Do Princesses Run Out of Time? A Practical Guide to Getting Things Done

Ever had one of those days where you JUST.RUN.OUT.OF.TIME?

Of course, you’ve had. You’re human. (Right? Riiiight?!?!?)

It’s a curious thing this about time.

We know exactly how much of it is coming in a day. In fact, time is one of the most stable, if not THE most stable, thing in our lives:

1440 minutes each and every day.

Yet, we OFTEN run out of time (and some of us.. ahem.. more often than others.. ahem ahem). 1440 minutes all gone with the wind while our über ambitious to-do list still runs as long as Rapunzel’s hair.

Whence our very practical question…

Who shall comb the princess’ hair?

Which is a very metaphorical way of asking:

What do you do when you run out of time?

Better yet, let us rephrase for emphasis:
What do YOU do when you run out of time?

Let’s say it’s one of those days when you obviously can’t do everything and something’s gotta go. How do you decide? What do you choose? Is there method to your madness?

As we were pooling our brains together this week to write a little love note to you in the midst of a mad scramble to finish a major project, we couldn’t help but ponder what OTHER PEOPLE (or princesses!) do when they run out of time?

(And no, in case you’re wondering, we’re not perfect. Chocolate melts, caviar spills everywhere, and we run out of time. You should see our living room right now. Ugh!)

So, we’ll go first!
Here’s what we do and the scales of importance tip our to-do list when time goes a-hiding and we can’t find it anywhere:


CREATIVITY :: Create for the big project

Both Stella and I find that some of our best creative moments come in the morning before our heads fill with the pings and orders of the day and before we get distracted by emails or cat gifs around the net.

Plus, creating is what we love to do. And scheduling something that fills your heart and soul first thing in the morning is like giving yourself a gift every single day. (Unless you’re a night person of course, in which case scheduling something you love in the morning when you eyes are trying to pop out of your head to escape the giant headache is like punishing yourself relentlessly. Tip: Know Thyself!)


BUSINESS GROWTH :: Submit a new proposal

What on earth are we thinking worrying about submitting a new proposal when we’re in over our heads with our current project? We’re thinking that projects don’t last forever, that’s what.

When you run your own creative small biz you have to make sure that work keeps coming and projects cycle through. That’s why we weigh marketing efforts and submitting proposals as tasks of heavy importance.
Plus, we don’t much like twiddling our thumbs while staring into an empty fridge…


RELATIONSHIPS :: Write a blog post

Under the category of relationships (business relationships, that is) comes anything that has to do with creating and maintaining relationships with clients, readers, or other professionals. All of these are important for a business, because without relationships you find yourself in the middle of your kitchen compulsively downing ice-cream while lamenting the fact that you laptop and phone don’t come with a “human-touch” app. (Ahem… a metaphorical touch!)

To paraphrase the poet John Donne:
No business is an island.

And I know that many of you out there who’re freelancing, entrepreneuring, or working your magic through small online businesses feel the pain of isolation from time to time. Maintaining relationships, therefore, is important not only for the practical reason that knowing people who’ll eventually either give you work or help you out with work, but also for the more psychological reason of not giving into the insanity of isolation.

No matter how full our schedule feels, we always prioritize getting our notes out to you twice a month, because, quite honestly? Without the ability to communicate our thoughts on creativity and the design and copywriting businesses and without the incredible notes you email back to us week and week out, we’d go completely bitter-bonkers in this little corner of ours. (And then we might end up with a name like Poison & Caviar. Or like the t-shirt we saw the other day for Cocaine & Caviar. Who on earth thought of that?)

That said, can you guess what time we wrote this blog post?


EDITING & RESEARCHING :: Reviewing feedback from client

Creative as it may be, our work is NOT ALL about creativity, of course. No creative work is. A large part of our time, if not most, is spent on editing, reviewing, researching, and calibrating.

Since we find this type of work mentally and creatively less taxing, however, we usually leave it for later in the day. This is when we’ll go over feedback from clients, review something we worked on earlier, or do research for a new creative part we’ll tackle the following morning.


BUSINESS OPERATIONS :: Accounting & Bills

Saving the worst for last…
Personally, I don’t get excited about doing things like accounting and billing and preparing invoices or doing taxes, but you know… I like the decór of our studio better than that of jail cells. So I do my best to keep on top of things.

I try to trick my brain into doing them by leaving them for the end of the day when I’m already thinking about the wine I’ll pop for dinner or the music at the salsa club, hanging these things before me as magical carrots. Sometimes it works and sometimes I still hate doing these tasks. Yet, they still have to be done. (Oh, the hassles of being a responsible adult!)

Sounds like a lot when you look at it together like that, doesn’t it? And imagine that’s not the entire list!

There’s lot of things we left out to select these tasks for no-time day such as: social media engagement and browsing, operation inbox zero and replying to every single pending request, dealing with a SUPER-URGENT-PLEASE-SAVE-MY-LIFE SORRY-THIS-IS-LAST-MINUTE type of request. (Pro tip: They never are that urgent in reality because if it was important enough the person should’ve planned in advance, right?)

Also, things like: Tasks for projects that have been scheduled but are not immediately due tend to get a back seat, researching new ideas, taking educational courses, learning new skills, and many other things we enjoy doing.

But when the hours go missing we cut them out.
Because the truth is that when the princess’ hair gets that long and that tangled, cutting bits out is the only thing that works. (Sorry, Rapunzel)


Sanity is more important than hair. Always.

Now let’s do your hair and fix up your sanity!

How do you smooth out the tangles when it all runs amok and a-wild? What do you prioritize and why? And, more importantly, do you put a bow on it when you’re done?

Tell us in the comments!