Articles, Blog

Time Management for Etsy/handmade sellers: the one post-it trick you need to know

September 11, 2019

If you often feel like your to-do list
is a monster that never stops growing and that no matter how many items
you cross off during the day, you inevitably add a lot more
at the bottom of it as well, this video is for you. I’m going to be
sharing a super simple, cheap – well, free – and efficient way to get on
top of your to-do list and help you prioritize what’s on it
for good. Let’s dive in. Hi, my name is Deb and I’m
the founder of, a membership community for
makers and handmade shop owners. Lately I’ve been opening up my Asana app, which is the app I use to keep track of
my projects and just generally my to-do list and I’ve been
feeling very overwhelmed. I consider myself a
pretty organized person, but sometimes it doesn’t even have
anything to do with how organized or disorganized you are, it’s just that there are those weeks
where everything feels like it needs your attention right now. You might have a few orders that you
didn’t expect and then you’re also launching a collection, maybe that’s also when you’re in-laws
decided to visit over the weekend… Whatever it might be, there are some weeks where you have 15
items on your list every day and you don’t even know where to start because
everything feels like it needs to be done right now. When this happens, the first step of what I like to call
the “recovery process” is admitting that you cannot possibly do everything
that’s on this list. It’s impossible, and if you try, you’re going to fail, which is going to make you feel worse
the next day and the vicious circle continues day after day. Step two, now that we’ve accepted that we need
to let go of some items on that list, at least for now, is to prioritize. I do this every morning
– or not every morning, but every time I feel overwhelmed by
my to do list and I don’t know where to start – and it really takes me 2
minutes and it’s changed my life. I hope it’s going to help you too. What we’re going to be using is
called the Eisenhower matrix. I’m so sorry if I pronounced
that really not properly. It’s an easy and quick way to
prioritize your to-do list. The concept is simple. Some
tasks are important, some aren’t, some tasks are urgent and some aren’t. The problem with the human brain is that
we tend to focus and to do the urgent tasks first because that’s
how our brains work. But that’s not the best way to
go at it, or at least not always. So let me show you exactly what I mean
and what this Eisenhower matrix really is. So the Eisenhower matrix
really is four simple squares. You can just draw two lines and
you’ll have those two squares. On the horizontal axis we’re going to
have items going from not urgent or not really urgent, all the way to
very urgent on the right side. On the vertical axis, we’re going to have things ranked from
not really important to very important. So when you look at this
as four different boxes, you really have in the bottom right, projects and tasks that are urgent
but that aren’t actually important. Then you have on the bottom left things
that are not urgent and not important. Top left you have things that are
not urgent but that are important. And then on the top right you have
projects that are urgent and important. This is the theory behind
it, and now in practice, what does this mean? Well, obviously
when something is urgent and important, you want to do it now. That’s your very focus for the day, the really first thing you
need to start working on. If something is important
but it’s not actually urgent, then you want to schedule it and decide
when you’re actually going to get that done. It might be today or
it might be later this week, but you have to set a time in your
calendar to take care of that because although it’s not urgent, it’s
something that’s going to be important. That might be something to help
you get more sales, more traffic, some sort of marketing project that
you’re working on, anything like that. Next we have things that aren’t urgent
and that aren’t important and guess what? This is the best box of the four of them
because you can just cross that off. You can just literally drop it.
It’s not important, it’s not urgent, you can’t look into it for now. It doesn’t mean that it is not something
you’re going to do in the future. It just means that for now you shouldn’t
worry about trying to get that done. And then finally, if something is urgent but it’s not
important – so these are all the little tasks like catching up on conversation
or on emails and all these little things that really end up piling up – there
are a few things that you can do here. If you have an assistant
that works with you, you can delegate that or outsource that. And actually if you don’t have
someone that’s working for you, this might be a good idea to keep track
of that because if you keep adding things in this box, it might be time for you to
actually hire a little bit of help, at least for a couple hours a week. If it’s really not something that
you can afford at the moment, what you can do instead is find a
way to either automate those tasks; so maybe if you spend a lot of time
doing little things like posting your Instagram posts yourself manually, maybe you could put that into an app
instead that would automatically publish that. Automating is going to really
help you get back that time. And then batching is the other option. That means that instead
of doing one email here, another email there during the day and
feeling a little bit overwhelmed because you haven’t really gotten on top of
your emails that day it’s saying, “I’m not going to look at my emails at
all until 3:00 PM and then from 3:00 to 4:00 PM that’s all I’m going to do. I’m going to block this hour and I’m
only going to focus on this one task”. So it’s really regrouping all those little
tasks and deciding that you’re going to create slots in your calendar
to get it done all at once. So how does this really look in real life? Well on mornings where I feel I really
need to prioritize my to do list I write down on a piece of paper, honestly, I just write down whatever is on my to
do list and anything else that’s sort of on my mind, so it’s kind
of a brain dump as well. So you can see on the left side you would
have a list of items that you need to do. This is actually a
good looking to-do list, mine would have 25 more items on it and
I’m sure yours too if you’re watching this video. But the idea is just to really write down
everything and anything that you think needs to get done. The next step is to actually
put numbers next to each item. They don’t really matter,
if it’s number one, it doesn’t mean that it’s the
first thing you didn’t work on. Literally start from the top, go to the
bottom and just go: one, two, three, four, five, et cetera.
Once you’ve done that, I want you to get a postit note or another
sheet of paper or whatever you want to work with. I like to use a post it note because I
can usually stick that on my calendar. Then you want to actually draw that matrix
that we just took a look at together. I like to put as well a little reminder
of what the actual scale is there, so I’ll put “u” for urgent, plus and minus so I know which quadrant
is what and I’ll put “im” for important, plus and minus to know which one
is important and non-important. And then from there I’m going to look
at my list on the left and I’m going to go: “okay, item number one
– is it urgent, yes or no? And is it important, yes or no?”. In this case I’m going to decide that
number one is not urgent and it’s not important so I’m going to
put it in the bottom left. And then you go down your list like this, adding your number in the
relevant box or quadrant. When you’re done with that, it’s time to actually use it to prioritize
and to decide what you’re going to do, what you’re not going to do and
when you’re going to do the rest of it. So the first thing is always to cross
off anything that’s in the bottom left. So these are things that are not
important and they’re not urgent, so just forget about it for now. You can always get back to it
later. Maybe it’s next month, maybe it’s next trimester,
but in any case, now is not a good time to look at them
so just cross that off your to do list as if it was done and forget about those. The second thing you need to
look at is the opposite box, which is the top right one because
these are things that are important and urgent. So this is going to become
your number one task today. This is the thing that needs to
get done before anything else. You’re not allowed to work on
anything else until that gets done. And then once you’ve put that into
your calendar, so maybe you say, “okay, today at 10:00 AM I’m going to start
working on that and I think it’s going to take me two hours” – write that
down, cross it off that list. Next is looking at the top left box, which are things that are
important but not urgent. So you don’t need to do them right now, but they’re all probably projects that
are going to move your shop and your business forward, so you do want to make sure that you
make time on your calendar for it. It may be later this afternoon once
you’re done with your number one task, or it might be tomorrow or the
day after. It doesn’t matter, but write down a time at which
you’re going to be working on this. Once you’re done, of
course you cross it off. The last one is the bottom right box. And these are things that are urgent
but they’re not really important. So these are all the little
tasks like email, conversation, maybe you need to go to the post to send
a few products – whatever it might be, try to group those tasks and
decide when you’re going to do them or if you find yourself always adding
more items in this specific box, it may be time to consider hiring a
little bit of help for that. Finally, is there anything that you can automate
that’s going to help you be more effective and more productive
when you’re doing those tasks. And that’s really it. Now I know it took
me a little while to explain it to you, but once you get the hang of it,
it’s actually really, really, really quick to take those items and
move them onto your little system on your post-it and you’ll get clarity really
quickly on what’s really important, what’s important but you know, you can
maybe do it tomorrow instead of today, what you shouldn’t even worry about and
the things that you need to get done, but that you need to be more
efficient at doing – maybe batching, automating or delegating.
So I hope this was helpful. Let me know below in the
comments: are you going to try it? And I’d love to know if you do
what you thought of the system. And of course I’ll link to my free library
of resources for makers and handmade shop owners just below. It’s full of guides and checklists to
help you grow a successful handmade shop so make sure that you check it out. There are lots of freebies
in there for you to download. And if you like this video, give it
a like and subscribe to the channel. I come up with a new video every Tuesday, always with the goal to help you start
and grow a successful handmade shop. Bye for now.

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  • Reply Deborah Engelmajer September 10, 2019 at 9:35 am

    Hope you liked this video! What's your favourite time management tip?

  • Reply Gwen Wruck September 10, 2019 at 11:23 pm

    Such a helpful video!! Thank you so much for sharing, super practical and do-able. Starting today!

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