I have been an entrepreneur for more than a decade and in that time, technology has finally caught up to a point that anyone can run their own business from anywhere and this leads to a unique issue with time management - basically, you can run your business 24/7 and you will do so but you need to manage your time effectively to ensure you take care of you and anyone else you need to care for (e.g., if you are a mom/dad, too).
I can literally spend all day working on "stuff" such as marketing, creating connections and appointments to promote my business with partners such as schools and universities and just finding clients for my services such as resume writing and/or application essays. This is great but, remember, I am often pulling triple duty and still teaching at various schools from K-12 and creating content for my upcoming course on Entrepreneurship: Building Your Own Business for Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning oh and all the other stuff that having a young family requires.
My general rules for time management is here for you to check out and see if any of it applies to you as family person, employee, entrepreneur and whatever other roles you take on (say maybe school volunteer too - maybe I should just call myself quintuple duty instead of triple duty?):
1) Schedule your time effectively - I generally teach 3-5 days per week so I know I have certain tasks I do on the weekend. Yes, being an entrepreneur means you will work on the weekends but it is okay - it is really okay because it is what you are passionate about and what you know you can help the most people with by doing so you do it with glee. So I map out my week on the weekends - I schedule for which days I hope to work (as a substitute, sometimes I am on the money and sometimes I over or underestimate how many days I will be called to teach but since I have a plan and do some pre-work on the weekends, it is doable). I also prepare drafts of my blog posts - these posts are so important to my business and sharing my name and expertise with the world is how I garner so many clients and referrals and more. It is worth the time it takes to craft original posts.
2) Know what is important - so, every day, I create a new blog post. I work on these posts on the weekend and in any spare time I have available to me during the week. I find these posts to be so important to garnering attention, clients and partners that I do not cut back on them - at all. This week I am spending a few days on a family vacation but I will still post each morning to share my thoughts and more with all of you. If the posts did not garner as much attention and revenue as they did, I would not do a daily post. I would drop down to once a week or twice a week because creating content every day that is worthy to share and represents me and my business is a challenge. That being said, I do love challenges so maybe I would still do the daily post even if it did not yield as much as it does... Hard to say.
3) Take a break - this is hard for me and with technology, it becomes so easy to just sit on my iPhone or iPad all day and read and share either from Twitter or LinkedIn or some other sites. It is also possible to work on my clients' stuff for hours at a time - this is all the way it needs to be but you do need to have some downtime scheduled. So I am up at 5am so I can do work uninterrupted until almost 645am and then I schedule "breaks" between 3:30pm-6:30pm so I can do homework, dinner and more with my kids before I get back on the computer or iPad or whatever to work more.
4) Unplug before bed - this is so important. Whatever comes up in the middle of the night can be handled at 5am at wake-up. You as an entrepreneur and just as a human being need rest and sleep like anyone else. If I do not get at least seven hours of sleep, I am useless. I know this and schedule my nights accordingly and that includes silencing all of my various communication methods until morning.
What do you think about my time management must haves? What do you need to manage your multiple roles effectively? Happy Hunting!
Lisa Vento Nielsen