Now that you have set your sales goal (Not sure what I’m talking about? Check out Part 1 of this series), today we will discuss the 2nd mistake that moms make in growing their business:
#2: Not being intentional about how you spend your time
Moms are experts in multitasking. Admit it, you’ve been there. You can juggle a business phone call, break up a fight between two kids, keep an eye on the stew on the stove, and do a quick email RSVP to a birthday party coming up next week, all at the very same time. On any average day, you are Ms. Superwoman, keeping all those balls in the air at the same time.
The danger of keeping this up over time is that you could end up being busy and not accomplish very much. At the end of the day, week, or month, have you ever noticed business is nowhere further along, and you wonder what you did last month because it sure seemed busy?
Here are some questions to check if you are spending time wisely:
- What are your office hours? Are there designated times when you work and designated times when you don’t? Some moms’ office hours are defined as “whenever I get a moment”, which is okay, as long as your business is a hobby and you’re not relying on it to bring in predictable or significant income. Allocating business hours in your schedule enables you to schedule time, ahead of time, to work on the various activities associated with bringing in revenues and servicing clients in your business.
- Do people around you know your office hours? Once your hours are set, communicate this with your clients, colleagues, your spouse, friends, kids, and anyone else that might be impacted. If the rules are clear, people will respect the boundaries you’ve set. I can’t begin to describe the peace of mind this brings and how you can get rid of a tremendous amount of mommy-guilt. Your clients and customers will know when to expect to hear from you, and your family will know when you’re available for them. You’ll know how to say “no” because your time has been pre-allocated. This gives you the power to set expectations and the power to focus (so you can postpone answering those 5 work e-mails that just came in because you have scheduled a time later to answer them) when you’re spending time with your children.
- Are you pleased with how your business hours are structured? In general, it’s ideal to structure your business tasks around how many hours you have to allocated each day. For example, answering e-mails or checking your social media sites may only require 15 minutes, but crafting a proposal or doing design work may require a few hours at a stretch. Ideally, it’s better to spend 2 hours on your business in one sitting than spending eight 15-minute increments throughout different times of the day, as it might take a few minutes to settle in and start being productive.
- How much time are you allocating to business development? You’ve heard it before. You should be allocating time to work “on” your business, not just “in” your business. Are you dedicating time each week to grow your business? Business development activities might include expanding your network through networking events, reaching out to potential new clients to have coffee, or partnering with a strategic alliance to run a promotion contest together, amongst others. How much time will you dedicate each week to growing your business? Make sure this is scheduled in your calendar (note: spending time on social media platforms randomly, or redesigning a brochure, or updating your website copy, doesn’t count as business development, sorry!)
The key here is being INTENTIONAL about how you spend your time. You ought to start your day knowing how you want to spend the day, start your week knowing what you want to accomplish that week, and start your month knowing what you’ll accomplish by the end of the month.
Homework: Pick your favorite time scheduling platform (paper-based calendar or daytimer, iphone Calendar app, Blackberry, or Excel spreadsheet etc) go through the questions above and set up your work calendar and office hours for the month!