February 13, 2011

JUGGLING BUSINESS AND YOUR PERSONAL LIFE

It is so difficult to squeeze everything that you need to do all in 1 day. After all there are only 24 hours a day and about 8 of it is already accounted for when you sleep. So how do you finish all of the chores on your list? This is a question that many of us (women entreprenuers) face each day. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your day and squeeze every productive minutes out of it. Here we go!

Make a daily schedule: Divide up your day by the hour. Write out your daily schedule, including the chores that you must do everyday or every week. For example, My day starts at 8am. I would get a cup of coffee and browse my emails, facebook, blog, and check out my etsy shop for about 1 hour. Then I would check to see if I have any orders from the night before, and package those. At noon, I have to go to the post office. And my day job takes over from noon to about 8pm at night. So I have to make sure to write down my routine and cross off the hours that are taken out for me to do my routines every day.

Now the little extra minutes or hours that I have free in between my schedule, I would fill it up with things that I could be doing/should be doing for my business. Example, pick up postage supplies on my way to work or on my lunch break. Answer emails and blog while I wait at the doctor's office (and usually you sit in the lobby for a really long time, so make use of your time).
Organize your list of things to do according to priority. So Chores and tasks that are the most important and have the earliest deadline, you would make those at the top of your list. Chores that could wait a while, will be towards the bottom of your list.

And of course to cut distractions while you get your business done, do not have the TV on. Studies show that people who have the T.V. turn on while they work or while they are at home, on average ended up wasting at least 3 hours of their day watching whatever was on the TV. So you could use an extra 3 hours to finish up a lot of very important things that you should be doing for your business...like Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Etsy forums, ect....

Make sure no matter how busy you are, that you schedule at least 1 day out of your schedule for you! On your Off Day, you can use it to do the things that have put aside for too long, spend time with your kids (family). If you put 100% of your time into your business and nothing else...you will end up very drained. And at the end of the day, you will have nothing left to give to yourself. Before you can take care of your business or other people, you must take the time first to take care of yourself. If you are not well, then you cannot be the most efficient as you can be. And if you cannot be there for you, then you will not be able to be there for your business, friends, and family.

One of the most important thing that I have to stress is that you MUST take time to tend to your health. My mother works a 14+ hours work day for the last 21 years as a chef. And she feels that she cannot take time away from her business because she thinks that it will fall apart without her being there all of the time. And she failed to make time to see a doctor for her annual checkup and mamograms...and sadly to say, that one day, when she was doing a self examination (in the shower), she felt something abnormal in one of her breast. Went to get it checked out and to make a long story short, she had to have surgery. Lucky for her it was not malignant, it was benign. So ladies, please please please no matter how busy you are, you must make time for yourself and put yourself first.

Women are giving naturally and we are selfless by nature. We give so much of ourselves to our business, our customers, our family, our friends, but not to ourselves. And I know that it is very difficult to juggle being a mom, running a business, being a wife, and having a day job. But if we have an organized schedule, organized list of things to do, and cross it off as you finish each tasks, prioritize your list, allot a specific amount of time and deadline to finish each task, then you will get it done in a timely manner. Now don't stress out...take a deep breathe...and take one thing at a time.

The most important thing is to be organized. I don't know how you are, but for me (and most other women that I know and have talked to) if my workspace is disorganized, I cannot function until it is somewhat under control. Organize your inventory, work area, desk, and schedule. Have a set place for everything, especially your everyday tools that you use the most. I label everything. And I also put everything back in the same place each and every time that I use something. I have trained my brain to get used to where everything is. That way I can save time when I am not spending my valuable time searching for things. I also hate loosing things because it frustrates me when I can't find something that I need, and it is usually when I have a very close deadline when I can't find what I need to finish my project...sounds like you? Then you need to get organized.

Organizing your workspace: start in one corner and work your way to the other side of the room. I always start with the small chores first before I attack the big stuff. If you attack the small stuff first, you will finish off things rather quickly. This will get you motivated to finish organizing the rest of the area. Some people make the mistake of attacking the bigger task first (thinking that it will make them more efficient), and after many hours of spending their time on it, they will get discourage, because they see very little results or no difference at all. This is why I like to start with the smaller things first. Get it out of the way, and you will feel good when you are able to cross things off your "to do" list.

If you are so busy with your business that you cannot keep up with the orders...that is telling you that you need to bump up your prices. And don't worry if you notice the number of sales decreasing; you will make up for it because you will make more money per sale, so you will end up making the same amount of money but doing less work.

Procrastination: many of us, fall into this category. Don't feel bad, you are NOT the only one. I have struggle with procrastination for years. It is so hard not to procrastinate when you feel overwhelmed and out of control. We procrastinate because when we feel a lot of anxiety and pressure to do something, our fears start to take over. When you fear or dislike to do something, you either don't do it, or you procrastinate. Most of the time we choose to procrastinate because we can't just escape the task at hand completely...so we let it linger on and on...But there is really no escape from the task, so why don't we just finish the task first and get it over with? Don't you agree with me that most of the time when you procrastinate on something, when you are done with the task, feel that it wasn't as bad as you thought it would be. Sounds familiar? The fears that we create for ourselves is the worst, it is not the task.

Work Smarter, not Harder. Remember that. Just do it! Nike got this one right! The longer you wait to get something done, chances are it will not get done. So just get the things that you can get done out of the way first and then you move on to the next task. Making a list of things in the order of priority, will help you tremendously. These are tools and tips that most people already know and it is mostly common sense. But how many of us know something and don't do it? Yes, you see my point. I know that there are a lot more tips and tricks out there to help you stay organized, more efficient, and not to procrastinate. And if you want to share any of your tips and tricks with me so that I can add to this blog, please feel free to email me or send me a comment. Thank you!

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