Ever asked yourself how come some people seem to achieve so much more from their hours than others? We’re all given the same amount to play with and I’m not offering any simple solution because running a business invariably means devoting a lot more time to it than just 9-5 Monday – Friday. If you’re anything like me, it’s a driving passion.
That often means that 24 hours just isn’t enough hours to get all the work done. You find yourself sitting at your desk at weekends, evenings and before sunrise. Managing a small business, you’re in the role of salesperson, head of marketing and PR, bookkeeper, accountant and problem solver.
Part of the reason for the niggling equation of time usage and work/life balance is because the way we manage our time usually has a big impact on sales, profit and growth. Is it a bigger problem today than a few decades ago? I think it is: internet and e-mail has meant more of us have the facility to start up and manage a business so competition today is stronger; business is increasingly global so time zones may mean working unsocial hours. Communication has become ever more demanding and it’s unlikely your daily post would have had the same volume of envelopes as your daily inbox quota, all competing for immediate attention. Life was certainly slower pre internet…buy hey, not nearly so exciting and with so many opportunities to explore.
Achieving a work/life balance sounds boring so how about talking instead about managing your time and getting the best out of life? That means freedom, not just for yourself on a personal level but the freedom to enjoy your business and achieve greater success.
It’s about being organised, setting realistic goals and learning when to stop. As everyone is different, it’s no good me giving you a list of rules or ‘how to…’ points. Some people like a strict regime, reading e-mails at a certain time of the day. Others prefer just to tackle everything as it comes in, prioritising as they go, and so on. There are those like me who manage a bit of multi tasking with a combination of the other methods. You will probably know by instinct which time management method works best for you. It will largely be dependent on the type of business you work in, where your office is based and…the crucial point, your personal life.
Now, this is where the solution comes in. Most people make the mistake of fitting in social and leisure time around their work. As there is always work to tackle when running your own show, invariably this means leisure time gets sidelined and work time takes the dominant role, gobbling up those 24 hours in your day.
So, instead of looking at the whole picture and the mind boggling amount you have to get done in order to run your business, step back from all that and look at how much of your time you like to devote to outside interests and the activities you most enjoy. Go ahead and enjoy yourself.
If you’re serious about running a professional business, you’re not going to be in danger of living the good life while your company crashes. Instinct will kick in and you’ll know when you’ve devoted enough time to friends or family mainly because you’ll have rested your brain and when the time is right, feel more galvanised than ever to jump into work.
By understanding the demands your personal life will make on your time and how many of those demands are vital, you can begin to work out how much time you have left for being your own boss.
Structuring your time to achieve business goals helps make your business a success and allows you the free time to have a life outside of work.
The good thing is it costs you nothing to get yourself organised – except of course a bit of time.
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