Time management is a considerable challenge for solopreneurs running a home-based business. For women with kids at home, the difficulties are greater because their attention is divided between multiple responsibilities, which makes it difficult to be totally present.
Here are a few time management tips to help women who work from home on their own business.
Schedule Your Day to Avoid Parkinson’s Law
The idea with Parkinson’s Law is that tasks expand to fill the available time. This works in many different situations. With a home-based business, there’s no boss coming over to check on you or making sure everyone is working hard. It’s easy to slack off, even unconsciously and spread a task out over an afternoon even when it should only take 2-3 hours at a maximum. This is a bad habit to fall into and difficult to break once you start.
By scheduling your day out into time blocks, you know what you plan to do and when. There’s a clearly planned start and finish time for each task/project. If you’re out of practice working out how long it should take you to complete a task/project, then you’ll have to underestimate initially and adjust as you go. But the idea is to plan your day – using Google Calendar or another calendar app is a good idea for this – by setting appointments blocks for yourself. This way, you’ll naturally speed up to complete a task within the time instead of slacking off, whether you intended to or not.
Outsource Low-return, Time Sapping Tasks
There are many smaller, less important tasks that consume a lot of time and provide a distraction from what should be the core focus of your business. Some things are important enough that you might wish to hire a professional to do them, like an accountant or bookkeeper to deal with the books. But other tasks are repetitive and sap considerable time out of your day, week and month when you add up what time they consume.
Use a site like UpWork to find a suitable freelancer or virtual assistant that can take over these items. A reduced number of balls in the air will relieve some work stress. Bear in mind that you may have to prepare some standard operating procedures or an instructional video to train someone if the task is regular enough to warrant it.
Focus on Areas of Business Growing the Fastest
While you do need to tend to all areas of your business when you’re working alone then where you allocate your time is particularly important. Other than the smaller outsourced tasks, if you don’t get the important tasks completed, they’ll just sit there. For this reason, you must identify the types of services or products that you sell which deliver the better sales numbers and earnings for your small enterprise. Doubling down on these profitable areas where there’s room to expand and grow into a larger market share is clearly where your attention should be.
Obviously, while you’re growing one part of the business, you should not neglect the other parts which have customers and deliver profitability too. Growth is great, but it’s never guaranteed. Because of this, even if you will subsequently decide to focus solely on the most profitable products or services, in the meantime you still need to keep all the dishes spinning at once. Sorry about that!
Make Personal Appointments at Convenient Times
Keeping up appearances is important for everyone. This is never truer than when you’re the face of your business. Meeting clients face-to-face or even taking video conference meetings, you need to look good. While this is true, it’s best to take personal appointments out of working hours where possible. Fitting in a new perm or getting your nails redone in the middle of the afternoon isn’t practical for most businesses. Pick a salon that offers alternative opening hours, so you can pick an early morning or evening, or weekend appointment that won’t get in the way of your busy week.
After all, whilst getting your hair done on a business day might seem like a good idea, anyone you talk to later that day on a video call may question when you changed your hairstyle? They certainly won’t be impressed to discover that clients came second to style choices, especially if they’re chasing up project completion on the call!
Managing your time is a tricky thing. It disappears quickly, and you wonder where the day went? It’s sensible to plan each day out the night before so you know what you’ll be doing when you sit down at your desk in the morning. And try to separate your business life from your personal life as much as possible. Keep a separate line for business and call friends back after your workday has ended unless it’s a truly urgent matter.