag and a few of the gifts on the table.
There are things that need to be done daily, weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, and semi-annually, and annually. If you have a large yellow lab whose nose brushes up against the sliding door everyday, you’ll want to clean your windows more often than a person without pets. Minutes drift by that soon spur into hours and in what seemed like a blink of an eye, the day draws to a close.
Without tracking or managing your time, your days will quickly begin to blur and projects you quoted on will start costing you rather than your client.
By defining these key tasks and working out when we will do these tasks each week, we instantly gain focus on what needs to be done and when. If you think about an account that needs to be balanced, save that for your Accounting time.
For example, instead of spending an entire day finishing off that single website, split the portion of your day allocated to clients into 1-2 hour blocks. This is especially important early on as we’re still trying to reprogram our minds into following such a strict timetable.

Associating colours to key tasks acts in a similar fashion and can play a vital role in increasing our efficiency and motivation while also setting a positive mood for the work we have to complete that day.
This way, next time you need to start focusing on a given task, you’ll instantly know what you’ll need to grab to get started!
It also ensures that we’re sticking to our time plan and providing accurate quotes to our clients. At the end of the week, review your timesheets for each day and compare it to the work you completed and the quotes you provided to your clients. No longer will you feel like you’re simply working in your business struggling to meet the constant demands of your clients. I think several of these carry over into the the world of all designers :) Thanks for sharing. I already had one but it really wasn’t working well for me and I got a lot of great tips from your examples that I think really improved my schedule. Just starting out I find it hard to focus, and still take breaks for lunch, and dinner, before I know it im squinting and realize its 9pm and I never had dinner. Outside of that it tends to fall off a bit (wasting time is a habit), especially when it comes to personal projects that are for the most part business related.
If you track your time, you can compare what you planned on doing to what you actually did.
Still, I know for sure that half of us don’t track our time as much as we should, however if we all have some kind of schedule mentioned in my post, we’d still be better off! Really great for accessing your schedule virtually anywhere or updating it as you’re out and about. Put simply, I have a very random, chaotic method to all things creative and where many seem to work in linear progression from phase to phase it often feels like I seem to work in spiral (if that makes any sense ). I also know my own nature well enough to know that baby steps towards a lot of what you suggest will be necessary for there to be any chance of it sticking. I’ve been able to set and generally stick to fairly regular work hours, and if one of my kids has a sports carnival I can block out that time and make it up over a night or two beforehand.
The rebel in me wanted to fight against the constraints of a schedule (part of the initial appeal of having my own business) but realistically, and this is just my opinion, to make it in business long term there HAS to be some tiny thread of structure for you to start from otherwise your creative chaos will become overwhelming.
Try throwing some structure together in a weekly calendar and hopefully your days will start running smoothly.
Just starting out I find it hard to focus, and still take breaks for lunch, and dinner, before I know it im squinting and realize its 9pm.
Earlier it was considered as a luxury to own mobile phones and now even the young adolescents boasts off their iPhone and Android handhelds and what not. Next time you’re thinking about putting off this chore, trying doing it and timing yourself. Be sure to check out our Toolbox, so you can print our checklists and keep your house running smoothly. While a lack of creativity may appear to be the cause of such an unproductive day, it is in fact not. For example, if you decide that on Tuesday mornings, you will focus on marketing, each Tuesday morning, you’ll wake up and your brain will instantly click into marketing mode!
Doing this will actually motivate you more and will allow you to think about those ideas a little further before rushing into them. You’ll quickly start realising what took longer, what quotes you under quoted on and where all those hours really went.
I think getting a bit more organized when it comes to overall scheduling and time management might be just what I need to focus on. The only possible way to accomplishing near as much as I want is to come up with a schedule of some kind – but let me pose this to you.
It almost feels like it would be impossible to try and structure it or set those boundaries, however they are important. A lot of research has gone into how patterns effect our minds and our brain and studies have shown that if we work to patterns, we are generally more motivated and focused.
There is a HUGE difference when jumping from a full-time job in a large design firm to a freelancer.
Two hours is the perfect amount of time to get started, get focused and get motivated on those complex tasks. I use billings software which has an integrated time tracker and I also time my iTunes playlist for my less fave administrative and accounts jobs. Even if you only apply it to one or two things such as your marketing and your business development.

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