The Timeboard – get creative with your scheduling

Are you a creative, looking to improve your scheduling? Is your schedule different every week?  Are you sick of reading business guides about scheduling that have no relevance to creatives?

Jenna Hubbard, Project Assistant at ICE, recently introduced me to the concept of a Timeboard. And no, this has nothing to do with Doctor Who or time travelling.  

Get creative with your scheduling!

A Timeboard is just a simple way of scheduling for creatives.  It is extremely useful when you have certain core activities but your schedule changes every week.
It’s very simple.  You take a big piece of paper and split it into seven columns, one for each day of the week.  Label each column clearly.  Then grab some coloured Post-Its and a marker pen. Each Post-It becomes a block of time.  Let’s say Monday you spend two hours emailing.  Great, just write Email, 2 hours on one colour of Post-It. Then stick it on the chart under Monday.  Put different kinds of activities in different colours.

Afterwards, take a red pen and a blue pen and put stars on the Post-Its.  A red star indicates where you give energy.  A blue star indicates where you receive energy.  This can help you keep track of how energising or tiring your weeks are, and prevent burn-out.

Then once a week you can sit down and plan your week ahead.  If things change, no worries! Just take off one Post-It and replace it with another.

If you suddenly have a week-long project that usurps everything else,   When a week changes like this, the way you spend your days changes. All those housekeeping, adminny things get left behind.  Maybe emailing goes out of the window. No problem! Can you fit emailing in on a Sunday evening?  Or will you just lose emailing for a week and survive?  

Take off the Post-Its for activities you don’t do, and put them under or around your Timeboard. Then you can clearly see what you have, and have not made time for.  

You can see the dotted red line on my Timeboard separates my schedule from those activities I haven’t made time for.  I don’t have much wall space, so I put mine onto A1 card I can move around my flat.  

A few weeks after I made my Timeboard, there had been no progress in one area of my business.  I checked my Timeboard to find this was the one Post-It that repeatedly never made it into my schedule.  No surprise there’s been no change!

The Timeboard is a revolution for me, and one of the best scheduling tools I have ever seen for creatives.

What you put on your Timeboard is entirely up to you.  If meditation is vital to your daily schedule, put it in!  On mine I have my yoga classes, time for walks and I have even figured in time for creative play.

So get yourself a Timeboard, and get creative with your schedule.

ICE and graduate mentoring for creatives

I have just been accepted onto the Graduate Mentoring Programme at the the Institute for Creative Enterprise in Coventry.

The Institute, more commonly known as ICE, is owned and run by Coventry University.  It offers hotdesking, networking opportunities, meeting rooms, a post box and lots of advice and mentoring to local creatives.

This is great for me, as I’m not short on ideas but I could definitely do with help on running a business.

After a chat with Jenna Hubbard, ICE’s Project Assistant, I had a really good chance to define what our theatre company does, and how I envision our creative future.  This is a real turning point for me.  Our theatre company is just about to undergo a massive change as Jan, the Artistic Director and founder, moves to Denmark.  I am just about to undergo a massive change myself: in October I start an MA in Creative Thinking.  I need business advice to carry the company forwards, and possibly starting a new company which will specialise in improving creativity in businesses and schools.

I was accepted onto the programme and immediately opportunities started flying my way.

ICE are brokering an internship scheme with The Future Works.  This means we as a theatre company can offer a graduate an internship. It also means I can become an intern, perhaps in an area I’d like to learn more about. Perhaps for a company that specialises in creative thinking…

I am alos given my own access card, which means I can come and work art a computer here at ICE 24/7.  All the hotdesking spaces have massive 20inch Macs with both Windows and OSX.  They all come with the full Adobe Creative Suite and I can come and work away here all day and all night, if I wish. Each desk has a phone, and each computer is hooked up to a printer, so I can work here at virtually no cost to myself, with no distractions.

There’s also two kitchens, plenty of meeting spaces and toilets with showers – so if I want to cycle down and get freshened up for my business meeting, I can.

I already have a session booked in with Jenna to look at scheduling, and in September ICE will put me onto a training scheme.  Here I will get free business training, business tools and a chance to design the future of my own creative business.

Not only that, but ICE is a hub.  I can find out what’s going on in the area creatively.  I can meet other people who are working in Coventry as creatives. I can find opportunities and events more quickly, and more importantly, build relationships.

So far, so good!  It’s all about the ICE, ICE baby.