One of the realities of working a full-time job and operating a creative business: there is never. enough. time. in a day. I used to try to cram my entire to-do list into my evenings, then before I knew it, it was midnight and I'd accomplished nothing other than stress eating a bag of Reese's Pieces. Hopefully none of you have ever found stray Reese's Pieces in your orders (and if so, you're welcome) ;)
Getting my business tasks done on the weekend is inevitable, but I now enjoy setting aside dedicated time to work and it helps my weekdays feel less scattered and stressful. There's a fine line here — I definitely think it's important to allow for personal time and socializing — which should be prioritized in the same way you prioritize work. These are some of my main practices for staying productive, but not overworked, when I find myself working the weekend.
I carry a Field Notes steno pad with me and write down everything I need to do, no matter how small. Even if it's to order more supplies, or follow up on an email. When juggling a lot of tasks, it really helps me keep things straight. I used to use a day planner, but instead of assigning tasks to days, I prefer to keep it fluid. I like to check off the small things during the week, and save the tasks that take the longest for the weekend. Running to the post office is easy to do on my lunch break or after work, while sitting down to sketch for a few hours is better saved for the weekend.
Some weekends, my priority is to finish off a project, and other times my top priority is to have brunch with a friend. Or take my dog for a long walk. Both are important and it's okay to put your project on the back burner if you don't have a pressing deadline. Self motivation is key in an independent business, but not everything is worth stressing over. I schedule time for things I enjoy — like baking, reading, or working out — and give them equal weight. You can't be your creative best if you're not feeding your soul, so take care of that, too.
SET YOUR SPACE
I'm fortunate enough to have a studio in our house with plenty of space to work and store my products. We recently did some minor updates and reorganized, and the space feels better than ever. I feel very 'at home' in my studio and never dread heading there for a day of work. Figuring out how I needed the space to function made it so much easier to make a plan and execute it. We added shelving into the closet to store my apparel, mugs, and packing supplies and it's so incredibly helpful to have everything at my fingertips. It saves time, effort, and frustration. It sounds obvious but having baskets, bins, and files organized makes such a difference, whether you have a single desk setup or an entire room.
With my space set and ready to go, I like to create an environment that's enjoyable and relaxing. I like to light a candle, turn my music up, and clear off the armchair for Cooper so he can keep me company. Grabbing a drink and a snack allows me to focus and not have to get up if I get hungry. If I leave my desk too much I tend to get distracted, so I make sure I have what I need before diving in.
On that note (and I'm so bad at this) — I also recommend putting your phone far, far away. Like for real, in the other room. It seems like one minute I'm responding to a text, the next I'm somehow watching a DIY video about making your own lipstick...is it just me? Haha. It's a time suck, and the sooner you get your work done, the sooner you can get back to the other stuff. So put that darn phone away!
As with anything, my to-do list ebbs and flows. There are times when I have my weekends free, and times when I'm hitting the studio on Saturday and Sunday. I truly enjoy doing it, though, and I also enjoy my full-time job. And that's okay; it's just about balance. I've figured out what works for me, and it helps to know there are a lot of people out there doing the same thing. If you're passionate about your side gig, there are ways to find the time and still enjoy the journey!