The most liberating thing about being your own bass ought to be that one can have greater control over time and energy commitments. It should be the case that a small business owner should be able to prioritize their personal lives more easily.
The reality is, however, that this can be challenging. Running a small business certainly does free one up from having to accept the processes and order someone else has put in place.
What is equally true, though, is that it can seem that all your energies, for your entire day, are being consumed by your business. The good news is that these two apparently opposite situations are actually two sides of the same coin.
The trick is not to let either extreme define you. A little honest introspection, some foresight, and some creative preparation can help you excel in professional life while still finding the time to enjoy a rich and fulfilling personal life.
Manage Commitments Through Lists
Some of us are better than others to keep track of multiple priorities. Regardless of this, there’s no one that won’t benefit at least a little bit from keeping track of things using a simple list. Lists can help us divide an ambition into small achievable goals to take on one at a time.
They can help us plan for the next day or month or year, helping organize our efforts into coherent activities that add up to our goals. Whenever you feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of a challenge, a list can help you break it down into individual components and the order in which you can do them to best utilize your time and resources.
When your small business commences operations, it is almost inevitable that nearly everything will require your attention and efforts. Sometimes this can be inevitable and often even what’s best for the business. The sad fact, however, is that often enough this style of working can continue well after your business has picked up some momentum. It can be harder than it seems to change what works, even after it is no longer the most efficient way of doing things.
Often, if you break down complex tasks into smaller components, it’s possible to separate those involving critical decisions from repetitive but essential ones. When you differentiate your everyday business functions in this fashion, more often than not you will find, a lot of tasks you may have been accustomed to doing yourself but which can be delegated.
Don’t Commit Yourself To More Than You Can Handle
Many small businesses operate with a crushing schedule at their inception. When starting out, sometimes it’s beyond your control whether or not you can say no to a proposed project or order. Every client gained can be important to establish your early reputation and for the prospect of leading to bigger and better things. It is completely appropriate to put a fledgling business through as many projects as possible at its inception.
If nothing else, you and your team learn to work together. As time passes and you gain financial stability and momentum as a firm it’s time to revisit this approach. Realize that this stability was exactly what you were burning the candle at both ends to achieve.
Learn to recognize and accept change. Once your business has made the transition into an entity that can begin to consider its options when approached with an offer of work, make the most of it. Be sure to assess the value of the time you will be committing. If you can see that the time being committed to the project can be better served in another aspect of your professional or personal life, just say no.
Your customers will understand as well. In fact, business owners who are able to prioritize in this fashion are likely to earn the respect of their clients rather than lose future business.
Plan Time Away From Your Business
Don’t always leave it to someone else in your life to make the decisions about when to plan that vacation or weekend getaway. Be proactive about planning your rest and recreation. You will find yourself much more productive, full of fresh ideas and driven after having taken some time away from your responsibilities.
While we’re talking about the time you set aside, away from your work, it’s not a bad idea at all to actually schedule some down time during your work hours. An appropriately timed break can often end up lifting the productivity of the entire day.