I don’t know how you do it all, Anne” is a comment I frequently hear and to be completely honest, there are times when I am not sure either as I juggle a lot.
However, I also know that I personally function better when I am busy whereas when I am not, I am not sure what to do with myself and I waste time.
Managing our time was a topic that came up at a recent meeting, and everyone was full of suggestions and nodding their heads in agreement, that time management was a big issue for the solo entrepreneur.
As a starting point, it is good to keep a calendar where you can schedule in appointments, including appointments with yourself. What do I mean? There are times when you need some down time, some space just to think (or to play) and to make sure that happens, book some time with yourself. Create that white space.
I have a monthly calendar as I like to see my whole month at a glance, that way I can see when I have some time to schedule in work that requires what I call the Swiss Cheese approach, in that it needs to be broken down into manageable bites.
Often I will work backwards from the deadline. I love deadlines – they make me work and get stuff done. But if you work backwards from when something is due, you can slot in time to make sure you are ready, and build in some extra time just in case.
Another suggestion that came up was blocking off time in segments of 45-60 minutes. Do your work in that time slot, have a break and then do another block of time.
Now one challenge that frequently came up was email and your inbox. One woman shared that she’d disciplined herself just to check email in the morning, lunch time and then at end of day, otherwise you can be at the beck and call of other people’s agenda. We’ve gotten used to getting that instant response and that’s not fair or practical.
I have a notebook in which I keep my ever-growing list of things I have to do – both business and personal – so I can keep track of what has to be done. There is just a sense of accomplishment when I get to tick it off. But it does help me to get an overall picture of what has to be accomplished in a given week.
Talking of lists – if you can afford it, you can also delegate the stuff you really don’t want to do – for example, bookkeeping was one of the first tasks assigned elsewhere. If money is an issue, perhaps you can barter services.
And if something appears and reappears on your list more than three times, take it off. Maybe you don’t really want or need to do it.
Just remember – “You get to decide where your time goes. You can either spend it moving forward, or you can spend it putting out fires. You decide. And if you don’t decide, others will decide for you.” – Tony Morgan
Company of Women
I have had an eclectic career from running non-profit organizations and being editor of a national magazine, to working for government on women’s issues. In 2003 I launched Company of Women, an organization that supports women in business. A prolific blogger, I also write for the Huffington Post, and several other online publications. I am the author of five books on women and entrepreneurship, and co-author of Good Enough. Embrace who you are. Unleash your brilliance. which is available on amazon.ca In June, 2016 I launched Full Circle Publishing offering one-stop services to get your words out into the world.