You have a lot of bits of time that slip away from you, don’t you? This article is going to show you how to wrangle the time you do have and use it effectively.
Choppy Days Ahead
Business-owning moms have the problem of chopped up days and the ever-present threat of outside distractions. Even if your kids are at school, you’re only one phone call away from spending the afternoon taking a sick child to the pediatrician or a morning chat with the Principal.
Too often, you have small blocks of time that don’t seem big enough to be worth starting a project. You fill them with piddly little tasks that don’t add up to much. Or you only have about 20 minutes, so you check out your social media accounts or your analytics and pretend you’re being productive.
So, what do you do after a chopped up day of work?
You get back to work in the afternoon or evening, instead of spending time with your family. Which seems unfair, because that’s why you started your business in the first place, right? To have more flexibility and freedom to spend your time the way you wanted to.
You resent having to work during your family time, and you feel guilty because you think you should be spending time with your kids. But then when you do take time to go to the park, or ride bikes in the neighborhood, you feel guilty that you’re not “hustling” and building your business. And it feels like you can’t win.
Time Freedom and Flexibility
The real key to achieving that time freedom and flexibility isn’t another time-saving tactic (though those are pretty fun, and can help once you have a plan).
Instead, you have to manage your time and tell it precisely what to do. Just like money, time likes a purpose!
And the way to give your hours, minutes, and seconds purpose is to clock and control your time. This is so important to a business-owning mom’s success and sanity that I’ve made it the second of three pillars in my Done by 3:00 Workday model.
How to Control Your Time
Instead of letting it control you!
Before you can control your time, you have to take stock of just what you have to work with. What are you actually doing with your time right now?
What is time doing with you? You’ll be surprised at how much of your time is not spent on things you value. You won’t have the freedom & flexibility you want until you’re spending your time on purpose.
The first step is to track your time, your tasks, and your energy for a week. I promise it will be very revealing.
First, you’ll be more productive simply because you’re tracking and you KNOW you have to write down what you’re doing. You’ll do more work just to make yourself look good :). Even if you’re the only one to see this tracker!
Second, you’ll learn where your time goes when you’re not directing it. It’s fine to scroll on Instagram if you’re doing it on purpose, but if you lose hours on social media without planning to, you can cause yourself to miss the things that are important to you.
Third, you’ll see when your energy is most appropriate for different tasks. When you can match your tasks to your energy levels, you won’t be fighting with yourself so much! Tasks will be easier and will move much faster.
Protect Your Time
Once you know what time you do have, you have to protect it. Don’t let anyone else steal it from you!
The biggest stealers of time are other people – leads, clients, employees, organizations, even your family. You will have to set barriers around each one of these. That might sound mean, but if you put the right “gates” in these barriers, only the right people will be able to get your time, and they’ll only be able to do it when your energy is right for interacting with them. The result is a win for both of you.
When you’re able to give your focus and undivided attention to someone, it will feel to them like you’re giving so much more than you did before you set up barriers. And it will take you less time to help them because you’re able to focus fully on them. Your barriers will help keep you from being distracted. The result is a win for both of you.
These protections are going to save you at least a couple of hours each week, maybe even more depending on what you’re up to right now.
Map Out Your Time
Once you know what time you have and you’re set up to protect it, you can then start giving it a purpose, and mapping it out onto your calendar.
I recommend using a hybrid time blocking and breaking down goals into tasks. Time blocking is a method that sounds wonderful until the school calls you because your kiddo is sick, or your spouse calls and says, “Hey, I got back in town early and I’m at the car rental place. I need you to come pick me up.”
Even with barriers, distractions will still happen because you’re a business-owning mom.
Minimum Viable Day
Although the Minimum Viable Day is part of the Map Out Your Time step, it’s the biggest time-control tool that I’ve discovered, so it gets its own section! 🙂
Every morning, look at your calendar and your task list and decide on the ONE thing you MUST get done to make sure that you’re making progress towards one of your goals.
Then, make sure you do that ONE thing before you go to bed.
That’s called a Minimum Viable Day. It will help you make incremental progress all throughout the week, even if you’re not doing as much as you had originally planned or wanted to do. Making this incremental progress, moving forward continuously in small bits is so much faster than one monumental effort whenever you have the time.
You will achieve your goals much faster.
It doesn’t feel faster, it doesn’t feel glamorous, it doesn’t feel exciting. But it works. You’ll look up one day and realize you’ve finished a goal!
And if you take one thing from this post, start coming up with your Minimum Viable Day each morning!
Would You Like More Time-Managing Tips?
Do you need to save 10+ hours each week just to get a little time with your kids? Learn about the Done by 3:00 Workday coaching program – I’m inviting you (100% no sales pitch) to chat with me for a few minutes to find your next best step to saving time in your business. Click here to schedule!
Take back your afternoons!
You're a business-owning mom, so you use this guide to prioritize your tasks in 2 minutes, and have 41 minutes left to knock out a task.