Time management is one of the biggest bugbears of small business owners, along with marketing and cash flow.
We feel we are always running, never quite done and short of time to do the things we love and that give us energy back. If you are often told by others that you are a really ‘nice person’ I’m guessing that your time is sometimes taken up by things you would rather not be doing.
The reason I know this is because I am one of these people often saying ‘Yes’ because I love to help others. However, I sometimes find myself feeling resentful because I have said yes when I should have said no, and my day is taken up by activities that not only fill my schedule but actually drain my energy.
Time management 101:
I am learning that I need to set strict boundaries and accept there are tradeoffs. If I take on a task unrelated to my goals, it means I will have less time to do something that is close to my heart, or something which is good for my body and my soul. So, with limited time, I do need to choose carefully.
What I find difficult sometimes is identifying which boundaries I need to set to stay true my real priorities. Modern technology also poses quite a challenge to boundaries as we are often expected to be available to clients 24/7. So I now have a written list of my dealbreakers, a list of the things I will not do, and the things I will always prioritise, no matter what!
Being very clear on my goals and on what I want to achieve both in my personal life and in my business life really helps me to set sensible boundaries. I know where my strengths are and I also know what I am better off outsourcing.
Being successful in a small business is not just about skills or effort, it is very much about clever time management, being clear on the bigger picture so you keep your priorities in order. The longer I work with small business owners, the more I know that working on your business is really essential for survival and success, at least as important as working in your business.
I’m not saying you should not expect to work hard to be successful, or spend time on improving your business marketing or management skills, but setting boundaries will help remind you where you are headed and what you stand for when you are tempted to take on something new.
Are you clear on where your boundaries stand?