The best way to get started in feeling less overwhelmed in your handmade business is simple. Let me tell you in this article about a productivity technique called time batching, and how this time management system can help your handmade business in so many ways!
Etsy Organization and Time Batching Tips For Handmade Sellers
Knowing how you spend your time each day can do so much. When you take time to plan, you aren’t waking up in the morning and thinking, “Oh no, I have so much I have to do right now!” It takes you from a place of reacting to being a place of being proactive in your business. That’s where the real growth comes in! That’s where you’re able to be strategic, and it also makes time batching possible. Let’s break it down.
#1. Make Your Day Productive With Time Batching
Now, if you’re not familiar with time batching, let me give you a definition. Time batching is getting all of your tasks in a specific area done at one time. It saves you so much mental clutter each week, and really helps to streamline your business. Take a second here and work out a task list of what that looks like for you specifically. You can do this by listing absolutely every single thing that you do, or that you want to do in your business. This kind of to-do list gives you a really excellent jumping off point. Also, take a second and pat yourself in the back for all the things that you’re already doing!
From here, you’re going to categorize these types of tasks into sections and bonus points. Add time estimates to each of these things, so you really know how much time you need for any areas. It can be helpful to take out different color highlighters and color code these time blocks if you are a visual person. Most likely, things fall into categories such as photography, SEO (which is keyword research), customer service, packaging, making your orders, and outreach content. Outreach content can be any free content that’s going to grow your audience and your traffic organically.
#2 Set Rotating Weekly Tasks For Time Batching
From here, we can set rotating weekly specific tasks. So that way you know you don’t need to stress about photographing orders one day because you have set that to Wednesdays. Different tasks for a daily schedule that gives you sufficient time to get it all done. No big deal. Then you can be more present and less overwhelmed in your daily work because you know what the priority is for a day. As you’re planning these things out, I want you to really personalize this. Your own business may need more specific times for different things, depending on your products. For you it might mean more dedicated hours to making your products, to filling orders, and/or to doing keyword research. Really tweak this to you, because we’re making this a productivity strategy that works for you personally. You may want to spend one day photographing all your new listings, and then a separate day editing them. It all depends on what your day and what you want your time to look like.
#3 Finding A Good Time Batching Schedule
Here is an example of what a time batching schedule can look like. So let’s say Mondays are your photography day. So Mondays, you take new product photos, and you edit listing photos. You create duplicate Etsy listings with new images. This way you can save them as drafts so every day you can just go in and publish a new listings. Your shop is constantly being kept up without taking a ton of time.
Let’s say Tuesdays will be your shop upkeep day. Set a timer, and do 30 minutes of SEO research. Brainstorm some ideas for new products based on the SEO research that you did. You can also update your current listings to match the new research. Wednesdays can be your outreach and marketing plans day. This day you batch and schedule social media content, do your blog posts and your weekly newsletters. Thursdays can be your time to make new orders. This way, you have an entire day where all of the tedious, nitty-gritty things of running a business are taken care of. This leaves enough time to bulk create all your sellable items, and have time dedicated to working on your custom orders.
In this example schedule, I also didn’t include a day on Friday. This gives you a little bit of free time at the end of the week to catch up on anything that might have fallen behind on. You can take a day for learning and self development if you like. Either way it gives you some time and some flexibility. Don’t forget to set aside time for brainstorming new strategies. Whatever that looks like for you, whether it’s one afternoon or an entire day. It is entirely dependent on your schedule and your lifestyle.
Looking for more tips like these? Check out my article on 10 Etsy Tips for Beginners Here
It is so important to your business that you keep learning and implementing new strategies for your growth. What worked six years ago might not work now. You’ve got to keep progressing in your business. Also, it can be really easy to get caught up in workshops and in learning all this stuff, and then not having the time to implement them. So scheduling this productive time out can be huge and a total game changer for your handmade business.
#4 Focused Work Hours
Now that we have a general time batching schedule, we can even go further and get more organized by setting focused work hours. Doing this allows you to take some important things into consideration. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Looking back at your hourly schedule and your day planner, what time of day are you most productive? Do you have a group of similar tasks? You can also take into consideration when you have kids at home, such as when they get out of school. If you’re taking care of a parent, or if you have community obligations or volunteer obligations that can be in the mix. Considering these things makes your business work for you instead of you constantly reacting to your handmade business.
With this in mind, you can set what I brought up before: focus time. Your focused time will allow you to do complex tasks. Things that take a lot more brain power and need deep focus. Some things just require more focus and commitment to get your best work! Examples of this are administrative tasks like writing newsletters, editing photos, batching blog posts, creating your products, doing SEO work, and all that stuff where you just need the time without the interruptions to complete tasks.
#5 Not-Focused Time
Now, not-focused time includes shallow tasks where you can be distracted. For example, the type of task where you can be having a conversation with your kids as you’re doing it. Things like social media posts, packaging your orders, shopping for new business materials and checking email. These are all things that you can come in and out of throughout the day. When planning these things out in advance, you never feel like you’re falling behind.
Setting dedicated work hours aside each day for your focused task and your not-focused tasks can be huge for your overall stress levels. It helps your work and home life run more smoothly. You can let your natural energy levels and your natural sleep cycle play a large role. You can finally work your business around whats important to you, like your family. Wouldn’t it be nice if things weren’t constantly fighting with the other for time? It really makes a huge impact in just your overall mental resources, giving you a set plan for clarity and productivity.
#6 Combine Your Batching Routines With Your Focus Time
Here is an example of combining this batching routine with your focus time schedule for an entire week. A regular Monday through Thursday workflow, but let’s say 9:00 to 12:00 can be my focus time. After that for photography, as a business owner I’m taking new product photos, editing listings, and creating duplicate Etsy listings. Then from 1:00 to 3:00, when I’m feeling a little bit more tired and I’m ready to be done, that is time for not-focused tasks. I can package and ship orders, check messages and emails for 30 minutes. Handling things this way, I’m done with work by 3:00, and can be totally present for my family. I’ve gotten a ton done, and I know exactly what is in store for me for the rest of the week.
Now on Tuesday, if we have our shop upkeep time, we can do all the things with our focus time that we had in our batching routine. Then from 1:00 to 3:00 on Tuesdays, that’s when you have time to post on social media. This alone can help you be a lot more consistent. You can also check your emails, and this is when maybe you’ll shop for materials. Wednesday can be your outreach day, where you package orders, and research in the afternoon. You can batch and schedule your social media content, blog posts, and newsletters in the morning when you have the most energy. I hope you see how changing your concept of time can really streamline your business in huge ways, and help it run a lot smoother.
If this was helpful to you, I highly recommend next you dive into my 11 Step Productivity Masterclass. This masterclass is included inside my Creative Entrepreneur 101 membership! In the Productivity Masterclass we go so much deeper into these ideas. You’ll leave with even more information and clarity in time organization.
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