"Where did the day go?" How many entrepreneurs are always looking for ways to manage their time better to be more productive and avoid the time thief.
"How do I find the time to write and do marketing when I'm balancing running a business, family, friends, etc."
Marcus Sheridan was asked this question and asked us to share our experiences with him in an email. I decided to apply one of my lessons learned and 'kill two birds with one stone' - my email became a blog post. I am sure at times, we have all questioned how we do it.. balance work, family and a little bit of fun. How do we get everything done? Have you thought about what challenges you face? What lessons have I learned over the years? As an independent Sales, Marketing and Public Relations professional, and a mom, I have a
Tips on How Entrepreneurs can Manage the Time Thief
- Home 'office' in a small house being shared by family, of all ages, and a dog - the dream of a separate room with a door.
- Time to create new networks - offline and online
- Minimum 8 hours sleep. Not just a want, but a need.
- Not wanting to say "no" - An overachiever for sure, so this has been a challenge
- Remembering my schedule is as important as everyone else's. I tend to be TOO flexible.
- Love to talk - part of being in sales & communications, but truly a distraction when it is not managed.
- Easily distracted by just about anything - "Look.. something shiny.." :)
Tips and Strategies
- Making a daily work schedule as if I was going to work - Seems overly routine, but it works. i.e. kids off to school at 8:30, Coffee & read til 9am, 9am on
computer, read blogs, and other online articles until 10:30 and then send out some cool links I find (slightly past this now), and then start working through my tasks.
- Being realistic with my goals - Only wanting to take on as much as I can manage, I spend quite a bit of time discussing goals and expectations (what does success look like to them, editorial calendar, etc) with new clients so that we can mutually agree upon what is achievable - for their calendar and mine.
- Organized- Staying organized is key. I find myself defaulting back to using MS Outlook to manage all my emails; however, I am finding that keeping my information in the 'cloud' gives me access to my information wherever I go. That is a good thing. I am working on using my GOOGLE account more frequently because of this. Other organization software I had a chance to research, that is worth exploring:
- Health - A friend recently gave me some advice "If you spend the time invested in being healthy, it will keep you from spending the time being sick" Figure that I would rather be healthy than sick, so I spend my time exercising & eating right - at least I try.
- "Kill two birds with one stone" - Have a meeting while cycling or over lunch, turn a responding email into a blog post (such as this one! ), driving while listening to my PR podcasts or audiobooks, etc.
- Write it down - I still use paper for my 'to-do / my thoughts' list at my desk .. not sure if this is a good idea, but it lets me write down my '
brain storming' ideas as well after I turn off my computer. If I write it down, I am not mentally distracted by thinking I might forget it. Saying that.. anything important, I do put it into my online task list.
- Flexibility & Mobility- I have to be flexible and be creative on how to get things done on time. If one of the kids is sick, etc., I have to be ready to go. I make sure I have my
smart phone, KOBO e-book, ipod, notepad, ipadand laptop ready at a moments notice in case I have to go somewhere (ie. sit in a waiting room for instance). I have to say, that my ipadis becoming more and more my 'go-to' tech tool the more I use it.
- Phone - My mobile phone is for business & personal, so I check it regularly. However, I follow some basic etiquette rules (i.e. phone off during meals or during meetings, business calls to voice mail after hours unless an emergency, etc. ) which
letsme focus on the task at hand. This not only offers increased respect from my client (or family member),but lets me be more efficient.
- Remember time is worth something - Spend time on volunteer work & personal development, but there has to be realistically proportionate to time spent for billable hours.