When you start your own business or stop being an employee to pursue life as a freelancer, there’s a steep learning curve. You’ve got this wonderful chance to work flexibly, to make money doing something that you love, and to grow something of your own. But, you also have a lot to learn. There’s marketing, finance, building a website and developing a social media presence, managing staff, GP, profit and loss, scheduling, business planning and much, much more. You can spend weeks studying each element and increasing your knowledge. But, there are some things that you simply can’t learn from a book. Things like time management.
If you’ve always been an employee or worked as part of a company, it can be incredibly tough suddenly having to manage your own time. Especially if you run a business and also have to manage other staff. Many new business owners and freelancers find that they struggle to keep track of time. They often find that there isn’t enough time in the day and that they are working well into the night to get things done. While working extra is only to be expected in the first week and months of a business, it shouldn’t last. Part of the reason people go out on their own is to get more time back and to have a better work-life balance, yet they find that due to a lack of organization and time management, they are spending more time working than ever before. Here is a look at some easy ways to start effectively managing your time.
One massive mistake that many small business owners make is trying to do everything themselves. This can be to save money on staff, but also because their business is their baby and they don’t trust anyone else with it. You’ll end up worn out. You won’t be able to give anything your full focus or attention because you are spread too thin, and your staff won’t respect you, because you don’t trust them.
If you’ve got the staff to help, learn how to delegate. If not, start outsourcing. Use an answering service to help with all the phone calls you get, hire freelancers to help with marketing and social media management. Free your own time up to focus on the important things that only you can do.
Writing lists is the easiest and most effective way to manage your time. It gives you focus and helps you to see what you need to do. Put these lists in order of priority, and try to give each task a time limit, even if it’s just splitting your day into “to do before lunch” and “to do after lunch”. When things come up during your day, fit them into your list if you need to, put them on tomorrows if you don’t.
Try to write your days to do list either first thing in the morning or at the end on the day before so that you go into each day with focus.
Don’t take too much on. Sometimes, it’s ok to say no to tasks or jobs. Concentrate on what you need to do, and give it your full focus without getting distracted by other things.