Time Management

by | Jan 18, 2022 | knitdesign

One of the things that I am being really intentional about (and protective of) is my time. For too long I’ve fallen into the trap of just working all the time. And when I say working, sometimes it’s just half-working while trying to pay attention to a tv show or move I might enjoy. And other times it’s just that “no I can’t I’m working” excuse that I throw up against anything that might bring me joy. 


So in this our year of Betty White (happy belated birthday to the queen by the way) I am being incredibly protective of my time. I have set up working hours. I have set up reasonable goals for what I can accomplish in a day or a week. I have planned out fun things to reward myself – whether I get every little thing done or not! You are a human being. You deserve good stuff – you deserve fun!


What are reasonable goals? Well I’ll be honest with you – I’m a work in progress on that front. But I have a backlog of finished samples and half written patterns that I am working on publishing – and it’s been an amazing exercise in figuring out how long things actually take. There are so many bits and pieces to get a design ready for release – if you’re signed up for my designer email list you can see mine. (Click the pic below to sign up!)



But how long do these things actually take? That my friend will be different for all of us. I knit really slow. Like really slow. Like I should have probably taken up another profession slow. But I find the math and the grading and the charting come really easy to me, and I can do them quickly and efficiently. My current master to-do list has time estimates on all the tasks. And I’ve been keeping track of my time to see how accurate those are and where I need to make adjustments. For example I know it takes me about 30 minutes to put together an Instagram post – but that includes taking the picture, editing the picture, writing the caption, finding any relevant links, scheduling the post, etc. I list 15 minutes to do the facebook post for the same image – but honestly it’s usually faster. I’m just cleaning up the caption and scheduling. 


So here’s a crash course on how I manage my time. I like to work on longer term goals – usually quarterly. And then I break down the goals into ALL the individual tasks it will take to accomplish that goal. And I do mean break it down. There is a task for weaving in the ends/seaming a piece. Which isn’t really that small of a task if you think about it, because it can take hours, but it’s one of those pieces that needs to be accounted for. And then I come up with a rough schedule of what week/month each piece needs to be accomplished. I like to write out my to-dos on post-it notes (with the time estimates) and then I have sections on the whiteboard for “to-do” and “in progress” and “done”. I reset the board every week. Because I have things broken down into such small chunks it takes a lot of post-it notes.



For example I have a cowl that I need to release in the next two weeks. The sample is done (with ends woven in) and the pattern is in rough draft form. This pattern has no charts and is one size and has no schematic. So this is my remaining checklist for that pattern release with my current time approximations:

  • 30 mins – Block cowl 

  • 15 mins – Take pictures while blocking 

  • 1 hour – Write full pattern in Word

  • 15 mins – Send pattern out for tech editing

  • 2 hours – Photography

    • Including editing photos

  • 30 mins – Review tech editing changes and fix mistakes in full pattern

  • 30 mins – Layout pattern in InDesign

  • 60 mins – Review final pattern

  • 30 mins – List on Ravelry

  • 15 mins – List on Craftstar Studios

  • 15 mins – List on LoveCrafts

  • 30 mins – Make Ravelry forum post announcements

  • 90 mins – Create and schedule 3 Instagram posts

  • 45 mins – Schedule 3 Facebook posts

  • 90 mins – Create and schedule 3 Pinterest pins

  • 60 mins – Write e-mail for release

  • 15 mins – Set-up coupon codes if applicable

  • 15 mins – Send pattern e-mail

So when we look at the list about it looks like just about thirteen hours of work. Will it take that long? Hopefully not. But I’ve also found that scheduling more time than I actually need makes my life sooooo much easier. They say you can accomplish way more than you think you can in the long run, but way less than you think you can in the short term. I think this is very true.

So when I look at scheduling this out over the next two weeks, I plug it into my schedule on the days that make the most sense. But I’m also super flexible – while keeping in mind which tasks depend on others to keep the machine moving. The tech editing needs to happen on schedule – so I want to make sure that written pattern is to the Tech Editor as soon as possible in the process. So that one I can’t push back. But if I’m on a roll and I want to spiff up a bunch of Instagram captions at once I can already prewrite all the captions for these posts. I’m still working on batching more work so I can keep going on things when I get into a groove.

Don’t forget to give yourself some down time. When you knit for a living, working on your latest deadline piece no longer qualifies as down time. I’m serious! It’s harder nowadays with all the scariness out in the world, but you still need to do things that aren’t business related during your downtime. Take up a hobby – one which you have absolutely no intention of monetizing. I’ve been playing around with watercolors. I am really, really bad at it – so there’s no risk of that escaping hobby status!


So don’t over schedule yourself. And don’t be afraid to say no! Taking on too much work will always bite you in the butt. Trust me, I’ve got the bite marks to prove it. Take care of you!


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