Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Time Management Strategies for Small Businesses

I've been asked quiet frequently how I manage a soap business, consult part time for a Bay Area non profit, and manage a household of three kids the ages of 8, 4, and 7 weeks.  My usually response would be... "By screaming, yelling, and pulling my hair out."  Obviously, that hasn't been working. I've turned to time management books, and have implemented their strategies only to feel like crap because I couldn't sustain them for more than a day or two.  I was left feeling anxious and overwhelmed, a feeling that I had that was the motivation for leaving my 9-5 job. And my response to this feeling was, "F%#^ that! I've been down that road of anxiety, and that's why I'm creating my own entrepreneur path!" That's when I realized, it's not about managing time.  It's about managing ourselves with the time we have. How am I doing it? Well, here you go:

Step One: Make a schedule that is realistic!!! Identify when you can work. For example, I'm a morning person, but so are my kids. And though I love my little twerps with all my heart, I can't get anything done. And they deserve my attention. So my work happens during school. On some days, I only get two hours, while other day I get seven. So this brings in step two... My timer is my best friend!

Step Two: Give yourself a time frame to accomplish a task. This idea originated in order to motivate Eric, myself, and the twerps to cleaning up the house. We called it the "Quick Pick Up " time. Our family would pickup the house for 15 minutes as fast as we could. Each of us would have a room (and a super hero name!) and viola, the house appeared clean (good enough for that unexpected guest to stop by!) By focusing for a short amount of time on one task, something that we perceived to take a long time, took us 15 minutes. So I've applied this to Handbrewed Soaps. For example, I give myself 30 minutes to send out wholesale inquiries. 15 minutes to update/ update listings on website, 20 minutes to print packing slips etc.  I may not finish the task, but I can set up another time frame later that day.  Then I reward myself with a break... A walk or a shot of tequila ( I'm sooooo kidding, but what a great idea!) Then I go back to the timer with other tasks. By the way, this is actually a thing. Some guy made a technique called the Pomodoro technique.  I thought I was a genius for coming up with this strategy, but it looks like someone already claimed this geniusness.  There's even apps you can down load... Who knew?

Step Three: Find YOU time. With all the hustle and bustle in life, you have to find a way to wind down.  Whether it's exercising, or drinking a bottle of wine (each) with your friends, it's so important to recharge. And schedule that sh%* in, because it won't happen otherwise. Mine is Thursday nights at 6pm.  I vacate my house to go to yoga, dinner with a friend, or a cafe so that I can blog. Sometimes I lock myself in the bathroom to watch an uninterrupted episode of the Walking Dead on Netflix. Whatever it is, do it because if you don't, your business, family, and your health will suffer.  

So there you have it.. This is what is working for me now... Who knows what will work next week! What works for you?  

10 comments:

  1. I'm a single mom and that means I really have to do it all. My sons dad lives in another state. In January 2015, I started using Passion Planner and its been a game changer for me. I schedule ever-y-thing.

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    1. I have looked into the Passion Planner. It's on my Christmas list!

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  2. I do the same with the timer! I'd never get anything done without it.

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  3. thanks for the great read. I agree with you that your kids deserve your attention. they grow up real fast! mine are grown and both live indifferent time zones. Great article!

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    1. I was once told (regarding kids) "the day as long, but the years are short!" It's very true!

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  4. Excellent tips! I almost used that exact picture in a post I just scheduled!

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  5. I am liking the idea of scheduling. My kids are grown up and gone, so I have a lot of time, but I get stuck down the rabbithole of social media too much!

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  6. Wow! I'll have to try this! The Hand Soap Refill Bags does get used up faster, but it's great with kids. I use some of the expensive soaps and we're trying to cut costs, so this looks like just the ticket to make us all happy...because, really, how can I live without Best Hand Soap Refill Bags.

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