Design Your Biz: A Workflow That Works

Working from home as a knit & crochet designer is full of challenges. There's always housework staring me in the face, as well as my bed, begging me for a mid-day nap. Being the only employee here at Jen Lucas Designs means everything falls on me (or I have to take the time to find the people to help me). Recently, I went to my husband, a project manager at a large corporation, for help.

Project Manage Me!!!!!!! I yelled.

I'm always feeling a little behind and overwhelmed these days, so I was looking for a few tips or systems I could put in place to help me get it all done. Alex's guidance has helped me so much over the last couple months, I thought I'd talk a little bit about my workflow today.
I've started using a Kanban board and working in two-week sprints.

Every two weeks, I evaluate what went well or not so well on the last two-week sprint, look at all my deadlines coming up and decide what I'm going to work on in the next two-week sprint. I make post-it notes for everything I need to do in the two week time period and add it to the "to-do" section of my board. When I work on it, it goes to what I call the "in progress" section. I've limited myself to no more than 6 items in the "in progress" section. When I first started this system, I found myself having a hard time sticking to that. But, now that a couple months have gone by, I rarely have more than two or three things in there at a time. This system has really forced me to look at the work and stick to a plan, and not start a million things at once. When the item is done, to the "done" section it goes!

When I get a new project to work on (for example, a magazine pattern), I'll write a post-it note for it, and stick it to my wall to the left of my board. That way, when I'm planning a future two-week sprint, I know that it's something I need to complete.

A few months ago, I was constantly scrambling to get things done. I'd let myself get distracted by whatever I felt like working on (rather than what actually needs to get done). Of course, as a designer, I have to give myself permission to occasionally ditch the plan when an idea strikes, but this system of using my board and giving myself basically self-imposed deadlines has made a huge difference. I still have to scramble sometimes to meet a deadline, but it's slowly becoming easier and easier.

I'm so glad that Alex introduced me to this project management system! Want to know more about it? Leave a comment below and maybe I'll get Alex to write a little guest blog post in the coming weeks going into more detail.

Happy planning!

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