By Lara Galloway, author Moms Mean Business: A Guide for Creating a Successful Business and a Happy Life as a Mom Entrepreneur
If you—like I do—sometimes feel that you’re only barely managing to juggle motherhood and all the ins and outs of running a business, then it’s time to take a good, hard look at how you spend your time. No matter how much I plan for it and expect it, getting back to school in the Fall always leaves me exhausted and flustered. I’m stressed out with all the deadlines that come with school programs and field trips and with the logistical nightmare of carpooling three kids to all their after school events. Add to that the renewed energy and ambition for my business that shows up for me at the end of summer, and I struggle to figure out how to get it all done. I give myself a week or two to figure out our new schedules, and then I get down to business and back to owning my time. Here are a few of my favorite tips for getting things done.
1. Get a routine. Now I understand that there are those of you who will balk at the idea of a formalized routine. But hear me out. While it’s totally not necessary to plan your day in strict, 15-minute increments, a regular schedule of sorts will support the flexibility you value in your life, allowing you time to work on and in your business, as well as time for household chores and family events. Start by creating a loose schedule—morning, lunchtime, afternoon, dinnertime, evening—for Monday through Friday, blocking off office hours and your regularly scheduled daily activities, like packing lunches, getting kids off to school, and so on. Knowing when you have time set aside to do certain tasks will help you get them done without stressing out all the time.
2. Break down your office hours into manageable chunks. This one is simple, and you can block off time by just observing your habits. Is there a particular time you tend to work on the computer? How about returning emails or phone calls? Schedule time to work on your business—marketing and the things that cause your business to grow—and in your business—actual, billable hours of production or face-to-face client time.
3. Make appointments for yourself. You would never stand up a client with an appointment. Why not show yourself that same respect? Need to work on your website redesign? Make an appointment! How about Tuesday from 9-11am? Have a business proposal due? Set a time for yourself to work on it. Give importance to the things you want to accomplish by putting that time and date on the calendar, and then showing up for that appointment.
4. Schedule downtime. Yes, productivity is important. Yes, as mom entrepreneurs, it seems that 24 hours is never enough. But taking care of yourself is a priority, and it needs to be planned for! Try alternating tasks that require mental focus with good-for-you breaks—a walk around the block, a healthy snack, a phone conversation with a friend—whatever relaxes and recharges you. You may be surprised at how productivity soars when you’re fresh and energized.
These are a few tips that I use to manage my time as a busy mompreneur. All of this will help you round out a really ideal schedule for you, adding up to more time to get things done in a way that makes you feel productive and purposeful—not overwhelmed.
Which of these tips can you implement today to help you get control of your time?
What other tips would you include that keep you focused and productive?
Lara Galloway is an author, speaker, business coach and host of the Mom Biz Solutions Show podcast. Her passion is helping entrepreneurs create and run businesses that honor their priorities and make them successful and happy. Her book, Moms Mean Business: A Guide to Creating a Successful Company and a Happy Life as a Mom Entrepreneur, published by Career Press, offers inspiration, advice, and a healthy dose of how-to. She is frequently interviewed for her expertise on work/life balance, starting and running a successful small business, marketing your business on Social Media, and creatively managing your time by Inc., Fast Company, Forbes, Crain’s, The Chicago Tribune, and More Magazine. Her extensive online influence and unique approach to coaching mompreneurs to success have led to her being named one of “30 Women Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter” and one of the “100 Most Powerful Women on Twitter.” When she’s not working, she’s wrangling her three kids with her husband, drinking good wine or micro-brewed beer, and baking something with lots of calories since food is her love language. She loves living in Michigan, especially when it's 80 degrees and sunny. Learn more and connect with her at LaraGalloway.com.