Do you feel like you’re running out of time to get your work done? Hopefully my top 10 time management tips can help you sort through this!
In this post, I’m going to share with you my top 10 time management tips that you can use to manage your time in smarter ways so that your life as a solopreneur doesn’t feel so overwhelming.
Busy solopreneurs, I get it! We need all the help we can get to manage time better since we have so many hats to wear, right?
(If you prefer listening, I’ve got two audios for you on another post that you can listen to!)
Watch the video, or read below for even more for more top 10 time management tips!
1.) #1 of my top 10 time management tips: Set Goals.
I’m a stay-ahead kind of Type-A personality and I like having confidence about what’s on my agenda for the day. Whether you’re Type A like me, or you like to wing it, one thing we all need to do in business is to set goals upfront.
The last thing we want to do is shoot from the hip and “figure out things as we go.” So not recommended!
It’s so easy to stay busy with tasks but not have a clear sense of direction as to why we are doing those tasks. (I’ve been there a time or two!) Staying busy is not the same as meeting goals.
So what do you do? What you need (and what we all need as solopreneurs) is to gain clarity for what you’re trying to achieve in your business. In order to initially gain that clarity, I recommend writing down your goals a few months and weeks in advance.
How do you get your goals established so that you can get started with your business on the right foot?
Use productivity software such as Evernote, Google Drive, or a good old-fashioned notebook to help you stay on top of your game. I like planning out my entire month’s worth of tasks and goals in my Google Calendar, broken down into a week at a time. Setting clear goals is your first step to help you manage time like a pro!
I like to use SMART goals.
S- Specific Goals
How many blog posts do you want to write, for example? (10 blog posts in a week?)
You need to be extremely specific about what your goals are. Vagueness will get you nowhere when it comes to what you want to achieve. In order to accomplish anything and manage time more effectively, your goals have to be specific.
Here are some examples…
Name what you want: more blog posts, more podcast episodes, a digital course created, a new coaching program.
You can (and should) have several goals happening in your business at once. (It doesn’t have to feel overwhelming, though).
Where the overwhelm happens is when we keep the myriad of goals swimming around in our heads unnamed. They’re just floating thoughts bouncing around in our minds with no specificity as to what we actually, really want.
Being extremely specific about what you want is the start.
The next step is to make sure your goals are measurable. With the ‘S’ in SMART goals, you named your goal. Now let’s talk actually quantity. This is the ‘M’ and gives you something to like a yardstick to make sure your goals are being achieved. It’s your goal achievement measuring stick.
Here are some sample questions you might ask yourself about the goals you’ve established?
- How many blog posts do you want to write?
- How many podcast episodes should you create? By when?
- When should you start creating your digital course?
- When should the course be complete?
- When will you launch your new coaching program?
Put a quantity and date to your goals and make it concrete. Set it in stone (so to speak!) Give yourself a bit of wiggle room, but not too much.
Once you start putting a number and date next to your goals, you’ll find yourself achieving more. It puts more pressure on yourself to manage time better.
Did you accomplish your meaningful and motivating goals by the end of the week? (Or month? Year?) How measurable were they?
Having attainable goals is all about setting realistic expectations. Sometimes we get really caught up in all of our busy-ness as solopreneurs that we forget to pace ourselves, and even at times check ourselves to make sure that our goals aren’t too far-fetched. If you’re an optimist like me, you might find yourself often reaching for far higher stars than you can actually reach.
(Not that I’m discouraging you from reaching for the stars. And not that it’s a bad thing, it just means you really feel like you can do something that perhaps you should scale.)
Can you realistically accomplish the 10 blog posts in a week, for example? What can you actually reach that’s doable for you?
If you’re a solopreneur, how much can you do alone versus with a team? Again…at some point as a solopreneur you’ll need to scale your business in order to truly grow. And when that happens, you can achieve far more in far less time.
But be easy on yourself while you’re a one-person team. How can you manage time effectively if you’re trying to do too many things at once or if. your goals are much loftier than they need to be?
So, set achievable goals.
Is it reasonable, results-based and realistic? Is your goal relevant to what you’re really trying to achieve overall?
For example, do you really need to be creating 10 blog posts in a week? Can one blog post per week give you the results you’re looking for?
Check to be sure that all of your business activities are relevant to what you really want to achieve with your goals. This is sure to save you time in the long run.
I often hear mompreneurs tell me that they feel in over their heads with business activities and just feel swamped and overwhelmed with business. However, after a coaching session together we find that some of the goals she’s working towards are not as relevant.
Have a reasonable time frame to finish your goals.
Let’s move right along in my list of top 10 time management tips for solopreneurs…
2.) Top 10 time management tips #2: Have a plan.
How many of us launch ourselves into projects without having a clear plan in place?
Don’t let the idea of a business plan scare you. I’m not referring to a lengthy 100-page legal document. Just make sure you know what you want to do and when in your business. Without a plan, goal-planning is non-existent. How will you know what activities to work on if you don’t have a plan of action and if you are unclear about your goals?
You can easily manage time when you know exactly how to approach the time you have: what to do and when. Having a plan for about a year will you help you to grow your business faster. I always recommend a year’s worth of content ideas to keep you motivated and working steadily and certainly toward your long-term goals.
You can always break down your annual plan into months and weeks, so no worries about having everything completely figured out on the front-end. (No need for that added stress!) An annual plan helps tremendously, though. Just knowing what topics you want to cover in your content and when you want to share those topics is a big plus.
How I do it is, I usually start with a brainstorming session in Google Docs, then create a spreadsheet that lists all the months, and then I plug my topics in there for each month. Then when it’s time to write my content for the week and month, all I need to do is check my spreadsheet for which topics I’ll be creating content about that week, and I get moving on it!
3.)Be an early-riser or a night owl.
The next question to ask yourself is “When am I actually going to get this work done?”
If you’re balancing family life and business, you’ll most likely try to catch a few extra hours of work in the late-night hours or in the early a.m. This can be especially tricky if you have little ones around, but working around your kids’ nap times or when they’re in school can be helpful.
Over the years I’ve worked late night and early morning hours in order to work around my homeschooling and time with my kids and their activities.
It was always a matter of knowing when I work best and sticking with that as much as I could. I’m more of an early riser these days (and my kids are much older), but I get the majority of my work done in the morning when I feel most productive. It’s the best way for me to manage time effectively.
Figure out what times in the day and week work best for you and stick with it!
While making your goals, don’t forget to prioritize. Devote certain times throughout your day just for creating your free content ( writing newsletters, blogging, creating video footage, podcasting) and creating your paid content (working with clients or creating paid products).
Block off time in your schedule for social media networking such as commenting on other blogs, tweeting, and checking in on your Facebook groups. (Make sure that not all of your energy is going toward activities that aren’t making you income. Put those things lower down on the priority list.)
Be sure to set your paid projects as a priority, making progress along those lines first and foremost.
5.) Set boundaries.
As a solopreneur who may happen to be a mom (a mompreneur), you’ll know how tough this part is with kids undertow. Setting boundaries is tough.
What I recommend is to work at certain, specific hours of the day. Work in blocked times or structured hours -if possible- for maximum concentration and productivity.
With your list of goals at hand, it will be easier to be on “ready-set-go” mode once you’ve entered your work zone hours. Another idea is to have a devoted office space set up, if possible.
In our home, our signal is: when the door is closed completely, that means “mom is in a meeting – come back later”. If the door is slightly ajar: “knock and enter quietly”. And finally, when the door is wide open: “Come on in, family!”
6.) Invest time in home management organization upfront.
You never know if you’ll need to stop in the middle of your workday to run an errand or what might happen to stop your workflow. After all, you’re managing business and family life.
I like to take care of home management on the front end- making sure to do a grocery list, adding to my list daily as needed so that shopping day is not last-minute scrambling to add things to my list. I hate last-minute prep!
I usually cook the same recipes weekly and rotate, so I typically know what I’m going to cook each week. That takes a load off – just knowing what to cook each day.
Here are a few tips for you for home management routines:
- Use apps and sites for home management: Cozi, Ziplist, Once A Month Meals, Google Shopping List
- Keep an ongoing grocery list that you add to each time you need to. I like to use my Google Home – “Add to Shopping List” command to randomly add items to my list that I think of throughout the week.
- Crockpot cooking (especially warm and cozy recipes for winter) saves time for home management.
- Know what you’re going to cook each day of the week, in advance. Keep a menu running weekly. You don’t need surprises at the end of the day when it’s time to buckle down and get those meals out on the table. (You wouldn’t believe how helpful this is to your everyday business activities, just knowing how to manage your home.)
- Get kids and family involved in chores. Add chore charts and create systems to make cleaning and organizing around the house easier. Get into a laundry and housekeeping routine that is blocked off just for cleaning and housework. (In other words, don’t try to do too many things at once. Just focus on your housekeeping, then get down to business later.)
7.) Break up your scenery.
It’s important to change your scenery to give yourself a break, get fresh air, or factor in some exercise time.
Get moving! Don’t stay cooped up in front of your computer all day- no matter how tempting it is to “get ahead” in your tasks. It will always benefit you to get moving and do something different every few hours.
I try to get up and stretch, go to the kitchen and grab a cup of tea, or go check on my daughter to make sure her schoolwork is going okay. Sometimes I stop to go take a walk or go to the gym to work out. I may stop for a lunch break or snack break or a general brain break! (Hey, we all need them!)
What do you need to do to make your time blocks more productive and fun for you? Figure out your best ways to balance and manage time in your business and personal endeavors.
Let’s move on to number 8 of my top 10 time management tips…
8.) Make time for family a priority.
Next on my top 10 time management tips list is one that’s very important to me as mompreneur.
Being 100% involved with your family is important for our family’s well-being. As female entrepreneurs, we oftentimes have a unique perspective on home-based business that differs from many other business owners. Running your own business, building your own unique brand, and doing it from home bring a spin on your business and family life where creating boundaries is simply necessary to survive.
In the midst of setting boundaries, however, we still have to make family the #1 priority.
Prioritizing family is such an important aspect of running a successful business and home life. Your business may come and go, but family is here to stay. Our kids and spouse need us and we need them too.
We can set reasonable boundaries without neglecting our priorities.
9.) Set aside “you” time.
Whether it’s an aromatherapy bath, a date night, time alone with a good book, figure out how you’ll get some “you” time.
Some ideas that come to my mind are:
- do your nails
- go to the hair salon
- go to the spa
- talk with a girlfriend
- go have coffee with a special friend you haven’t seen in a while
- watch Netflix
- curl up with a good book
You’ll be so glad you took that special time for yourself. You’ll be a better person in your business because of it.
10.) Learn to say “no”.
Sometimes we have to say no even when we want to be involved in everything. I have one of those personalities that love to soak up the energy from others- so although at times I’m a bit of an introvert, the extrovert in me gets moving when I’m part of a larger group. It makes it that much harder for me to give up opportunities to socialize and say “no”.
Part of running a successful business and balancing family life is knowing when to say yes, but also when to say no.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you manage time in your business! Do you have any tips you’d like to share?