Monday, August 22, 2011

Better Time Management With Lists

There is so much to do every day when you are an online shop owner. Sometimes it can just seem overwhelming. By setting small goals and routines your time can be much more productive. If you just said to yourself "I AM productive with my time" perhaps you can do better. For some it is really east to get distracted. Creating a list of things to do and sticking to it no matter what will give you more freedom in the long run.

For me, time management is always a struggle. I have an Etsy Shop, an Artfire Studio, a Facebook fan page, a Twitter account and a blog. And all of that is just for Tangled Metal. I also have personal Facebook, twitter, blog, website and more. I actually have to have a schedule to make it all happen.

Start with a simple list of everything you need to do:
Etsy Teams
Artfire Forum

Next lists tasks and assign an amount of time that you need to spend on each:
Facebook: Post pics to new album daily, comment on 5 posts not on your own wall, comment on all your wall posts. 15 minutes twice a day
Twitter: retweet 5 people, post 5 non business tweets, engage 5 people in a non business way, make one business post. 5 minutes 3 times a day
Blog: Write a blog post on M-W-F or more if you have the time. 30 minutes a day.
Etsy Teams: Post on 5 threads, try to answer or ask a question. 15 minutes twice a day.
Artfire Forum: Same as Etsy Team.

I used myself as an example in the above list. As you can see, the amount of time adds up pretty quickly. Your list may include the million other things you do in during the day. If you need to go to the post office, be sure to add a spot for it. Prioritize your list. Stick to your list.

If you can write up a routine and stick to it you can be more productive overall. Sometimes I will write several blog posts in one day and schedule them to post. I take the extra time used and spread it out over my schedule for the next few days when I do that.

Everyone is different. I had to set my alarm an extra hour earlier so that I could fit everything into the day. I would like to hear what tips or tricks you use to be more productive. Add a comment and share with everyone.


  1. Good advice. I find it really difficult to maintain any kind of structured schedule with my uploading. I might just break down and start actually scheduling it out in iCal.

  2. Really good advice, Eric (dropping by from Etsy Success). I keep telling myself I need to manage my time more effectively, for the reasons you mention. Your post is a good reminder, with good suggestions, on how to do that.

  3. And after doing all this, I always wonder how much time is left for creating (the part I really like most)?
    Thanks for your insightful posts on the Etsy Success team...

  4. I tend to spend my evening hours sitting in front of the TV making chainmail for my shop. I am lucky to have a craft that can be done on the couch.

  5. Making lists is something I'm always promising myself I'll do. My daughter once got me doing it for a whole two weeks - but then I lost the book I was using to list each day's activities and... somehow, it all did not seem worth the effort. I just didn't have the time1

    However, you make it sound so logical, maybe I'll have another go!

  6. I do something similar to what you do (computer time in the morning) but I think I'm going to have to change it around. Exercise first, then sit-on-my-tookus time. Seems like the morning is gone by the time I get up, and there is no will to do anything except get on with the rest of my list.

  7. Once you manage to create a list and work it for a couple of weeks you'll find yourself in the routine and not have so much of a need to keep looking at the list. It is almost like it becomes second nature.

  8. I don't have a list for things I do every day. Maybe I should...

    But what I do is write on post-it notes all the things I'd like to achieve for the week. Place all of them on my wall divided in 3 sections "to do", "doing", "done". For each task I write an estimate of time to complete. Once done, I write actual time spent.

    Over time I can see the estimate vs actual time and analyze the reasons why and get better at estimates. This gives me a more realistic picture of what I can achieve in a week.

  9. handustry, I have tried the post it method and it does not really work for me, but if it works for you I say keep at it. It is a good idea to track your time too. I think I may start doing that so I can see how my time and efforts are actually paying off or if I need to adjust my schedule. Thanks for that.

  10. Wow, Handusty, you are a handy person. That's a great post. Personally I go back and forth between technical ways, and Physical, post-it's, or I LOVE a white board, only i end up drawing on it, software development drawing then there's goes the list. I try planners, datebooks etc. But I loose them or just end up not writing in them.

    I get frustrated with the techy way the calendar- "to-do" list, although effective it doesn't do you any good unless you're sync'ing your phone for when you're away. And again, it doesn't track the time on a job.

    So personally, i think the one method that's best, is the one a person can STICK to.

    I'm fifty, and so far, I haven't found one. But, I'll let you know if i do.

    MarketMyShop: you spend less than three hours a day on your computer? That's incredible. You have great advice/articles. I subscribe to your feed and post most on my blog.

    What I find most incredible is that you can write your blog/articles, and post to everything and accomplish the objectives in the time given. I type 150wpm accurately and I could never get your list done in the time you've allotted yourself. Even recognizing that I'm just "slower" at things I'd have to add at least 1/2 hour to your list. Especially on the tweet items.

    When I was a webmater/developer, I had a program so each time i invoked a clients account, it would automatically track the time spent on their account. It was wonderful. Great tool.

    But it wasn't goal oriented nor did it have a list of things to do and when to do them.

    I really appreciate the info/advice given by everyone on this posting, and Market My Shop, again, you've got some great advice, easy to read and understand. It's given me food for thought. Thank you :)
    ~elaine O.