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We all have had a demanding client who takes too much of our time demanding more and more choices because they are having a hard time making a decision.

But what about when WE are the time eaters? What about when own indecision is causing us to spend way more hours that necessary on a design task?

Think about this…you go to a fabric showroom to find 3 fabrics that work together for your Master Bedroom project. You can complete the task in an hour and a half in your favorite showroom or you can spend all day going to 5 different fabric showrooms and come back with 6 huge bags of fabric memos so that you can go through them all again for another 2 hours and find perfection. (Perhaps)

Here is the reality check: what is the client willing to pay for? About 2 hours of time to select fabric would be a reasonable.

If you want to wander in shopping land all day, do so… but know that the client is not interested in paying for it. You are burning up your own time.

You bill the 2 hours it should take at $100.00 = $200.00, but you really spent 6 hours shopping because, well, you like to. Actually you are making $33.33 per hour and you used up your whole precious day.

Those of you who have taken the NCIDQ have discovered that this competency test is all about being efficient with your time or you won’t be able to finish it. And you FAIL. This is the lesson of the NCIDQ: learn to make a decision and build the design on it. This lesson tells us that in order to make a living in interior design we need to make decisions quickly and move forward not get lost chasing the next “bright, shiny object” in our path.

Use these three tips to keep yourself on track when you are in the creative side.

Tip #1 Take your total fee for the job and divide it up into a time budget. Know exactly how much time you allowed for each task and stuck to it like you were working at a job for an employer. If you allowed 2 hours for fabric research, go to your favorite showroom and get the job done right then and there.

Tip #2 Get square with the fact that you do make good design decisions quickly and you do not have to look at everything in the design center to affirm your choice. Deep down you know have it right the first time and you also know to keep working on it will eventually create a mess. Trust your intuition.

Tip# 3 Don’t give away your time to your clients, you devalue yourself and your services. The more limited your time is and the more clear your boundaries are, the more valuable you become to your clients.

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