Leonardo Da Vinci was such an accomplished man. I have to imagine he was also a master of time management. He once said “Time stays long enough for anyone who will use it”. Unfortunately, many of us don’t always use it very well and feel like time does not stay very long.
How many times have you gone home after a full day at the gallery and felt you did not use your time wisely or accomplish what wanted to? That’s the worst! Better time management or simply getting more done might be one of your goals. It is for me and I have been looking for changes I can make in my daily life to use my time more wisely.
Let me share four different processes that resonated with me and could help you get more done in your gallery business. I’m hoping to make my time management an art form.
One of my favorite time management heroes is David Allen. He is the author of Getting Thing Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity and creator of the Getting Things Done methodology. A lesson I learned from him was to regularly do a big brain dump of all the things I had to do. Write it all down in on master list, both work and personal tasks together. I have had so many ideas, obligations, wants and need to do’s floating around in my head I couldn’t sleep at night. I would have multiple ‘to do’ lists going and it was impossible to prioritize and keep my thoughts organized.
Doing a brain dump is made easier if you get into the habit of using a single tool, such as day planner or a list app. Check out Wunderlist or Any.do. They are my favorite. Everything goes in there.
Last year I started using a physical business planner to set goals, prioritize and schedule the truly important stuff. I used the Dailygreatness Business Planner and I love it. They layout works well for setting overall business goals, marketing goals, finance, etc. Then it helps you break it all down so you can get it all done throughout the year. If you like a pen and paper planner, check it out.
If you prefer a digital planning tool, check out an app call the Productivity Wizard.
First Thing First
Another very helpful productivity trick is to end each day by writing down 3-4 tasks you will do tomorrow. Some people write theirs down on a sticky note and leave it stuck to their desk or on their computer screen.
I write down three tasks that are important and tie into my goals for the quarter or the year. I also write down two tasks that are honestly not impactful, but just gotta get done eventually. We are all guilty of spending a lot time on things that are easy or busy work, but are not critical to your success. Writing things down for the next day also helps you filter out the things are less important, so you spend your time working on things that truly matter.
Another bonus is you don’t have an enormous to-do list staring at you first thing in the morning, but are instead greeted with a manageable three or four item list. Feeling overwhelmed at the start of your day is just not good. You feel so accomplished at the end of the day when you can actually scratch everything off. It’s psychological, but I’ll take it.
According to Simon Sinek the author of Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, many business owners know the what and how of their jobs, but only a few true leaders are intimately connected with the why they are doing something and why is for the good of the big picture. I often discover something that I think I should be doing either for my business or a client because it has worked for others. Once I get into planning, I realize it is not the best path and I have just wasted all that time. Remembering to ask why this is a good thing could save me a lot of time.
Have you ever been in the middle of project and suddenly doubted that it is worthwhile? That is a big waste of time. To ensure you are using your timely more wisely, before starting a big project ask yourself why you want to do it and what will its potential impact be once completed.
If the impact is unclear or is minimal at best, it’s probably not worthy of your time. Good examples of this might be committing to a new social media platform, writing a blog on a particular topic or redesigning your gallery’s website. These endeavors may have great influence on your business, but save yourself some time and be sure about why.
Take Care of Number One
This may seem pretty obvious, but to be really productive and get more done you have to have the mental and physical energy to do so. Take care of yourself. Don’t let busy work take up so much of your time that you don’t have anything left for yourself at the end of the day or week. I wasn’t sleeping and it affected many aspects of my life, including my focus and motivation.
I had to dedicate some time identifying what the problem was and prioritize fixing it. Your ability to manage time better may be improved by simply eating better, exercising more, unplugging for an hour or two or spending more time with friends and family that ground you.
With the New Year upon us, improving your time management skills might be a deserving new year’s resolution for both you personally and for your art gallery business.
Share what techniques work for you. Which ideas listed here do think you might try this year?