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Karen Gastle

For interior designers, time management skills are what keep the days, weeks, and months on track. This one seemingly simple skill allows you to get your jobs done right, on time, and on budget—something you and your clients appreciate. Whether you believe it or not, mastering the skill of time management is all about discipline and organization.


Download our free guide about how business management software can help design  firms stay organized.


In order to become a master of time management, there are some things you can do to help teach yourself the skill. Before you know it, managing time will become second nature. In the meantime, these five tips and tools are key to keeping yourself organized, on track, and most importantly, on time.

1. A Notebook to Track Your Day

Grab a notebook and start jotting down what you do from the second you start working to the moment you walk out the door. While it might seem tedious, tracking your time will help you see where you’re wasting time and how you let yourself get off track.


Try breaking the day into half-hour intervals. For each block of time, write down what you were doing. If you were scrolling through Facebook reading about the latest celebrity drama, be honest about it!


At the end of the week, see where your time added up. You’d be surprised how much time you spent on tasks that should only take a few minutes or how long you were distracted by social media.

2. Daily and Weekly To-Do Lists

Making lists is about to become your new morning ritual. Why? Because making lists is proven to reduce anxiety, increase focus, and improve productivity.


Imagine going on a road trip without a map—talk about stress levels rising. Without a to-do list, your days and weeks become disorganized, letting valuable time slip through the cracks. It also makes you more likely to forget important things, such as invoice dates or client meetings.


Every Sunday, sit down for five or ten minutes and map out your weekly to-dos. Label each one with a number one, two, or three depending on its level of importance. At the end of the week, make sure all your number ones and twos are done, and let the number threes be the cherry on top!

3. The Right Software on Your Side

Nothing is more frustrating than spending two hours on a task that should have taken fifteen minutes. While you feel like it doesn’t happen often, it’s likely your time tracking has revealed it’s more common than you might have estimated.


For interior designers who run their own firms, the background functions of running a business can be complicated. That’s why working with project and financial management software designed specifically for interior designers can help.


Not only will this software streamline your daily tasks, but it also makes sure it’s done right the first time, saving your time for more important business duties.

4. Email Filters

Yes, emailing is important. But so are the other tasks you’ve laid out to get done each day.


Every time you check your emails, you’re taking your focus away from the task at hand, reducing your productivity and wasting time. Try scheduling out chunks of time throughout the day to reply to emails. Don’t go over the set time limit.


Mid-morning and mid-afternoon are perfect times for sitting down with a coffee and responding to emails. Also, try playing with your email’s filter settings. If one client is really important, set it so their emails spring right to the top, helping you prioritize responses.

5. Commitment to Organization 

If there’s one thing that’s vital for improving time management skills, it’s the commitment you put into organizing your time. Every minute is important. Organizing your schedule, to-do lists, software, and emails will help you keep the “time machine” in working order.


Improving time management doesn’t have to be hard, but it does have to be organized.


How to Grow an Interior Design Business

Karen Gastle

As an account manager, Karen has experience working with design firms of all sizes to integrate DesignDocs to streamline business processes, increase administrative efficiencies, and deliver higher profits.
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