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Our minds may be incredible, but there are limits! One of the fastest ways to get your design budget out of whack is to forget important deadlines and deliverables. Surprises may be great for birthdays, but they are not welcome on your design project. Even the slightest snafu can cause mega money headaches.

To keep your design project budget in harmony like a beautifully tuned symphony, you must act like the conductor and be sure your cues and follow-ups are perfectly composed. It becomes even more critical when you juggle many different design projects at various stages ALL AT ONCE! I mean really, who doesn’t do that?

I KNOW how much we all love the design process—it’s what made this profession SOOOOO appealing—but when you’re an interior designer, your project and budget management skills are critically important, too.

The best way I know to keep everything on budget for each project is to track the following:

Weekly updates with vendors, trades, contractors
When you have multiple projects, and some vendors and contractors working on multiple projects with you, it’s a challenge to keep everything straight. Who is going to do what, what’s the follow-up required, is someone waiting on something to do something? Remember time = money. Be sure you have a weekly update for each project on your calendar to prevent costly delays and miscommunication.

Update clients on progress
When you don’t keep your clients updated on a regular basis, you’re just inviting problems. Unless you have a task scheduled on your calendar for client updates—for each client and each project—it’s so easy to forget. Sometimes, you look back and weeks have passed when it only felt like days. Problems = money. Schedule in your client updates.

Timeline adjustments
Schedule time to do timeline adjustments and send the revised version to everyone. Unless the entire project team is made aware of timeline changes, you may encounter timeline glitches that could lead to costly revisions. Since every aspect of a design project needs to flow in an efficiently choreographed way, you run the risk of labor costs and costly project delays if everyone isn’t operating from the same timeline.

Update orders status – placed and ordered, received
Have you ever COMPLETELY forgot about when you’re supposed to receive shipment of that custom-made dining room table? And remembered weeks after it should have arrived? I have. Learn from my mistakes and be sure to schedule time to track your orders status.

Make new selections product selection, if necessary
You don’t want to be the one who puts a wrench in the system. You will be if you don’t make new product selections in a timely manner. Again, this is something I NEVER forget to do if I put the task on my calendar.

Place any new orders
Just as I expect my project team to be taking care of their to-dos (see the next item), I must do the same. One of the things that I add to my calendar for each project is to place any new orders so that the design process keeps moving forward.

Check status of any vendor or contractor deliverables
Has everyone reported on their to-dos? This is where I put on my Boss Lady hat and verify that all my partners in this design project are taking care of their business. It’s better to catch any oversights as early as possible to minimize the budget damage.

Communicate the status of to-dos to the team
Part of my regular project management tasks is to communicate to the team the status of our collective to-dos. Again, this proactiveness allows us to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible. By scheduling it on the calendar, it won’t get forgotten.

Have you delivered your to-dos to your teams?
This is the final question on my Checklist for Reoccurring Calendar Items that you can download for FREE. Let’s face it. When you’re so busy tracking and checking in with others when you’re acting as the project manager and budget oversight committee for the design project, it can be easy to lose time for tackling your to-dos. Never let it happen by scheduling it in.

Anything I missed? What would you add to my checklist?

Until we speak again, I hope your design projects run smoothly and stay in budget with all of these calendar tips!

Click Here to Download Weekly Recurring Calendar Items Checklist



P.S. Return on Interiors has been nominated for the Amara Interior Design Blog Awards. If I am a finalist, I will attend the awards ceremony in London. Soooo, would you please vote for me? Thank you!