I’m about to give you 3 ways to measure project time so you stop underpaying yourself. I think it could change the game for you.
Yes! The project is finally complete.
After working on it for a month, in-between dinner, cleaning, writing and playing with babies, the project is done!
Now all I need to do is plug in the numbers for supplies, overhead, hourly cost. . . oh no, how long did it actually take?
I know I’ve wondered more than once how long it actually took to finish a project often put down.
Life moves. No matter how much we’d like to slow it down or get a project done in one sitting, it’s not always possible because life calls.
Let’s be clear, I’m not talking about a hat that takes an hour, or a scarf that goes the length of a movie. What I’m talking about is that four month afghan or the twice frogged top. The project time on those pieces is hard to figure out . . . no more!
Count As You Go
First things first, count as you go. No, not your stitches, unless you’re like me and you need to, count how long a full row, or square or section of a project takes to finish. For example, if you’re making an afghan, time one row. Don’t rush. Set a timer or counter and work at your normal pace on that one row. When you’re done with the row, stop the timer and record the time it took to finish. If your project is repetitive, chances are, it’ll take that long to complete each row. When you’re done, multiply the number of rows by your time and whallah you have a good indicator of how long it took to complete that project.
Disclaimer – there are many times this won’t work especially if you’re making a piece that grows from the middle out, each row is going to take longer . . . that’s where the next suggestion comes in pretty handy. . .
Count Each Row
Count each row. Oh no, again, I don’t mean it literally. If you’re working on a project that grows all the way around with each row (like a huge granny square) then each time you sit down, you’ll need to time the rows. But, what’ll happen is you’ll soon see a pattern that lets you know how much longer each row took. Genius huh?
At the end of your project count all the rows and calculate using your incremental numbers. I know it sounds confusing, but here’s a small example. Let’s say your first round took 5 minutes, your second round took 7 minutes, your third round took 9 minutes. . . do you see the pattern? Since you can easily say it’s taking you two minutes more each row, when you get to row 20 you’ll know that it may take you about 40 minutes to get all the way around. . . I’m no math wiz, but that sounds about right to me (give or take a few). Try it and see how it works. Finally…
Set An Hour
You can probably tell that figuring out project time has a lot to do with counting the minutes as you go.
Now, let’s say the project is a top. It may be hard to count rows because there’s shaping, assembly and other things involved. This is where I say, set aside an hour (or two if you can) and do some focused work on your project. Once you’ve done that hour, take a look at where you are. Did you complete 1/3 of the project? Half? Take notes because that’s what you’ll need to figure out the full project time.
Don’t get hung up on being exact with the amount of time worked on a project. If it’s almost an hour, round up. It’s easier to have whole numbers than to parse numbers and there’s no way to know exactly the amount of time spent, unless you do it all in one sitting with no breaks!
I wouldn’t recommend doing that. It sounds a lot like a sweatshop to me and I’m sure that’s not what you want to create or yourself.
It’s important to get paid fairly for your time and efforts (see Hook Yourself Up: Pricing Crochet For Profit) so make sure you’re paying attention as you work. Just a little timer (or your smartphone app) can make a huge difference because you may start to notice you’re underpaying yourself by under-calculating your time.