As the CEO of my own business, I am so aware of time management. It’s just me, myself and I getting the sewing done. Many people struggle with being their own boss because they don’t manage their time wisely.  And frankly, I don’t think everyone is cut out for being a one man show. A lot of talented people have great careers with someone else giving them deadlines and keeping track of their progress. There’s nothing wrong with that.

But part of the appeal of running my own business is the flexibility. I want to work from home. And I also want to contribute to the household income. This flexibility is always in tension with work. Time is a tug of war between work and family, or work and sanity. It’s way too easy to let the flexible ease of being your own boss hijack your day and you end up getting no work done.

I want to share some realities that I have learned over the years. I am not perfect at any of these, but they do help. And to any of you out there with young children, I know that it’s really hard to make any of this happen and I don’t want you to feel guilty about any of this stuff. I am just giving hugs out to you.  And I know how hard and wonderful your life is right now.

Here are some realities I have learned over the years.

  1. Routines are your friends. Set up some work routines that are consistent everyday that you work. Here are some of my routines: Monday morning I bookkeep and do CEO work. Weekday mornings I work on my online academy. Weekdays from 1pm to 6pm I sew. Wednesdays I do fittings. I also have the routine to do a 2 week turnaround on most dresses.  Some need more fittings.  Saturday and Sunday I rest and grow skin on my fingertips.

  2. Procrastination is your enemy. When you put off your work, you end up rushing through it. Your clients don’t get your best work. And you feel super stressed. Bridal deadlines are solid. You have to finish on time. Often when I get brides who come to me to fix other seamstresses work, I wonder if the seamstress is actually this bad, or if they were just rushing.  My first question is: “How much time did you give them to do the work?” I feel that’s a fair question.  Usually, they had plenty of time. So I wonder, hmmm, time management or no skills?

  3. Momentum. A big part of the reason I do a 2 week turnaround is to keep my energy up. It gives me momentum knowing that this dress and usually 3 to 5 more dresses  need to be done in two weeks. (I do many more dresses than that during March Madness.) It also helps me to remember what the bride looked like in the dress. I don’t worry about when the wedding is.  If they have fitting issues right before the wedding, they can come back for adjustments. This rarely happens by the way. It also gives the bride peace of mind knowing her dress is done. Of course, if the wedding is right away, I will do a rush 1 week fitting.

  4. Don’t get distracted. This tip does not apply to people with small children at home. But for the rest of us, it’s so easy to get distracted with phones, household chores, ect. It’s basically a form of procrastination.

  5. Get your calendar set up so you can easily schedule your work. There are so many electronic ways to calendar these days. Try a few and see which one works best for you. Even paper can work if you can keep it with you. I use a google calendar.  I also keep a running list of dresses with when their next fitting is and what needs to be done before that fitting. (I love deleting the dress when I have it finished.) I also calendar all my fittings.  I  schedule “one on one” zoom meetings on google with my academy students too. Make a daily work list and schedule it into your calendar. If you don’t make a plan and allot the time needed to get it done, you are only hoping you get it done. You need to make it happen by scheduling the time for it to happen. This is the biggest key. Schedule your work.

  6. Set up and prepare for your work the evening before. I put my dresses in order on hooks so that I always know which dress I’m doing next. I tend to get overwhelmed if I see too many dresses, so I only put the next 4 or 5 dresses out on my hooks and put the rest away in a closet where I don’t see them. Gather any threads and notions you will need. This really helps mentally. For some reason, it motivates you to get in your studio and get to work. Your work is all planned out for you.


I hope you find these tips helpful and try a few. I am not perfect at time management, but I find more peace when I keep on top of my sewing.  It is so important to your success as a seamstress. Take care.

Dee Dee Anderson