Small business tip – managing your time

TimeMany people think that being a small business owner is an easy endeavor. You can be your own boss, write your own pay checks, set your own hours; but what they don’t understand is these all come at a cost—your time.

When you work for someone else, you are able to let go all of the stress and worry from the day as soon as you clock out. You do not have any real investment into the job, after all, especially if it’s the type that someone else can do. Once you leave the office itself, you can put your mind on other things, like enjoying time with family or on your hobbies.

Running a small business is different. You are always on the clock. Whether it’s evenings, weekends, and sitting on a beach with your feet in the sand, you are technically always working. Something could go wrong in the office or an employee might have a question at any time.

So how do you manage your time wisely and ensure that everything gets done, while still being able to enjoy some time to yourself?

The important thing is to actually book time for yourself. If you run a business with employees, and have a shared calendar, ensure that each day you book yourself a lunch break, if not at least one 15-minute coffee break as well. That way your secretary, or whoever is in charge of your schedule, knows not to book anything during this time. Yes, there will be times – and many of them – that you will end up working through your lunch break or through a coffee break, but it will happen less if you actually schedule them.

No Stress Try not to stress when you’re home or not in the office. Stress is a large part of owning your own business, but it doesn’t have to own you. If you have a problem, you must realize that you cannot do anything about it during non-business hours. If it is a problem that needs more thinking than actual doing, write down the problem – and then write down the steps that need to be done to solve it. Normally anything that needs to be done has to be taken care of in the office or during the day, so there is no point in worrying about something you cannot do anything about. It’s an easy thing to say but a hard thing to do, but it helps.

Your time is your time. If a client needs something done during off-business hours or calls you when you’re at home, graciously let them know that you are not at the office right now and you’ll get back to them as soon as you can in the morning. If at all possible, try not to check your e-mails or your voice mails during this time either; your family, your sanity and definitely your sleep habits will thank you.

Running a successful small business is a hefty challenge, but if met with smarts and dedication, it can be an enjoyable one as well.

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