Time management is one of the top secrets to success in owning a business. But, who doesn’t know (or admit to being…) a work-a-holic in this business? If you work for yourself, it can be challenging to shut off work mode, particularly if you work from home. Throw in a significant other and/or kids, and other major responsibilities, and it can be a hot mess. It’s kind of like your life GPA…if you can keep your time management grades up, life is good. When you flunk just one area, your GPA (daily life) totally bombs.
In my last POST, I shared my intention to take back my life from my business. I promised to share my journey. As I stared at my three vast areas to improve upon, I realized that before I can organize my heart out (Oh, the pretty notebooks, baskets, and binders!!) or bust up some stress (Aaah, massage!), I needed to get a handle on my time. At present, I seem to have no extra time to tackle organizational projects or do any stress busting! Where was my time going? How could I improve it? I get the same 24 hours as everyone else but still seem to burn the midnight oil to accomplish even the smallest tasks.
I looked at a typical day for us. I know I should have written everything down, hour by hour, but I didn’t. Truly, my days are NEVER the same between homeschooling and young kids. But, this I do know…I hate schedules. I “cannot” follow them. Call it A.D.D., call me spontaneous, call me free-spirited or call it denial but schedules are not my area of expertise. Basically, folks, that’s a cop out. It’s a good excuse for me to keep living chaotically without making any changes. What’s the definition of insanity again? 😉
Alas, everyone thrives on a schedule, right? My kids and I enjoy school more, my husband enjoys a home-cooked meal more often, my home gets more attention and life just seems to fall into a pleasant groove. Here are a few habits that help me tap into that groove. See if they sound anything like YOU!
- I work best on business tasks in the mid-afternoon (after 2-4pm) and late evenings (after 7pm).
- If I complete the tasks I don’t like to do FIRST, my motivation to get everything else accomplished on my list is super high.
- I am a beast if I set time limits for all tasks. The timer doesn’t always work for me but when I commit to it, I race to beat it.
- When I edit images the same day as a session, I edit faster.
- Send client order within 24 hours after being placed so it doesn’t stay on my to-do list.
- No social media until accomplishing my “UGH” tasks (see above). Hit FACEBOOK during nap time. Maybe?
If I am being completely honest, there are a few barriers to my success that need to be aired:
- Social media is my drug. If I sit down in the morning to just check in, it can be hours before I’m finished chatting, messaging, reading blogs…
- My family always needs me for something. Such is my wonderful life! Address the needs of FAMILY first. Clients can, should and will wait 🙂 They really do understand.
- I stink. Take a shower and pretty myself up in the morning. You are laughing! I cannot be the only one who doesn’t get a shower until dinner time?! Full disclosure (…blushing…)
- We homeschool and I have a young little man who doesn’t think Mommy needs to have quiet time, so phone calls are put at the bottom of my list. By emailing, sending a message on Facebook, or texting, I can be more efficient in communicating with my clients. This also allows for a communication “trail” so that everyone can refer back to what has been written instead of what we “remember.” This only works for me because I schedule in-person consultations with EVERY client before a session. So, I’m ok with communicating scheduling and basic questions over the computer.
Realize that life will not be perfect. But we all choose how we live our lives and if you want something badly enough, you will make it work. If this love you call “Photography” is really worth it, then you’ll find a way. I will find a way, but not at the expense of my family and my health. Hope you’ll stay with me along this path and maybe you’ll pick up a few useful tips to help you take control!