Does anyone who runs a business not feel busy? There are so many things to do, and then you add in things like part-time work or full-time work or having a kid and things get intense.
I've always felt productive and self-directed, but becoming a mom last year meant I had to get even more ninja to keep up. And who wants to just "keep up"? If I can't enjoy my business, I might as well go back to a jobby job where I can just show up, get paid, and go home. But that's not what I want, and I bet it's not what you want, either.
Busy doesn't have to mean frantic, and it doesn't have to mean stressed. You can flourish and enjoy yourself if you have limited time to devote to your business.
The Busy Person's Guide to Running a Business
Be cutthroat about your commitments.
I mean ruthless. It will pay off. Know what your goals are, and if something doesn't help you achieve your goals, axe it. There's no excuse for doing busywork, or tasks that please other people that don't serve you as well. Fiercely guard your agenda. (For help with that, try this.)
Do your most demanding work when you have the most energy.
I am most energized in the pre-dawn morning, so I do my writing then. For me, writing takes the most mental energy and is not something I can phone in. I can do admin work when I'm not at my best, but not writing. You will save yourself an incredible amount of time if you do the hard work when you're fresh.
I recently timed a recurring writing activity. When I did it at night, it took me 30 minutes. When I did it in the morning, it took 7. If I do that writing task in the mornings, I can buy myself an extra 23 minutes. Do you know what you can do with an extra 23 minutes? A lot!
Track your time.
This is super ninja and sounds like a drag, but I am amazed at how the simple act of tracking my time has changed my productivity. I nerd out over this now. There are lots of apps that can help with this; I love Freckle. It's completely worth $19/mo to me to know how long certain tasks take, and to have a set of virtual eyes on me when I sit down to work on something. Knowing I'm being monitored makes me more focused.
Plus, I have sense of how long it takes me to do stuff. Need to write a blog post? It will take me 30-45 minutes. When I know how long tasks take, I can plan my day better. And if I'm ever dreading doing something, it helps to know that it will be over in 7 or 20 or 45 minutes. Try it!
It is totally unsustainable for you to be the only person who is hands-on with your business. At some point, you'll want consistent help. This can feel like a scary financial leap, but you can start with a little help and see how that goes. What if you paid for 10hrs/month to have someone else format your blog posts or send your invoices or help you with social media? Even taking small tasks off your plate frees you up to do the fun stuff, and the stuff that actually makes money.
Stop being so devoted to email and social media.
Yes, you're probably devoted to these things. Realign your loyalties. If checking email and social media is a compulsion for you, make it harder to check them. For heaven's sake, don't get notifications on your phone. You don't need to see 17 red dots pop up throughout the day telling you that somebody did something online. Push notifications? I don't think so; shut that shiz down.
Unless you're launching or having some kind of special event, you probably don't need to spend more than 20 minutes a day on social media. Tracking your time helps with this. Looking at the neighbor kid's birthday party photos and watching videos of pop and lock dancers is not time spent on your business. (Though I love me some pop and lock videos.)
Be honest about how you're spending your time on social media. It's fine to use it as recreation, but be real and admit when you're playing and when you're building relationships around your business.
Also, practice writing short, kind emails.
Know a busy person? Share this post! Which one of these do you want to try first? Need help with one? Let me know in the comments.