One of CParker Consulting, Inc. (CPC)'s hallmark's training is "Time Flies; Principles of Time Management." The irony about the term time management is that we cannot manage time. There are 60 minutes in a hour/24 hours in a day/7 days in a week…you get the picture. However, we can manage our tasks and our self.
As the owner of a woman owned, small business focused on leadership development and strategic planning, I sometimes feel like my time is not my own. I've developed a few tips for managing time – uhum –managing tasks and myself - that that goes beyond Outlook and Daytimers. I hope this helps other small business women owners as well.
- Quickly identify the root causes of poor task/self management. Ask yourself the following diagnostic questions:
- Am I the right person for the job? If no, hand off the task promptly!
- Do I need additional training to get the job done well? If yes, then enroll in a course.
- Am I letting others dictate my schedule? If yes, then set better boundaries with colleagues, clients, family, friends, etc.
- Am I in a transition? As a business owner, you should always be in transition you seek new growth opportunities. Therefore, embrace it. Outline a plan to get the transitional tasks complete and stick to the plan!
- Are you a perfectionist? If yes, know when to lower your standards. Sometimes the task has to be perfect, sometimes 80% perfection is enough to be successful.
- Are you afraid structure will stifle your creative juices? If yes, own your creativity. It's what makes a business owner tick, but put some structure around it with schedules and communication to ensure your creativity can be implemented by those who work with you.
(Adapted from Julie Morgenstern, "Time Management from the Inside Out")
- Write a personal strategic plan. You spend so much time pouring over your business strategy, do the same thing for yourself! Develop 4 goals max, that you can implement over the next year. A few ideas for goal categories include: Professional Development, Financial, Wellness, Family,Community, and Recreation.
- Work-life balance is a misnomer for women business owners – work and life go hand in hand. It is about being intentional to set priorities for a given period of time. The reality is that sometimes, "work" must get the priority and sometimes, "life" must be the priority. Tip: Embrace technology to help with this. I love the fact that I can have a family day at the amusement park, disengage for 20 minutes periodically to check e-mail and connect with the business, then get right back onto the roller coasters. Similarly, when work is the priority, having Skype, Lync, or Face-time keeps me connected to the family on overnight travels.
- Take care of yourself. Remember, you have lots to do and lots of people depend on you. Your well being is just as important! Take time to make and keep wellness check-ups with your doctor, eat healthy, exercise and get your 8 hours sleep. I also recommend connecting with your spirituality. It will help keep you grounded, focused, and maintain perspective in your busyness.
Cara Parker is owner of CParker Consulting, Inc. in Fredericksburg, Virginia where she manages The Forum @ CPC – a "forum" for training, development, strategic planning, and good conversation. She is the mother of 2 very active boys! www.cparkerconsulting.co