1. Lesson Learned: My days in hours

    17 Comments




    Hope all of you are well!! It’s so nice to be able to log on to this blog and chit chat with all of you! Wahoo! Thanks for making this such a great place to come back to and continue to share.

    Two weeks ago I did a little experiment. With all this talk going around about how freelance designers have more on their plate than just designing, I was curious how I really spent my “working” hours. How much of my day is spent on responding to emails, writing blog posts, client work, house work, errands, etc? How much time do I spend growing my business, maintaining my business, and keeping that business afloat.

    I knew going into the life of a freelancer would come with tasks that I wasn’t used to doing. I knew I was going to have to wear ALL the hats, but I was ok with that because all those hats were growing MY business and not someone else’s.  If you’re curious about the hourly breakdown, continue reading after the jump.

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    Here’s what I found with the experiment:

    Client work – I spend about 17-20 hours a week on client work. This means that I’m either behind a camera shooting, or at my computer designing/editing. This time is dedicated to completing the task at hand only.

    Maintaining Business –  I spent 10-12 hours a week strictly on maintaing Veda House. These tasks include responding to all emails, creating blog content, managing my finances, etc.

    Wedding – I spent about 10 hours a week on wedding planning!!! I know this time will be allocated to different things come June, but I was shocked to see home much of my week is dedicated to the big day.

    Housework / Errands – I spend about 4 hours throughout the week on housework. These tasks are usually related to laundry, cleaning, or grocery runs.

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    The experiment was REALLY helpful in visualizing where my time was going. After a year of growing this business I needed evaluate and make some changes if need be. This experiment told me that I was working (on average) 31 hours a week, which is drastically better than the 55+ I was working at the advertising agency….for much less pay. This also told me that come June I’m going to have an extra 10 hours a week to either gain more client work (if wanted), or put that time towards a passion project (more likely the case).

    If you’re interested in doing your own tester, all you have to do is make a chart for the 5 working days of the week. I tracked my time every 30 min from 8:00 in the morning until 5:00 in the evening. I found that recording ever 30 min kept me on track and produced the most accurate results. I would LOVE LOVE to hear how your tests go and where your time is allocated, so check back in and leave a comment!

    *These photos are from my home studio ( taken by VH ). I’ve done quite a bit of re-arranging as time goes by. You can view some more photos of this space, here & here.

    Also, If you are looking for a great fitting/high quality iPad cover, you should check out thesnugg.com. I was generously gifted a white leather version from TheSnugg team and love everything about it. It’s perfectly “snug” in all the right places. *note* These view are solely my own and I was not required to write about the case. I did however want to share a quality product with you just in case you’re looking for an iPad case as I was. Hope the mini review helps :)

    COMMENTS FROM THE VEDA HOUSE READERS
    1. Diana says:

      I love how dedicated you were to finding out how much time you were actually spending on different tasks! I’d been thinking how important it is (especially when since I work from home/mostly by myself) to hold myself accountable for how I spend my days. I’ve tried out Yast, a website that allows you to input your hours/activities, but my husband’s been using the Reporter app (it’s basically an app version of what you were doing on paper, but also will create some graphs for you) and loving it, so I’m thinking of switching to that. Have you tried Reporter at all?

      • veda says:

        Hi Diana!

        Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing that app. I haven’t looked into apps just jet, but have been meaning to. This one sounds exactly what I would like (with graphs). Thanks for sharing!

    2. Laura says:

      I always love reading breakdowns of how creatives spend their time! I think we all overestimate (and underestimate!) how much time we spend on various types of work. It’s an ongoing experiment to figure out the best division of time, especially as business grows and evolves. Thanks for sharing yours!

      • veda says:

        Glad you enjoyed it Laura. I was happy to find out how much time wedding planning is taking up because that means when the wedding is over, W’ll get all that time back!!!

    3. Caitlin Liz says:

      This is an excellent exercise!! I definitely think it’s especially useful to creatives to analyze their workday and realize that you can’t expect it to be the same as a 9-5 (especially for those of us just starting out!).

      This is also a great exercise for determining where you’re WASTING time if you constantly feel like you’re falling behind on things. Last year, I was working on a writing project that seemed like it was taking FOREVER. I decided to keep a stopwatch of my working time so I could bill my client appropriately and was shocked by how much time I was spending “off the clock” (checking Facebook, Twitter, getting distracted by the internet…).

      Currently I’m better about being distracted and most of my bill time is by the hour so I use Harvest to turn various project clocks on and off, but I always feel guilty for how much time I DON’T work each day. I still get all my work done, but being a creative has definitely meant that I can fill my life with more tasks that aren’t necessarily work-centric (like blogging or wedding planning).

      Great post! Happy to be able to compare my time management to other creatives :)

    4. stephanie says:

      hi cassie – this post is such a great idea! i’ve been working as a freelancer for over 6 years now, and i’ve never done anything like this. most of the time i’m so busy with work, i forget to take a step back and see the bigger picture. i had a kind of aha-moment back in january when i started mapping out a bigger ‘plan’ for 2014, taking a critical look at my client roster and setting both creative and financial targets for myself for the first time. i feel like i finally stopped going with the flow, and took my career firmly in hand for the first time. i’m definitely going to do an excercise like the one you just described very soon – i can’t wait to discover how i’m really spending my time as opposed to what i feel or think.

      and yeah – about the wedding planning: i totally know the feeling! i look back on 2013 and wonder how i got ANY work done at all, considering how much time i spent on planning and organizing our wedding for september. but i definitely saw it as a passion project and got a lot of creative fulfillment out of it. :)

    5. Wow, that’s so interesting! I’m always curious to how I am using my time, maybe I will have to keep track the next few weeks :) Love the photos of your studio, how gorgeous!

    6. Kelly Brito says:

      This experiment sounds fantastic! I must try it as well -certainly, house work will be 10+ hours. *sigh*

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    8. emma says:

      This is such a great experiment! So interesting to find out how you spend your time as well, I may have to try this!

    9. Laura Vee says:

      Thanks for doing this Cassie! Its so helpful to see how you’re making freelancing work for you. Goes into my tool kit for if and when I make the jump :D

    10. rae says:

      this is a great idea, i think i will try to see just exactly how all of my time is spent during the week starting monday.

    11. This is so incredibly fascinating! So much that I plan to do my own time experiment as I often (way too often) feel as though hours just disappear in my day! I would love to see where most of my time is going… and definitely look forward to re-evaluating some things at the end of the project.

      So stoked about this! Thanks for sharing and inspiring. :)

    12. […] see how I’m spending my “working hours” and how productive that time is. The idea came from this post on The Veda House […]

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