All small business owners struggle with time management. I'd even go so far as to say that almost all human beings struggle with managing their time properly. So, the next time you're feeling like there just isn't enough hours in the day, don't be too hard on yourself. It's all too common of a problem, but luckily one that is fixable!
When you're trying to get a small business off the ground, you're not just doing it for you: you also have your family and future in mind every second of the day. Then, in an even more cruel realization, once your small business is up and running, you’ll find that it takes just as many - if not more- hours to maintain the momentum and level of success.
However, there are a few small tweaks and changes that can make a big impact on the amount of available time you have to do the things that matter most to you.
Make the Time
You don't have the time, but you have to make it anyway. There’s really no other way to say it.
You won't be good to anyone else if you run yourself ragged. You're going to hear this time and time again, but it seriously bears repeating. You need to force yourself to stop, breathe and start getting your mind off work for a little bit. Sleeping, eating, seeing your kids: whatever it is, you have to figure out how to make it happen. Do it for yourself. Do it for your family. Do it for your business...and do it because science says so:
A study on biological sleep clocks by researchers at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, published in the July 26 edition of The Journal of Vision, found that the longer someone is awake while they are sleep-deprived, the slower their work production becomes.
To further add to the point:
In the U.S., it's estimated that sleep deprivation costs the U.S. economy more than $63 billion in lack of productivity every year, according to a 2011 study by Harvard Medical School researchers.
This could very well be the difference between failure and success because it ultimately means that you'll be more productive when you are working. We all know what it's like to be working and then look up at the end of the day to realize we haven't really done anything. When you're able to effectively use your time, you won't make that a habit.
Ask for Help
You can't do it alone. This fact is the hardest thing for busy entrepreneurs to accept. You're so used to having far greater success when you do the job yourself that you never want to let that kind of control go. It weakens your relationships and doesn't bode well for business.
Even if your business does go through the roof, you might not be around to enjoy it due to stress-induced illness being right around the corner. Start recognizing your employee's strengths (and they have them, trust me), and play to those.
The people around you will be happy and so will you. If you've been having trouble with the amount of traction your website has been getting, you may want to consider hiring a staff of professionals to get the job done right. Their expertise is just one more thing to rely upon during times of great stress.
And if you’re a solopreneur, then start to outsource some of your daily tasks. Hire a virtual assistant via Elance, look into outsourcing your online marketing - basically start delegating all of the tasks that our outside of your skill set (or that you simply hate to do).
Whatever it is that you do, start small. Congratulate yourself for even a few moments of better time management skills. This is not an overnight process. It really does take a lifetime to develop, but everyone has to start somewhere.
(image via Nicesimplethings.com)