Last week I wrote a blog about guest blogging and the benefits of guest blogs for the blogger and the hosting site so had my first taker right out of the box and wanted to get on it right away. So please welcome Jackie Harder, from Key-Dynamics knock it out of the park on time management for small business owners. ~Kristen
Time management and productivity challenges
Small-business owners – especially solopreneurs and those who work from home – have special time management and productivity challenges. I found this out the hard way, leaving a 30-year career in corporate America to focus my own business.
Here are some of things I’ve learned, either through banging my head against the wall or coaching small-business owners.
- Get out of bed. You think I’m joking. I’m not. I coached a serial entrepreneur who owns five companies – and she runs them from her bed, wearing her jammies and surrounded by a flock of laptops. This woman works 20 hours a day. Yes. That’s 2-0 hours a day out of 24. Her kids have to introduce themselves to her every time they come back from boarding school and her health is circling the commode.
- Get ready. Clean up, eat breakfast and dress in real work clothes – just as if you were working for someone else. This is as much about your head space as it is your physical appearance. If you’re serious about your business, look like it and you’re more likely to act like it. What if you have to run to the store for toner for your printer or to the post office? You never know whom you’ll see – a client, a prospect you’ve been wooing. Do you want to your Next Big Client to see you in the produce section in your sweat-stained workout clothes?
- Go to the office. “What do you mean, ‘go to the office’?” I hear you asking. “I work from home! I don’t HAVE an office.” Well, my darling, it’s about time you made one. Clean out one of your closets. Take over that spare bedroom. Convert that open space in your basement. Carve out a working space out of the corner in the master bedroom and use it.
The home office
You live in a shoe-box and you don’t have room to clean out/carve out/convert into office space. You use the dining room table. You spread out on the coffee table in the living room. You gotta do what you gotta do. Which means it’s even more important to…
- Establish parameters and boundaries. This means setting office hours, starting and ending, of no more than 10 hours a day. There is a host of reasons why shouldn’t consistently work more than 10 hours a day.
- You increase your chance of heart disease by 60%.
- Your risk of having a stroke increases by 33% if you work 55 hours or more each week, and the chance of developing coronary heart disease goes up by 13%. This is due to a combination of stress, lack of physical activity and increased alcohol consumption.
- Chronic stress can lead to serious health issues such as high blood pressure as well as infertility, indigestion, allergies, migraine, diabetes, ulcers and skin disorders. It doubles the risk of depression, too.
- People who work more than 50 hours a week, on average, don’t get enough sleep to allow their brain to flush out toxins. Poor-quality sleep also impairs memory, increases weight gain, and causes irritability and other mood issues.
- Working too long impairs our cognitive functioning – the ability to build new knowledge using existing knowledge – and could lead to dementia.
- Block out your time. To-do lists are essential, especially when they are centered on your business (and life) goals. (The entire point of time management is to get important stuff done so you can enjoy your life.) But blocking out time is vital if you don’t want to get sucked into a time vortex that consists of you just checking things off your list and never getting anything done.
- Prioritize! If you don’t prioritize your task list, you may be busy – but are you accomplishing what you need to do?
- Set aside time to do those things that are important. The 2.5 hours 2 hours after you wake up are your most productive time of your day. For example, if you wake up at 6 a.m., your most productive time of the day will be between 8-10:30 a.m. That’s when you make an appointment with yourself, close the door, turn off your phone ringer, close all unnecessary browser windows, shut down your email and set your timer. If you have a short attention span, start with 15 minutes. If you’re going strong, set your timer for another 15 minutes and keep going!
- Reduce distractions. I’ve already mentioned the biggest distractions, but they are worth mentioning again: Check your email three times a day, after your golden 2.5 hours, mid-afternoon and before close of business. Let your calls go to voicemail (unless you’re waiting for one) and return them all at the same time. Use only the browser windows you you need to get your work done. Put a sign on your door, if you have to, telling visitors that you’re not available during a specific period.
Seriously though, be sure you set aside time for you and plan out your work day for efficiency and productivity. If you want some help with your time management, check out my free Facebook Time Tips group, get a hold of my DIY Coaching Manual or set yourself up with some coaching.
Guest Posted by:
Jackie Harder of Key-Dynamics