The phrase ‘work smarter, not harder’ isn’t new to a lot of people. In all my professional years, it’s something I’ve heard time and again.
And I keep coming back to it whenever I feel I’m spending more time on business than I would like to.
I’m no stranger to long hours.
As a teenager, I juggled a part time job along with full time school. Then when I was in university, I did the same.
When I entered into employment in financial services, it wasn’t uncommon for me to spend 12-14 hours a day at my desk every day! Hours and hours were taken up my meetings, leaving little time to get the actual work done until much later in the day.
Fatigue was normal and sleeping for less than 5-6 hours per night was the norm.
Although I was really great at what I did and advanced quite quickly in my career, I wasn’t genuinely happy.
transitioning from the traditional work structure
One of the first risks I decided on was to set up my own business. It ushered me into a new season of my professional life with more freedom and less bureaucracy, but still no sleep.
I fell into a habit that a lot of business owners face: one where you spend a lot more time than you anticipated on setting up and running your business.
I did this for a long time.
And I had zero boundaries, worked evenings and weekends, and travelled every 3 weeks to meet with clients. But 2020 came and the pandemic literally forced me to do things differently.
It was an uncertain time, I can’t dispute that; but it was also a time to pause and reflect.
I ended up, almost involuntarily, having to re-evaluate how much time I was spending on different aspects of my business. By October that year, I had started using various productivity tools such as Clockify, which helped me track my time as I worked on specific tasks. It also helped me review daily, weekly and monthly reports that showed how much time I was spending on the different things on my to-do list.
I’ve since been using Clockify diligently and this has helped me structure my days and weeks in a more efficient way. With time I got into a pattern and began allocating different days for different business tasks, which I briefly wrote about in my last post.
time management is a core skill of successful businesses owners
Each year of managing and growing my business teaches me something new. And I continue to share my experience and resources with other business owners so that you can skip over some mistakes and find the whole process of running your business somewhat simpler.
The disclaimer is that it’s not always easy, nor is it a clear-cut journey; but it can be manageable. And it begins with how you set up your business in the first place.
Ask yourself how much time you’d ideally want to spend on work on a typical day or in your average week. That’s usually the basis to effective time management.
It also goes hand in hand with knowing yourself and what time works best for you to get certain things done. Are you a morning person who prefers to begin the day by listing out your tasks for the day? Or do you prefer to do that at the end of the week so that when Monday comes around you immediately begin by clearing your inbox?
Next is about setting boundaries, first with yourself, then with your team and/or your clients. If you have specific times that you prefer to set up calls and meetings with this business ecosystem of yours it’s best to communicate this as soon as you can.
And you can do this by setting your availability times on platforms like Calendly.
support for success!
Sometimes to get these things solidified, you need additional support – and that’s where I come in.
I created Simplicity to help early-stage business owners across the globe. I realised that they were all experiencing the same business challenges as they were getting started. These challenges were largely down to a lack of business skills and some key areas that are essential to get business going.
Learning these business skills doesn’t have to be complicated. Simplicity gives you a proven pathway to getting clients and making money, and it helps you get there faster than if you were trying to learn everything on your own and doing it all on your own.
Doors are opening at the end of this month, but you can get on the waitlist today and access exclusive discounts.