As a small business owner working from home, time management is the most challenging aspect of my day. It’s also a major issue for many of my clients and students with pressing deadlines. I have had a big rest over the last month. I've taken this opportunity to reflect on how to use my time and skills.

Sky_in_Mauritius_no1

Get a bird's eye view on your business. Go to a high place like this and get perspective.

 

Like me, I expect you have chosen to do what you love. If you are self-aware, you will know how to help yourself. What are your strengths? Where do you need support? You do what you love, but you also need to pay the bills. If you are a maker, designer, craftsperson or technical expert, you will be focussed on delivering a product or creation. This means that you spend a lot of time in your business and not on your business. Are you able to get out of that engine room? If you want your business to grow, you would really benefit from getting up onto the bridge and taking control of the wheel. If you struggle to do this, find a marketing professional who can help you focus on strategic planning:


•    Focus on jobs that will have the greatest impact for the lowest effort (just get on that phone!).


•    Concentrate on the important rather than the urgent.


•    You could prioritise your tasks each day using a scale of 1-10.


•   The three Ds (do, dump or delegate) work well!


•    Consider prioritising your inbox. There’s no need to reply to every email.


•    Refuse to get distracted by social media – use management tools and be disciplined about the time you set aside to run your accounts.


•    Try to set boundaries with those around you. If you are in full flow and you get interrupted, you’ve just lost 10 valuable minutes because you now need to work hard to get back into that flow.


•    Think of nice new ways to say ‘no’.


•    Aim at freeing yourself to do what you love - build systems and processes that anyone can deliver in the future.


•    Create a ‘to do’ list, or an Excel spread sheet based on these principles:

 

Date

Priority

Task

Delegate?

Due

Start

Done

H  M  L*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[*H= high priority, *M=medium priority, and L=low priority (these last ones can go into a drawer – chances are you can bin them after 3 months!)]


•    Separate out the jobs that you don’t have the inclination, time or skills to complete. Delegate these to people who can deliver.


•    Take time out to rest and just ‘be’.


•    Get a good balance. Have fun – you are one of the lucky few. Free yourself to do what you love and experience the joy of creating.


•    At the heart of effective time management is self-respect. Look after yourself and get help from someone who is objective and can take the bird’s eye view – you know where I am....

 

© Tessa Webb, August 2013

www.creativesintobusiness.com