I may be over complicating this in my head, but I can't come up with an efficient way to use a calendar to keep track of booking orders and scheduling the work throughout the week. I have a regular 9-5 and I'm averaging 2-3 smallish orders a week, I find myself scrounging for time, all the time. I'm wondering if there's a template or even a smartphone app that anyone uses to keep track of their orders. And the guidelines that you use would be so helpful too. Please & Thank you!!!!
Replies sorted oldest to newest
Good question! When I had my shop (and even now as I plan out production for photo shoots and such), I do things the old-fashioned way by keeping a very long to-do list on Word. The list encompasses the full year with a daily "explosion" of all the things/prep work I need to do to hit deadlines. When I had my shop, deadlines/order due dates were also tracked in my Quickbooks accounting system so I could print out a shorter list of all that might be due in one week.
Julia's idea is great!
On this end, I use a Hotmail calendar that allows me to see everything going on in my life at one time, so I can balance appointments, kids' events, etc. with my cookie schedule. I do color coding for events, each child, appointments, etc. Cookie orders have their own color as well. When I take an initial order, I block off however many days I will need to work on it from start to finish. I start with the day that they are due and backtrack from there for drying time, packaging, etc. For example, for one week in August, part of it is marked, "October - Judy's Birthday Cookies". This way, when someone asks if I can do cookies the second week in October, I can see how many orders are already scheduled and if I can fit it in with other things going on. As I start to plan for the next month, I break it down by day. For example, ehe next few days are marked as “Flower Thank You’s & School Auction Cookies” and today is specifically - "Bake/Outline/ Flood/RI Transfers". So, each day shows exactly what I need to do so that I stay on track with proper drying time for detail work, bagging, etc. It might seem silly to list each step for that day, but it helps me get a quick overview as to what I need to accomplish so I can juggle the 10 a.m. piano appointment and other work that I need to do an not be working on cookies until 2 a.m. as I used to. I then have a separate written list with these things written out the night before with more detail, if needed, as well as other things to accomplish so that I have it right with me in the kitchen so I can mark off as I go and keep track of time. Perhaps a bit overkill, but I find that this works best for me, especially with the generalized overview of orders so I can know if I can take an order or not..
Well, I'm a bit OCD, so I always feel a huge sense of relief once I map everything out. It gives me assurance that I can actually complete the work; otherwise, it can sometimes be easy for me to get overwhelmed and not know where to start. I find breaking it all down into baby steps can really help me get traction, especially on very large projects like the one I am doing now.
I am the same way, Julia. I need to break it all down or I get stressed out until I do. Once that is done, I breathe much easier and then it is a matter of just pulling it all off.