Designers tell me all the time that it takes them forever to get a design job done. Since they think they are so slow and don’t know how long the job will take, they claim they can’t do design fees. On the other hand, a designer may be new and it does take them a long time because they are still learning. Either way, this challenge represents time spent that will not be paid.
Here’s how you can get a handle on your time, figure out how long it takes to do a job, and improve your speed:
Develop Time Awareness
Track all your time for a few weeks or longer. By doing this, you learn where your time is going. Write everything down at the end of the day and be honest, list what you spent your time on. This will give you a sense of how long it actually takes to do a design task.
Rule #1: There is no judgment here. The reason behind this is just to collect the data. It’s not to beat yourself about it. Whether you spent time to pick up the kids from school or took three hours to rescue a contractor who was in trouble, just write down whatever time it took you to complete those tasks.
Rule #2: No comparisons are allowed. When you compare yourself to someone else, you compare your inside to someone else’s outside, and it doesn’t work. You will always feel bad, and it’s a guaranteed recipe to beat yourself up.
Check the Money Relationship
You’ve heard me say that 15% of a budget is a great way to figure out your design fee. If you have a $100k furniture job, then your design fee would be $15k. And if you want to get paid $150 per hour, that gives you 100 hours to work with, which is plenty of time.
You can also use this formula to figure out something smaller. Let’s say you just need to figure out time to research a light fixture that is budgeted at $500. Calculate 15% x $500 = $75, which guides you to get it done in half an hour.
It’s not difficult to do this if you have done your homework and have your good, better, and best vendors in place. That way, you’re not wandering around the internet searching for whatever “eye candy” shows up.
The truth here is that you have been asked to make a logical and educated decision about what the client needs to buy. They didn’t ask you to create a masterpiece, and it isn’t expected to last 100 years.
Letting go of finding the “perfect” piece and practicing finding a “good” piece is how you’ll make this work. Figure out your time intention for what you’re working on. Then, you can use your phone as an alarm to ensure you don’t spend more time than you’ve planned for. You won’t end up getting trapped into falling down the rabbit hole or “chasing squirrels” and ending up on a pointless search that eats up your time.
In my world, time is precious. Time is the only thing that you can’t reproduce or get more of. Once it’s spent, it’s gone.
When you practice time intentioning, you won’t be perfect at the start. But as you keep setting a goal, you’ll get better at it. And a year from now, we won’t need to have this conversation because you’ll be able to implement it instantly.
Watch the video above where I explain how this helps you get paid what you’re worth. You have a life because you don’t work nights and weekends anymore. You also have the money to do things you want to do with your family or buy the things you really want.
Do you find yourself going down rabbit holes and chasing squirrels in your business?
If so, and you want to make a change, we are here to help you focus and provide support for growth. Book a clarity call today with one of our coaches and join our tribe!
Until next time, design something beautiful and get paid what you’re worth.