Productivity Lessons I’ve Learned…

July 21, 2009 at 6:00 am 2 comments

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This week, I want to share with you some of the good, bad, and ugly things I’ve learned while having a small business in the wedding industry.  My reasons for starting this blog include sharing my experiences with those of you who are newish to the business in the hopes that you can learn from my triumphs and even, from my tribulations.  And, maybe those of you who are not-so-newish can share your stories too.  I’m going to break this down over the three days into the following lessons I’ve learned: productivity lessons, people lessons, profit lessons.

Productivity Lessons…

My business has gone through many iterations of time management.  When I first started my business in 2004, I was balancing a job as a merchandiser for Coach Handbags, doing a little market research reporting for my uncle-in-law’s Hispanic Research Business, teaching Spanish to little kiddies, and a few other odds and ends.  I learned quickly how to get lots done in the late hours of the night.  At this time I was launching my business so everything was new and exciting and sleep was overrated.  (Plus, I’m a night owl.)  Time management for me was balancing all aspects of my business: business planning, designing, meeting with clients, production, delivery, etc. while balancing a few jobs.  Life was crazy and fun.

But, this was certainly not forever.  I strove to build my business into my full-time gig.  As my business has grown, I’ve been able to hire AMAZING people to help me with some of these responsibilities, particularly assembly production and some administrative tasks.  My role is more of a company “visionary” and I am still the primary client interface and designer.  And, while I don’t have a day job anymore, I was blessed with the role of motherhood in 2007.  This has introduced a whole new equation of time management and productivity.  And, so with that, I give you my…

…5 Lessons Learned in Productivity

1 – Keep detailed calendars, lists, and schedules.

This isn’t news.  But, take it a step further by including follow-up dates and deadlines on your calendars and to-do lists.  When you are communicating with various clients, vendors, and contacts it isn’t good enough having them on your list.  You need to be on top of every detail.  I use google calendars for everything and I have clients’ info on an Excel sheet or google spreadsheet, so that I can sort by follow up date.

2 – Don’t overschedule

I don’t schedule more than 5 client meetings per week and no more than 3 “other” meetings (vendor, philanthropy, networking) per week.  This is maximum… (optimally, I won’t schedule more than 3 meetings in a week and 2 meetings in one day.)  I know that if I overschedule myself I’m doing too much catch-up of my real work.  And, I start to feel burned out quickly.

3 – Act immediately

I try to respond to email as soon as I see it.  It doesn’t mean that I’m sitting by my email waiting for it to arrive.  This means that as soon as it comes in, I provide the sender with some sort of response.  That way their need is taken care of immediately.  If I need to do further work for them, I simply respond that I will have an answer for them in a stated time and I add that to my to-do and deadline list.  For example, if a client wants an invite revision that I know I cannot pay full attention to immediately:

“I’d be happy to send you a redesign in the next 2 days… so be on the lookout for that!”

I don’t know how many people I email and don’t respond to me for a few days.  This is irresponsible. If you don’t have an answer, just let me know you’ll get back to me.  Communication is the key.  (Which brings me to my next point…)

4 – Communicate!

Part of managing your time is managing expectations.  If you are slammed with work and cannot satisfy an inquiry, let the client know that.  You don’t need to give them the dirty details, but let them know that you are on top of their request and will give them further information in the days that follow.  This sort of communication also works for balancing personal needs vs. work needs.  Most people don’t expect you to work on their wedding 24/7… but, if you communicate your boundaries, this works much better.  For example, I tell clients that I will meet with them on the weekends only if a weekday/night time is not possible by either of us.  Weekend time is family time for me.  Every client I have ever worked with is very respectful of this.  And, if someone is only available on weekends, I’m happy to meet with them.  This is an exception, not the rule.

5 – Why am I procrastinating?

I’ve learned that when I’m procrastinating there is usually a good reason for it.  So now, I ask myself: why am I holding off on doing that?  Sometimes it is because I’m burned out and need a break.  Sometimes it’s because I have a fear of trying something and failing.  Sometimes it’s because I am uninspired.  I’ve learned to identify times where I’m just spinning my wheels (or internet surfing) instead of tackling my to-do list.  So, now I stop myself and ask: why am I procrastinating?  I take a step back, go downstairs for some lunch and think of the one thing I need to accomplish when I get back to the office.  Works like a charm!

I could list a gazillion more… but it’s your turn now! What are your productivity lessons?

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Entry filed under: Productivity, Time Management.

INTRODUCING A NEW SAGE WEDDING PRO! People Lessons I’ve Learned…

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. People Lessons I’ve Learned « Sage Wedding Pros  |  July 22, 2009 at 6:11 am

    […] in my five years as a small business owner in the wedding industry.  Yesterday, we covered “Productivity Lessons“.  Today, we’ll discuss the “People Lessons” I’ve learned.  They […]

    Reply
  • 2. Profit Lessons I’ve Learned… « Sage Wedding Pros  |  July 23, 2009 at 6:13 am

    […] that I’ve learned during my five years as a small business owner.  On Tuesday, we discussed Productivity Lessons.  Yesterday, we talked about People Lessons.  Today, we are going to break down Profit Lessons […]

    Reply

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