As Cake Makers, we are in the business of dedicating our time to make occasions special, make wishes come true and create lasting memories. Bringing a cake to the table takes so much more than just butter, flour and eggs. The most expensive ingredient needed is our Time. Below we bring you time management tips to improve your productivity while running a successful cake business.
Break larger goals into smaller steps
Work out your priorities in life and let them be the guidance for how you should manage your time. Once you have worked out the bigger picture, you can then work out some short-term and medium-term goals. For each goal, establish detailed steps needed to accomplish, make sure they are outlined in advance. People set goals and then never follow through with them. Think about millions of New Year’s resolutions that are made every year. The issue with these types of goals is that while they’re great ideas, people just don’t know what to do to achieve them.
To increase productivity on a daily basis, break larger goals into smaller steps. Your day should be made up of a series of aims that have specific milestones. For instance, if your to-do of the day is to finish filling your business taxes, you should think and write down all of the steps that you’ll have to take to complete it. Plus, knowing you’ve completed certain steps towards conquering your goal can be incredibly motivating. By dividing larger goals into smaller steps, you will be able to achieve your goals efficiently since you know what steps must be done along the way.
Whether you have a bakery or work from home, keep your workspace tidy and organised. The first step to increase productivity is to clear and then organise your space. Eliminate everything that isn’t necessary, then create a system for the things that are. For example, arrange your ribbons, food colours, cake boards, etc. so you can find them quickly when needed. Make sure everything has its place, and you know exactly where it is. The same for when you are baking/decorating a cake. Ensure that you have all your equipment on hand before you start, for a smooth workflow.
Understand your style of working
Do you like to work with tight deadlines or do you prefer to leave yourself plenty of time? Whichever way is fine, but know which method works for you and use it to your advantage.
Audit your time
You will know when you are at your most productive during the day (maybe when kids are at school). Schedule your day so that you take the maximum advantage of when you are at your best. That time of the day when you know you will be focused, motivated and be free of all distractions is when you should be scheduling those most important tasks. When are the main points in the day you waste time? Identify anything was causing a regular, repeated drag or drain on your time. These might include technology, tools, lack of technique or simple overload of orders. One by one, fix them, address them, or change them to free up more time. Get on a course to learn the missing techniques, order that tool which will make you work faster or simply say no to that unwanted order.
Block out distractions
What’s distracting you while you are in the middle of stacking your cakes? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Are text messages popping? These things can get very distracting. Make sure you set yourself time aside to attend to the marketing needs of your business, but when you are working on a cake, put calls on record, emails auto-answered and get back to them afterwards.
To find that extra hour you need to give up that TV show you watch (or with today’s technology catch up another time) or the amount of time you spend on Facebook watching those videos that come up on your news feed. Do not give up the things which you love, never sacrifice time with family and friends.
As cake makers, we always underestimate how long something will take us to finish. Factor in decoration drying time or cake/icing cooling or setting time. Make sure you set yourself enough time during your day so if something does happen to go wrong, you won’t be rushing and stressing. Target to be early. Keep an updated diary of your workload, set yourself up daily to-do lists and be realistic with your time. Always stick to your list and accept that emergencies do happen.
We all need downtime
Take mini breaks during the day to recharge and refocus. Put the kettle on, sit down, have a brew and make sure you are working efficiently. You need to be making clear and profitable decisions, and you can’t do that with a head full of cake. Go off the grid, put down your icing bag, get out of the house/bakery. Take lengthy breaks away on holiday, if possible to help you stay productive long term.
Learn to say No
If you try to do everything that crosses your path, you are bound to miss out on few critical tasks. Saying no to the less important tasks will help you focus on the important ones.
If some things can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider commissioning. This will take your load off so you can focus on the tasks you do best. Remember you are running a business and your client expects the best, so if you are not great at modelling get it done from someone who is.
End your day with a to-do list
At the end of each day take the time to make a list of what needs to be done the following day. While your head is already in work mode at the end of the day/night, set your tasks up ready. By writing down your plan of action for the next day – including your goals and the details of them – you’ll be armed with a plan that should carry you efficiently through the day. If you have a clear understanding of what you need to accomplish for the day, you’ll be more likely to get right back to the task at hand, rather than aimlessly drifting from one task to the next. This will also increase productivity in the morning (or when you start your working day) as you won’t be starting your working day putting together a to-do list and realising you should have started earlier for the day.
Work – Life balance
You also need your own time away from business with family and friends. There will be times when you can’t help having to pull that all-nighter or work all weekend to get that order completed, but having a work-life balance is crucial to any successful business and for your family life. There’s no point in doing all this work if you have nobody close to share and enjoy your success with. Keep strict boundaries, when it’s family and friends time, when work gets put away. This will keep your relationships going strong too. You need to be happy and fulfilled in both aspects of your life to be productive.
If you can adapt these simple tips to your daily routines as a cake maker you should soon begin to see productivity increasing, earnings growing and find you have a euphoric work-life balance.
We hope you can find TIME to follow these 🙂 Let us know in the comments below.
Until next time..