3 Ways to Create More Time in Your Design Business


By now, we all know that we can’t just work at our business—we also have to work on our business. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the day-to-day of business and never have the time to grow it, you need to find ways to free up your time. Here are tactics I have used in my own business so that I could keep dreaming and growing. 

1. Build In Systems

Systems are the number one thing that contributes to the success of Window Works and the podcast. We have more systems that I can even count. Our systems have systems. 

If you’re cringing right now thinking of building systems, I get it. It’s probably no surprise to you that free-spirited, outside-the-box LuAnn wasn’t exactly on board with the systems game at the beginning either. I wanted to just say, “Ooh, let’s do this! Ooh, let’s try that!” Systems sounded restrictive and I didn’t want them to crush the dreaming side of the business. But guess what? They didn’t. In fact, they did the opposite: They have given me more freedom and comfort than I ever had without them. 

Systems aren’t always big. For me, even the smallest systems have been incredibly effective. At Window Works, we have a very well-established Red Pen System.

Nobody (and I mean nobody) at Window Works is allowed to use a red pen except for my husband Vin and me. We use the red pen for only one thing: writing our initials and date next to a deposit or balance due received on an invoice. It saves us so much time in checking back through invoices and making sure they have been paid. No red pen mark? We have a problem—let’s take care of it. 

The time and stress saved from systems like that pay big dividends. Find the small things that give you time back. Whether that’s answering the phone, intaking new clients, paying bills, or even dreaming about your business, don’t assume you’ll get to it. Don’t assume you’ll care for it efficiently. Build in a set system, put it on your schedule, and make it happen.

I recently interviewed Beth Diana Smith, a designer from New Jersey,  who has spent the last year perfecting her processes. She blocks out time on her calendar every Friday to review her finances, clients, and projects. When things pop up on her radar during the week that she knows need to be improved, she tacks those on to her calendar notation for Friday and addresses them then. That’s productivity in action. 

2. Seek Help

One of the biggest things that I have done to manage my own time efficiently is look for help when I need it. 

My own productivity coach, Amber De La Garza, transformed the way I approach my business. She showed me how to stop making excuses, get real about what needs to be done and what needs to be outsourced, and get back time that I never thought I’d find. 

If you haven’t hired a coach or a mentor in your business, I can just about guarantee you’re not as efficient as you could be. Invest in a productivity coach or a business coach (or both)! Sometimes we need someone to look at what we’re doing and tell us where to improve. 

3. Outsource, Outsource, Outsource

This is the big answer that nobody wants to hear, but everybody knows deep down. If you want to be the CEO, if you want to grow, if you want to be more time-efficient, you have got to outsource the tasks that are holding you back. You are the most valuable asset to your business, and you need to focus on things that are generating revenue for your business, in your zone of genius, and that don’t drive you bonkers. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of tasks that you think nobody else can do. But if it’s holding you back and occupying too much of your time, you can either make excuses for why you can’t possibly outsource it and accept that you are going to sacrifice your precious time doing it…or you can let it go and free yourself up. 

If you want to get your time back, these are the places to start. Get efficient, get productive, focus on what you need to focus on, and delegate everything else



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