One of the biggest struggle we all face is time. No surprises there!
And as a busy mum & business owner, time management is critical to me.
I spend just 2.5 days per week at the moment on running my business.
But actually - I quite like it that way!
My ideal picture is probably 3 days per week on (and in) the business, 3 days a week for family and a day a week all to myself. Ahh, that's the dream...
At the moment life doesn't quite look like that. But as my little ones get bigger and go off to school, I'm determined not to let that slide.
After all, the whole point of being self-employed is to enjoy freedom, flexibility & live a little, isn't it?
So - how do you run a successful business without it seeping into every spare second of the day? I'm not going to lie - I haven't always got this right and I've found myself glued to the phone more than I'd like at times. But for the most part, I like to think I've got the balance working well now.
And for me, that means not feeling pressured to do work outside of my normal hours if I don't want to. If I do really want to - well that's a different story!
So here are my top tips for time management. Be ruthless with your boundaries
It's easy to get sucked into saying yes to every well-meaning request - and to think you're really putting everyone first if you squeeze in that extra client or do that free talk (which ends up costing you hours of prep as well as just a few minutes sharing your thoughts).
I know, it's also really tempting to shuffle YOUR life and your business around to fit everyone else in.
"If I don't offer evening appointments, maybe I'll lose all my clients" - does that sound like a familiar worry?"
The thing is - this is your business. If you let everyone else dictate the agenda you:
Cost yourself potential income
Start to feel resentful and out of control
Have a head full of stuff that doesn't really matter but you feel obliged to do
In short, your business is running you.
So why is it so hard to say no? Don't worry, you're not alone. This is how it usually goes:
You feel you have to be nice to everyone and put them first
You worry you'll lose business if you say no
You don't want people to think you're a bitch for being assertive
You genuinely do want to help the world and his wife
The thing is - being clear about your boundaries and what you can realistically manage doesn't make you a bad person. And the great clients you really want - they'll stick around and make it work.
I've been very clear about my hours from day 1 - and I can tell you, I've never had to turn away an ideal client because we couldn't make our schedules work.
Set the rules politely, firmly, and trust that it's safe to gently say no or redirect work that doesn't quite align. When you do that, it's incredible just how much easier it all becomes - not to mention making space for the type of work you really want, too.
You don't have to be everywhere
Ok, hands up who's jumped on the Clubhouse bandwagon. Another social channel to manage... sheesh!
I did set up an account - but honestly, I haven't touched it since (still have 2 invitations if anyone wants them!). Why?
Because I asked myself - is this really the best focus for my time and energy right now? And the answer - a resounding NO.
Yes it sounds fun. I'm sure it's great hanging out with celebs, and potentially a great marketing tool as well. But there's only one of me and 7 of them - Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Clubhouse, TikTok... more I've missed, I'm sure!
I don't have to tell you, generating content for even one platform plus an email list can be an almost full-time job in itself. And you just don't need to be everywhere! Far better to be consistent & engaged on one or two platforms than popping up like a manic meerkat at every party going.
What really helped my business take off initially? Narrowing down, getting focused on growing my audience ONE platform - and serving them with my heart and soul.
And the best side-effect? I've gone from hating social media to loving my Facebook group and have wonderful connections with the people I'm helping there. Social media has become a manageable, fun part of my day rather than an absolute ball-ache. And my business has benefited too!
Challenge... not accepted!
The third game-changer for me has been getting really intentional about the content I'm consuming. In the earlier days of my business I would sign up to every challenge & freebie going. And not being a quitter, I would put myself under immense pressure to complete them all.
I learned a lot! But I also learned that a lot of the info out there is just same old, same old, over and over again.
What keeps us going back? It's that fear, isn't it, that we'll miss out on that one golden piece of information that's going to skyrocket our business.
Want to know what's really going to skyrocket your business?
Taking that stress and wasted time out of the equation and using it to be laser-focused on taking action.
Now - being in the business of understanding how we subconsciously get waylaid, sabotage ourselves and stop our businesses from succeeding - I know how this goes, too.
A new shiny object comes along, looking like the answer. And it feels SO much easier to do that than to start writing that book - or putting together that course - or (gulp) booking sales calls and getting your offers out there.
Sometimes that's out of fear. Sometimes it's out of familiarity and - well, human nature.
But it's totally preventable if you just ask yourself whether it's really the right thing, right now.
If you would:
Block out time
Spend money on it
Not have the knowledge otherwise
Then go for it - and plan to give it your full time and attention. Otherwise... hmm, it might just be worth giving this one a miss.
So those are 3 little things that will instantly make a BIG difference to your available time and headspace.
And there are so many more little things that have a made a difference for me.
Planning. Checking in with my goals. Hiring a VA and outsourcing some of the overwhelm.
But sometimes - much as we know these things - it's still hard to find the confidence or focus to just put our foot down, prioritise and get to work on those things we really know, deep down, will bring in the clients and income to make our lives easier. It's scary.
If getting those offers out there feels like feeding yourself to the lions, or if your head is just so full you can't think straight let alone contemplate dropping any of those plates - well, you wouldn't be the first.
So if that sounds like you, please feel free to give me a shout and book a free strategy call
Maybe it's time to dig a little deeper, see what's really holding you back and get some personalised ideas to help you move forward and get your life back.