I’m a great believer in small business owners making time for themselves away from their business and freely enjoying the life they love. Its important to give our body and soul the space to re-charge and re-fresh so that we can give more to our business pursuits.
All to often we feel guilty with the business and personal life tug of war. There’s always so much to do and often we do everything ourselves. There are goals to reach, sales to make, marketing to complete and accounts to process. However the truth is that by stopping and allowing ourselves time out to recharge – we become infinitely more productive.
Easier said than done?
Here’s my top 5 tips on how to organise your business and allow yourself guilt free me (and family) time.
1. Get the right tools
To manage a business effectively there’s certain tools that every business needs:
- CRM (customer relationship management system) or database. Note: an excel spreadsheet isn’t going to save you time or give you the customer insights your business needs.
- Project manager or task planner to take control of your projects, plan your required resources and automate what you need to do and when.
- E-marketing system with auto responders to maximise your marketing opportunities and automate your communications
- Cloud based tools so you’re able to work from anywhere and maximise the time you spend away from your desk. Use cloud file storage, cloud based business platforms and ensure your email and calendar are mobile enabled.
There’s literally hundreds of business tools available to help you manage your business effectively. Some basic tools are free and many low cost but all are suitable for the small business owner. Spend some time assessing your immediate and future business needs before implementing to ensure they can grow with your business. Review whether the tools and software you use communicate with each other so that you can automate tasks across your business functions. Tip: Check out Zapier if they don’t!
2. Outsource tasks that don’t make you money
If you’re spending time on tasks that require a low skill level, you’re not skilled at or don’t enjoy and completing these tasks takes you away from directly generating income, it’s time to re-assess. As a general rule if your average hourly rate x the time it takes to complete costs more than paying someone else to complete, outsource the task.
Your hourly rate x time taken = less than cost
3. Systemise your business
Develop robust clear systems so that anyone can step in when required and business will continue. Identify your business workflows and document the steps you take to complete tasks. Add associated templates and processes so that delivery, service and communications remain consistent. If a task needs to be completed more than once, document it. You’ll soon have a comprehensive knowledge bank available for outsourced staff or new employees to access allowing you to scale up your business with the minimum of disruption.
4. Form good habits
- Eat the frog – Mark Twain once said “if the first thing you do in the morning is eat a frog, its probably the worst thing that will happen in your day.” Complete the worst task on your list in the morning. The task you’ve been procrastinating about, the task you’re least comfortable with. Once you’ve crossed it off your list, your day will be smooth sailing.
- Delay opening email & social media – Upon arrival at your desk, delay jumping online for at least 30 minutes. No-one will notice you’re not online, you can use the time to complete a few quick tasks and you will set yourself up for a successful day instead of heading down the rabbit hole of email and social media.
- Use focus blocks – Turn off all online and offline distractions. Set an alarm for 50 minutes and concentrate on just one task for that time. Scheduling just a few focus blocks per day will give a dramatic boost to your work output.
5. Schedule ‘me’ time
If it’s in the calendar – it will happen. Schedule time out when you know your energy levels dip. The beauty of being a business owner is that you run the show. If you find that 3pm is when your energy wanes, make an appointment with yourself. Do something you love. Spend time with friends and family. Schedule it and make it happen.
Do you have any other tips on scheduling guilt free ‘me’ time? I’d love to learn more.
If you’d like to know more about boosting your productivity, book in for a free 20 minute review – there’s no sales pitch, obligation or expectation, just good old fashioned free advice.