Being a mom and an entrepreneur is a busy life. Either one of these roles would be enough for most people. When you put them together, you have a lot of obligations and a life that seems like a constant struggle against the clock.
With two worlds constantly pulling you in different directions, it might feel like you are never going to get ahead. While it might be some time before you get to a point where your days are not full, there are things you can do to manage your time better.
A good time management strategy will help you run your business more efficiently and it will also free up a little more time for the family or yourself. With the following tips, mom entrepreneurs will be able to manage their time more effectively and relieve some of the stress that comes with being a mother and a business owner.
The first step is to plan how you are going to use your time. Take some time at the beginning of every week to set a schedule. Look at obligations for both your life as a mother and as an entrepreneur and try to work them in together to develop a plan. Fit things like meetings and picking the kids up from school into the schedule first. After that, you can work the items that can be done at any time around the things that have a firm schedule.
Things might not always follow the plan, but it is good to have goals for what you want to get done and to set priorities. This will make it easier for you to manage your time and it will ensure that the most important things get taken care of.
Have a Backup Plan
If you were just an entrepreneur, you could probably make do with just keeping a schedule. When something new or unexpected comes up, you could make adjustments on the fly. As a mother and an entrepreneur, you should consider having a backup plan in case your original schedule goes off the rails.
This isn’t anything you need to sit down and plan each week. Instead, develop a strategy for what you can do to manage your commitments when things really go off schedule. In these situations, you might have to take only the most important tasks or those that can only be done by you, and remove everything else from the schedule.
Take the Time You can Get
Having a schedule will help you manage your time, but there is a good chance that you won’t be able to set much of your schedule down to the hour. The needs of both your family and your business can change unexpectedly. If you are going to get through your to-do list, you are going to have to use the time that is available. As an example, if you just put the kids down for a nap, you have the perfect opportunity to get some work done.
When you do have time that is just for work, you need to eliminate distractions and focus on the work. Resist the temptation to check your phone and look at social media. If you have people calling or messaging too much, consider turning your phone off – you can get back to people later.
Along with eliminating distractions, you should try to identify ways you waste time. Maybe you spend a little bit too much time on the phone when you talk to people or maybe you let meetings run a little too long. If you track your time for a few weeks, you should be able to identify a few areas where you could do better.
Multitasking probably seems like a good answer to getting more done with your time. However, doing more than one thing at a time can actually be a drag on your schedule. Research has shown that multitasking is less efficient and that it can have a negative impact on the quality of your work.
Instead of multitasking, take tasks one at a time and focus on the task at hand. You will be more productive and you will be able to do your best work for your clients or customers.
Try Time Blocking
Time blocking is a time management strategy that can help you get away from multitasking. With time blocking, you set designated times for your most important tasks. You take that block and you work on just that task during the time block. With no distractions and time that is just for the specific task, you should get your work done faster.
You could also try the Pomodoro Technique. This is a time management strategy that involves setting a timer to work in short blocks that have small breaks in between. Most people who follow the Pomodoro Technique would say that you have 25 minutes of work with 5-minute breaks in between, but you can adjust the time blocks to meet your needs as an individual.
Your phone has the potential to be one of the best time management tools you own. With the right apps, you can save time and make your operation more efficient. You can use apps to make your schedule, manage projects, track your time and more. And apps aren’t just for making your business more efficient; they can also make your life easier as a mom. As an example, there are apps that can help you organize and pay your bills.
Don’t insist on handling everything on your own. If there are tasks that can be handed off to another person, it might be worth hiring someone. This is where small business loans for women could help, too, by providing you with additional capital for hiring new staff.
Even if you don’t want to hire full-time staff to come work with you in person, you could save a lot of time and make your operation more efficient by hiring a virtual assistant. You could hire a virtual assistant to do data entry, manage your social media accounts, do online marketing work or answer your emails. A part-time virtual assistant won’t cost much, and it can be a great way to free up time to focus on things that are more important.
Get Your Family Involved
Whether you have employees or not, you might want to look for ways to get your family involved with the business. You could get your significant other to take on tasks like going to the post office or picking up supplies. Depending on your business, there may even be tasks for your children.
When you get your family working to help your business, it can be an easy way to reduce some of your workload. Along with that, it can also be a way to get some of your work time to double as family time.
You probably don’t feel like you have time for breaks. You are already busy, so you want to dedicate every minute you can to your business. This makes sense on the surface, but breaks are an important part of time management.
You might not realize it, but breaks are good for your mind and your health. Beyond that, research has shown that people who take breaks are more productive. It can also be good for your creativity and your motivation to allow yourself a few moments away from your work.
Balance Work and Life
Finally, you need to have a healthy balance between work and life. With so much focus on managing your schedule at work, it can be easy to forget that you need a personal life as well. Make sure to schedule time for your family and set time to do things on your own. It won’t always be easy to balance the life of an entrepreneur with your obligations as a mother, but you need to make an effort to have some time that is for the things you want to get out of life.