I'm always amused when I hear informercials promising that when you start your own business, you'll be able to 'set your own hour's and 'write your own pay check'. These advertisements make it seem that every business owner is rolling in money and doing very little to earn it - and I always laugh.
Ok, don't get me wrong, I love being an entrepreneur and have been since I opened my first spa at the age of 17. But, I'm well aware of the work and time that's needed to be successful when starting up a new business.
Now, being 'successful' may mean different things to different people. For some, success may mean having a home-based business that they only requires a few hours of work each week to bring in a little extra house-hold income. For others, success may mean earning a higher income that supports both themselves and their family as well as bringing in enough extra to put away for future goals and dreams.
Now, no matter which business model you may be running, you've probably feel like there never seem to be enough hours in the day to accomplish everything you want.
I know I've felt like this in the past and over time I've developed this system for myself that I'd like to share with you.
My secrets to time management.
1.) First we need to understand in detail were our precious moments are going. To do that, record all your activities, thoughts and conversations for one week. This will help you really understand what you are doing each day and where time is lost on unproductive conversations, activities and even thoughts.
Now you have to be really honest with yourself to discover how much time you are spending on your business and how much time is taken up by distractions. Identify and itemize every business related activity.
2.) Once you've identified real work related activity, get an appointment book and schedule everything. To-do lists just keep growing until they are impossible to complete, but appointment books or digital calendars really do work. Be sure to block off time for high-priority thoughts, conversations and actions as well as daily tasks.
3.) Take the first 15 to 30 minutes of every day to plan your day. Scheduling is your most important job and helps you focus on what really needs to be done to be successful vs what is just busy- or non-productive work.
4.) Take a few minutes before every work related call or task and decide what outcome you want to attain. This helps you visualize success. After each call or task, determine if your outcome was achieved. If not, establish what was missing and fix it for your next call or activity.
5.) When you absolutely need to get some done – put up a do not disturb sign. Even if you're a one-person business, close your door, turn off digital notifications, and definitely close your web browser and log out of social media.
6.) This advice was developed from the 'do no disturb' tip above. When you are interrupted by phone or email, don't always give people your immediate attention – unless it is absolutely crucial. It's human nature to want to pick up or hit reply promptly, but it's much better to schedule a time to reply. This allows you to consider your outcome as well as keep you focused on the task at hand.
Being an entrepreneur means we have to often jump between tasks, calls or event and carefully managing our time is crucial. So, if you are mindful that 20% of your thoughts, conversations and activities are going to produce 80% of your results, you will find both greater success and satisfaction.
Ultimately, our biggest regrets in life weren't our failures, but our failure to act. The secret to success is the same secret you knew as a child; just don't be afraid to take that first step…
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