It’s perfectly possible to earn passive income and reduce the amount of time that you work in your business. When you're first starting out or in the process of expansion, though, this is definitely not the case, though. If you’re still working a day job, then it’s even more difficult to find the time need. Include family commitments and some leisure time and life gets pretty busy!
So how do you manage when you can hardly think because of all the demands on your time? Efficient use of resources is definitely the answer and those resources include your precious energy as well! Time management is probably THE most important skill you can learn to make your business a success. This is my personal approach and I hope something in it can help enhance your approach, too.
Sit down and make a list of all of the commitments you have. For me, these include the following:
- liaising and working with multiple clients with multiple deadlines in multiple time zones
- ensuring my VA has enough work to keep her going
- working ON my business instead of in it
- exercising and eating healthily every day to ensure I have enough energy to keep going and feel good about myself
- ensuring I give as much love, attention and time to my family and friends as I can
- reading, knitting, making art and attending Taiko drumming classes
- walking through my favourite national parks on weekends
- contemplating and planning for life adventures
You may need to add in things like Jimmy’s soccer training, Grace’s music lessons and helping out in your kids’ classrooms. Ask yourself:
- Are there any tasks that you can delegate?
- Are there any you can give up completely?
- Is there a more efficient way of doing any of the things on your list?
- How realistic are you about how much you can do in a week?
I reclaim my time by scheduling EVERYTHING! This includes the time I spend with family and friends. Now that my daughter is living on campus at University, I live on my own but I find my business commitments take up the majority of my day. I also work from Tuesday to Saturday because my major client is in the USA, and while this makes it easier for me, my schedule can be a bit topsy turvy in terms of my social life a a result.
I use a number of apps to help me organise and reclaim my time. These include:
- Asana and Google Apps for scheduling and managing workflows and tasks
- Simpleology to record and prioritise everything I have to do for my business, my clients and personally
- My mobile phone to set alarms and reminders about what needs to be done when
- A good old fashioned day-to-a-page paper diary that I carry with me everywhere I go
- An A4 sized business planner to help plan my business activity for the year
- My website has an automated appointment scheduling app. Clients can schedule chats with me and it keeps track of my calendar to ensure there are no conflicting appointments.
Please note that I’m not affiliated with any of the apps mentioned above, I just find that they work for me and I’m happy to mention them to others as a result.
Make the most of your leisure time
I have a set start and finish time and only make exceptions to this if I’m incredibly busy with one-off type jobs for clients, so that I can fit in the things that keep me interested in life and very happy such as Taiko and making art. I ensure that the days I have off are the days where I clean house first thing and then the rest of the day is mine to do with as I please. The thing is, my health and happiness are equally as important as any other task I undertake during my week and that’s as it should be. It helps me keep a work/life balance that’s satisfying and keeps me from feeling as though I’m drowning in work.
It’s your Business – don’t be pressured by the way others run theirs
I could be working a hell of a lot more my current 30-40, however I realised a long time ago that giving in to the urge to work 60-80+ hours a week wasn’t giving me any happiness. As soon as I wiped a few things off my plate, a few things more would come along to replace them. Such is the way of work. I think what I was missing in my life at that stage was perspective.
This is my business and I run it for my benefit.
I get great joy and satisfaction out of providing support so that others are successful, but if I don’t make myself a priority in my own life, then no one is going to do it for me. For that reason, my personal business deadlines are flexible. If I don’t get a blog post written this week, it’ll definitely be done next week – who is it going to hurt if it’s a couple of days late getting published?
Draw lines in the sand, not in concrete
If I delay the launch of a new product or service because I’m so busy attending to my current clients’ needs, does it really matter? The work that brings in my money is far more important than the work that might do so in the future. It doesn’t mean it won’t get done. It just means that my deadlines are drawn in sand, rather than concrete. If you give yourself permission to be extremely flexible with the things you can, then life becomes a whole heap easier.
My challenge to you is to spend just 10 minutes thinking about the ways in which you could work in a more flexible manner. That could mean more flexible deadlines, delegating or getting rid of tasks you feel compelled to do just because they’re there. Set a timer if you need to and once you’ve identified ways to make your life easier, go do it! You’ll be glad you did.
If I or my team can make your working life easier in any way, then please feel welcome to schedule a free 30 minute chat about the stuff you'd love help you with, or send me an email with your query. We specialise in making your pace of life a little less frenetic!