Time management for most anyone is a challenge. Time management for a busy mom who also runs a business? Off the charts.
Keys to Success in Time Management
So, I will let you in on a little secret: Work/life balance is a myth. The key to being successful in running a business and keeping up with your family is by integrating the two. If you’re going to be successful in business without compromising your family, one is not more important than the other; rather, the two worlds must co-exist peaceably or you, and your family, will end up unhappy with the whole situation.
You are more likely to be successful in managing your time if you don’t try to be Wonder Woman, doing everything yourself, with no help. So sit your family down, as you get busier with your business, and discuss it openly and honestly. Find out what will work for your family in terms of time constraints and what won’t. Share with your spouse your vision for your business and make him or her part of the solution.
Once you have a clear view of what your day CAN look like and what support you have from those around you, it’s easier to prioritize your tasks.
Get out a calendar and mark down immoveable tasks / meetings or appointments: things that you can’t change. Dentist appointments, school trips that you volunteered for, deadlines for projects you are currently engaged in and so on.
Be Realistic – There is no point looking at your twenty-two immoveable items TO DO list and thinking “Sure, I can get this done before the school bus gets here!” You will be frustrated or even anxious about it and ultimately, less productive.
Block off time for your business. How much time and what time of the day / week is really a function of the type of business you run, but again, be realistic. You can’t block off whole days to 5pm if you have to pick up the kids from school at 3:30pm and need some time to get groceries first (because who wants to go through the grocery store with a child who has just been at school all day?).
Make a list of the things that you need to do on a weekly basis – in business and at home – and assign them a priority from 1 – 3, 1 being high, and start adding them to your schedule. By doing this, if your schedule gets too full or you have an emergency to deal with, you can drop the priority 3 items to another time.
Too many tasks? Time to see what you can let go of or even outsource. The business isn’t a business if it isn’t making any money so you need to prioritize business tasks that are directly contributing to your earning money as number 1, with secondary supportive / administrative tasks coming in at number 2 or 3. Don’t make everything priority 1. I know it’s nice to have impeccably clean floors and no finger smudges on the fridge door, but no one will expire in your family if that gets put off for a few days. Trust me on this one.
Share your calendar with your family members that will be helping – in order for them to be on board the ship, they need to know which direction it’s going in. Keep them in the loop.
Re-Visit Your Plan:
Like a business plan, time management is not a static concept. It’s fluid so make sure one of the tasks you list for yourself to do is to re-visit the schedule / tasks regularly to ensure that you are allowing enough time for all your priority 1 tasks, whether they be business or family related.
Lastly, don’t forget about you. Make time in the schedule somewhere for ‘you time’. Whether it’s a hot bath after the kids are in bed or a coffee date with your bestie, it’s all important for your overall well-being and that of your business and family!