You are trying to do it all by yourself to save money. You try to wear different hats, be a different person for different tasks and you find yourself at the end of the day feeling frenzied and unaccomplished. “I should have, could have, done more with the day,” you say to yourself, “I will never get ahead if I don’t invest more time in this or that.”
How to manage your time smartly is a challenge. It is so easy to become overwhelmed and get nothing substantial done! There are millions of excuses, but you know, deep in your heart, they are only excuses. So now we have a two pronged problem; how much you managed to accomplish in a day, and how do you feel about yourself while doing/not doing what you are supposed to do..
So here is a solopreneur’s guide in business time management:
Multi-tasking – Women are wonderfully resourceful when it comes to multi-tasking. Maybe it’s due to the fact that they do wear many hats. Solopreneur, wife, mother, driver, chef… Look around you while driving; how many women try to apply eye makeup on the road? This has got to stop because it’s getting you nowhere at a very high cost. Multi-tasking doesn’t always work. The eyeliner will be crooked, and God forbid if the car in front of you stops suddenly. Men do the same, holding everything in their heads and doing one thing while thinking of another. Giving to what you do your outmost attention will get you better results and will make you feel less frenzied.
Lists – Put your thoughts on paper or screen and don’t try to remember everything. For some, just the action of writing things down serves as a head cleaner. Make the list at the end of the day for tomorrow, or do it first thing in the morning. Check off what you have done and transfer what you didn’t have time to do to the next day’s list. Prioritize your list. It will give you a sense of accomplishment and progression.
Schedule – Schedule your list and the tasks you have to do every day. We all know how easy it is to get carried away reading about something we like, and the internet is pull of information. Schedule time to work, time to exercise, time to read emails and time to make phone calls. If you are working from home, this is extremely important. There are so many things that need to be done around the house… Schedule them too.
Listen to your body – One of the biggest benefits of being a solopreneur is the ability to do things your way without having to approve anything. Schedule things around your body clock. If you are a morning person, do the active things in the morning and save relaxation to the early afternoon when your alert level is down. If you are a night person, answering e mails at night might be the way to go. Find out what is your best time of day to do a certain task, and schedule your tasks accordingly.
Make time for friends and family – Tell them what is the best time to call you and apologize for not answering their calls if you are busy. Set boundaries at home as well. Have ‘office hours’ and ‘home hours’. During office hours, tell your spouse and your kids that you are not around. All their questions will be addressed in the home hours. This way you will not be disturbed by questions when you are trying to think of a new way to operate your business.
Use available resources – Set time aside to update on new software that can make your life easier. Develop a system and stay organized.
Patrick Del Rosario is part of the team behind Open Colleges. It is one of Australia’s pioneer and leading providers of TAFE courses and business management courses. When not working, Patrick enjoys blogging about career and business. Patrick is also a photography enthusiast and is currently running a photography studio in the Philippines.