Whether you're a stay at home parent, working for someone else, a self employed entrepreneur or managing someone else's business or you are someone looking to start a business, one this is inevitable, there will always be things we have to do outside of making a living. It's something we can all relate to... As a mum of one and owner/operator of 3 varying businesses, making the most out of my time is and has been a big focus point for me too… So much so, I wanted to do a little more research on the topic and try and implement something practical into my own life and into the life of my businesses. Our focus today is on “How do you fit everything into a busy lifestyle?”,I've been in business since 2008. It's been an experience, through growth of the business means the need to grow and evolve the way I manage my businesses and whilst this process has changed based on my needs, my recent discoveries have been working a treat for my productivity and I am really excited to see the results of my new process.
Best of all, all of this becomes the benchmark for me to start reviewing and improving myself, my life and my business in the process.
As with any project you do your groundwork and research your topics…
Originally I had started reading through a heap of different resources, things on time management and project management resources.
I also had been working my way through The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber. Prior to this desire to really get myself sorted out in terms of productivity.
Whilst the E-Myth Revisited wasn’t solely “sorting out your busy life” it did have some really valuable points of wisdom.
Points of wisdom that will require me to be organised enough to establish them and implement them, as well as keep on top of them in order to ensure those processes are working effectively…
Next came a live session with the glorious Leonie Dawson.
Leonie Dawson is such a hoot! She is a fun loving, bubbly little burst of life, she is one of the most out there individuals I know, but in the same sense she resonates with me so much.
She is a self made millionaire, has two small children and is such a great contributor to women all over, not only that but she is a creator of the shining academy that I am a member of, along with the founder of the Shining Biz and Life workbooks that I am such a big fan of.
Anyway, fast track through this live stream Leonie was doing and she talks about how to blocks out her time, and allocates set time to different groups of activities…
Whilst this might seem commonsense, when you’re solely focused on “making money” and “getting your technical work done” you seemingly have little to no time to do anything else.
You often feel like you just can’t see where or how you’re supposed to fit in anything more than just doing the things that your business is employed to do...
How on earth do you fit in marketing, accounting, networking, and in general growing your business whilst you’re not slaving away trying to just do what it is your business does? Right?
How on earth could this process work?
Well this concept of blocking out time to do sets of task really made sense for me.
The idea that if I could group the things I need to do into a bold group of tasks, then each week I’d be able to schedule relevant tasks to be completed in that allocated time-frame.
Let me give you an example.
My primary groupings at the moment are:
- Client Work (core of my business)
- Content Creation
- My management tasks may include invoicing, writing quotes, following up clients or scheduling time during my week.
- Client Work – including any task related to doing what my business has been employed to do. This usually focuses on individual clients and their requirements.
- Content Creation – may include blog writing, marketing and other elements of creation in my business – creation of connections with the outside world and my business.
- Education – and this was a big one for me- I never felt I had time or enough time to educate myself of new things or bring in new pieces of knowledge - This is when I learn and implement new theories, new tools and new resources.
ACTION: Make a list of the areas you need or want time to develop.-------------------
Moving forward, it was time to work out how I could possibly fit all of those areas into a weekly schedule.
I worked out the 5 days a week I currently allocate to work, my start time and finish times; dependent on my daughter’s schooling hours, and then what I was willing to contribute of my evenings to my business.
I worked out a rough time of around 30 hours a week I would allocated in a roster.
I then began planning out my time and working out what this would look like if I blocked my time in 30 minute intervals.
This was my first attempt:
This meant I had a large quantity of Client Work hours, as well as equal allocation for Management, Content Creation and Education.Obviously where needed I could minimize the time allocated for Management, Content Creation and/or Education dependent on my demand, however the FOUNDATIONS of organization were there!
Hooray!!! We have a schedule outline!!
At the beginning of every week, (I start on a Sunday evening) I keep a running list during the week of everything I need to get done, I review the list of tasks I have to complete.I check my emails & my Microsoft Outlook email to-do list, my job bookings sheet and interactions with clients, reviewing each of the 4 categories, and then add the tasks to my weekly planning.
I put together a daily worksheet with the allocation of the blocks of time to suit the task they are allocated for.
I have my schedule on the wall in front of me so I know exactly what I should be doing and when, and I know I’ve allocated at minimum 30 hours a week to work both on and in my business.
I complete my worksheets at the start of each week, or sometimes a few weeks in advance depending on the events of the week. But the big thing for me out of all of this has been such liberation – and the process has been amazing in terms of recognising new opportunities to work ON my business not just in it.
Now that I have this basic structure in place I can begin to fit more of the things I want and need into my schedule. If I were to apply this to my personal life as well, I imagine there would be a profound awareness of exactly how much time we do have as individuals.
It’s going to be impossible to do EVERYTHING that we want to do every day of every year... it's just not realistic - particularly with the lack of work/life balance many of us have – life doesn’t always run as clockwork, not to mention running your own business and raising a family or simply supporting yourself.
I had to really decide what was important to me and what started as reading a business book, listening to one of my favourite business icons and applying what I’ve learnt, has turned out to be an amazing thing.
Since applying this process, and having set time to write content, educate myself and manage my business, along with do the core work my business does, I have seen an increase in productivity and also manageability of my business.
I am less stressed as I know there is sufficient time to do the things I think are necessary, but it’s also made my life so much easier when it came down to the crunch to fit everything into a busy lifestyle.
Blocking my time has had such an impact on me, and I’d love to hear what you think about all of this, have you tried blocking your time? Do you have any tips or questions? Visit our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/nataliecrowedesigns and let us know your thoughts! We’d love to hear from you!