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Posts Tagged ‘make time’

imageTime 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.

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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.

Success!

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…

IMG_6665Ute 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.

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There’s no need to feel ineffective online or suffer from information overload!

The other day I had a conversation with a new business owner whose goal is to build a global business with the help of social media. Her main concerns were how much time she would have to spend online to ‘meet’  the right business partners, how to find the necessary time and how to use this effectively.

The time you should spend on social media will largely depend on your objectives. For example, when it comes to networking in the real world, have you any idea how often you should network, if your objective is to raise your profile and build a local network? A lot of it depends also on your business, what you offer, and your ideal customer!

As a service provider, my own initial objectives were to understand my target audience better and to build a network online. All well and good, but managing the ever-increasing influx of information in addition to dealing with email, reading and writing articles, newsletters and blogs, was not always easy!

Social media can so easily sabotage your productivity, particularly when it pulls you away from your priorities. Indeed, 49% of employees in a pan-European survey* mentioned that distractions posed by social networks are a real challenge. But luckily it seems that social networking, when used efficiently, can also increase our effectiveness! In the same survey 74% of European employees also recognised other benefits like increasing an individual’s knowledge and gaining access to solutions to problems (both 38%).

Making time for social media gets much easier with clear objectives and a regular schedule.  With designated time slots that you are happy to commit to you will achieve consistency and consistency is absolutely vital if you want to be both visible and effective online!

At first, my time slots used to be at the beginning and the end of my work day but now that I network less offline, I have increased my ‘social time’ to at least 3 times a day. I find that mobile tools such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck via my smart phone and iPad make the task easier, enabling me to stay tuned in, even when away from my office.

Once you are clear about your objectives I would recommend you start with a really easy goal – one or two updates per day is a good start on Twitter for example – coupled with an additional 10 minutes of reading time to learn more about the people you follow and to understand their needs. You’ll find that with regular practice you will quickly get faster at both updating and reading and you can then increase your goals accordingly.

I also use my ‘social time’ to catch up on blogs I subscribe to and the Google alerts I’ve set up, that help me to share interesting news. After about 30 minutes in total, I close all the browser windows to start my other work projects.

Since getting side-tracked on the internet is so easy, it is better to keep social media activities separate from other business tasks. That way you can work on one project at a time, rather than multitask and jump from one activity to the next and back, which wastes valuable time. Using a timer can be useful or setting a reminder on a mobile phone can help you to stay on track.

I hope that my tips will enable you to use your ‘social time’ much more effectively… it is always good to feel in control rather than it controlling you!

* Social Networking Report commissioned by AT&T

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About the author: Ute Wieczorek-King helps busy female entrepreneurs to be visible, effective and profitable in business. 

Read her daily business tips on Facebook (Success Network Recipes) or visit the Success Network website and sign up for a free ebook with lots of business tips for solopreneurs!

PS. This post is an updated version of the original which was first published in August 2009.

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