Time management in the busiest time of the year
You’re at your day job, clicking away at the key board, running errands or managing the regular chaos that life throws at you when you remember the list as long as your arm of critical items that need to be accomplished for your business. You wonder how can you do all of this, add the holiday responsibilities and run your business. It’s not easy, but with a few time management skills you can stay on top of your business this holiday season.
- Create a workable plan. Stop worrying about everything that needs to happen and make a plan. Look at your schedule and block out the time you’re going to work your own business. If you had an appointment with a doctor, you’d go. Make an appointment with yourself and keep it no matter what else needs to happen.
- Work your plan. Work hard and solid (no online shopping) for the time you set out. Contact customers, post on social media, go live, send invoices and other income producing activities. Then, do the non-income producing activities like gift wrapping product or printing mailing labels. Always make IPAs 70% (or more) of your working time and non-IPAs 30% (or less) or your working time.
- Delegate and let it go. All those things than need to happen in the house or for your own holiday celebrations are important, but a lot of times someone else can do it. Can your kids clean up from dinner? Probably not as well as you, but let them anyway. Can your husband do some of the shopping for the kids gifts? Probably not the same way you would, but let him anyway. Can you order some of your holiday treats? They might not be exactly what you would have made but if your business is bringing in cash, let some one else do the baking. Just this once, give it a try.
- Find out of the box ways to save time. When my kids were small I homeschooled and my husband worked from home. I mostly worked in the evening so we started eating our “dinner” meal at noon. Every one got a home cooked meal. We sat at the table together as a family and I didn’t feel the stress or guilt of either not cooking my family dinner or of not being with them while we ate. I’ve known people who decided folding laundry was a huge waste of time. So, she gave each kid their basket of unfolded laundry and gave herself hours of life back. It doesn’t matter if you don’t do the things that don’t really matter. If you can thing outside of the box and do the things that DO matter in a little different way, you will be able to take control of your time.
- Walk away. When your “work” time is done, even if you’re not done. You can get back to whatever you didn’t finish at another time. Your family needs you and you need a break. Show them and your self that you’re done for the night in what ever nonverbal way you can. Close your office door, shut down your computer, close your date book. Those nonverbal cues are important for them to know you’re available to them.
Be careful that you’re running your business and it’s not running you. Allowing all the busy work to creep in to our personal time will cause you to resent your business and it will give you a false sense of activity. You might “feel” like you work “all” the time and not see the income you’re hoping for. If you can be intentional about your hours and intentional about what you do during that time you’ll walk away from the day with a much higher sense of satisfaction in what you do.