Time or should I say lack of time can be major issue for busy women who run a small business from home. No matter how good your intention to make time to improve or grow your business, it’s a sad truth that most of us are extremely busy already working on an ever-growing list of tasks.
Another sad truth is that no-one will achieve success in business simply by working hard on their actions and putting in long hours.
In any case, your own definition of working hard might not be the same as a successful entrepreneur’s idea of working hard. Her focus may be on making good strategic decisions whereas yours may be on juggling client work, marketing, finance and administrative tasks, looking after sick children, older relatives and supervising the builders.
All in a day’s work you may think. Many women accomplish such a lot, don’t they? But at what price?
What not to do
I once wrote a post about the importance of showing your business who is boss. A person in charge of their business will happily spend time managing and working ‘on’ the business, rather than ‘in’ the business.
The thing is, I didn’t always know that. A couple of years after starting my first business I found myself fire-fighting like crazy. I just couldn’t figure out what to do first – everything seemed equally important.
Why was that happening to me?
I had started my first training business because I loved my profession (teaching) and helping people to learn. And like many women I know, I wanted more time for my family and have a better quality of life too.
But somehow all this didn’t start to happen until I decided to take charge and stop letting the business run me.
Why effort alone doesn’t work
Having worked with lots of start-ups over the years I know that my own start-up story isn’t that unusual. Many people believe that sheer effort, persistence and hard work will lead to the results you dream of.
But sadly I have seen people work hard like this who experience a form of ‘burnout’. This can happen when the passion you may have had for your business has disappeared leaving you to feel drained disillusioned and stuck.
You may even believe that you’ve failed or that your business idea or model will never work.
Did you have any idea before you started how much goes on behind the scenes of a business that helps to make it successful (in whichever way you define success)?
Maybe you had an inkling but thought the only way is to push yourself harder to try and make sure it works?
Overworked people frequently find it difficult to see the ‘wood for the tress’ and make time for the things that matter.
If you have a problem with taking time out whether for yourself or the business, please be careful.
It is not that difficult to get to the point where taking a complete break from the business seems like the only option.
How to take control and pave the way for success
All successful people invest time in themselves as well as in their business and this seems to be a key aspect that differentiates them from less successful people.
Of course it may seem completely counter-intuitive to spend time on you or your business particularly when you’re in the middle of a super busy period.
But I hope these amazing benefits will convince you:
- You’ll know what REALLY matters in your business and can do more of what works – e.g. the high impact tasks – whilst also letting go of low impact, time wasting activities.
- You’ll feel more focused and make fewer ad-hoc decisions in your business.
- Taking time to think gives you time to plan. A clearer direction stops you from getting caught in the day-to-day stuff and keeps you in touch with the big picture.
- You’ll unravel the causes of overwhelm, take action accordingly and feel much calmer.
- Finally, you’ll feel a lot less like an overworked employee and more like a business owner in charge.
So why not schedule two time slots in your diary right away? One for you and one for the business!
Just remember that if you are not making time for you or the business, then you won’t be making time for success…
Ute Wieczorek-King is an experienced trainer, mentor and business coach who specialises in helping busy women be focused, visible and profitable in business. She blogs regularly here as well as at http://www.successnetwork.org.uk and http://www.attractreaders.com and has written hundreds of free articles for women in business.