(This is an updated entry, first published in June 2009)
I always feel really inspired when meeting high profile business mums, whether it’s the lovely Penny Power from Ecademy, the inspirational blind entrepreneur Liz Jackson of Great Guns Marketing, or Ex-Dragon Rachel Elnaugh who lost her company Red Letter Days a few years ago. Rachel, for example, is not only an inspirational entrepreneur, but a successful mum of 5 (!) children. I am full of admiration as having raised three children whilst running a business, I do know of all the challenges!
One of them of course is finding the time to do everything we need to do, especially when the office is at home. Very few women I know adjust to working at home seamlessly, and are able to maintain the boundaries between work, family and play (is there is any play I hear you ask?)
Working from home may be a desirable option for many reasons, but in practice women often find their workload increasing by the day. It’s never been truer that there’s so much to do yet so little time to do it. I recall Rachel telling an audience once, that when her business took off almost unexpectedly, she found herself working very hands on, answering two phones for days on end.
Not everyone is good at both the entrepreneurial part of business, AND the ‘doing’ part, ie dealing with the boring day to day stuff. Women often rush from the school run to meetings and from one networking lunch to another whilst fire fighting in between. This usually results in not having the time to check the bigger picture.
Even when just leading a small one woman band, it is important to allow yourself some time to think. So why not block a little time in your diary right now? Stepping back will help you to see whether you need to….
- invest more time into personal and professional development so you are always ‘on the ball’
- spend more time working ‘on’ the business, to ensure your business ‘map’ is the right one
- learn to become more effective at ‘doing’ the right stuff, the right way
- consider outsourcing, or delegating more
What helps me make the most of my own ‘Big Picture’ time, is leaving my office for a couple of hours! I like to sit in a cafe or a hotel lounge with a big sheet of paper in front of me and some coloured pens. Whether I use a mindmap, draw or make lists, I always find capturing my thoughts and assessing new plans very motivating!
Ute Wieczorek-King is an experienced trainer, mentor, business coach (and mum to three now grown-up children!) . She specialises in helping busy women to be more efficient, productive and profitable in business.