One of the hardest things for any newly self-employed entrepreneur to handle is their own time. Though it may seem like a move likely to blow up the amount of time you can spend idling away doing the things you love outside of your profession, most people making the move from on-site work to off-site telecommuting/self-employment/entrepreneurship fail to realise one key thing: you go from wearing one hat to all of the hats.
Though I feel my hat analogy to be rather cunning, I should probably clarify. When you go self-employed, you’re no longer responsible for keeping one component within a business well-oiled; you’re responsible for keeping all of them well-oiled. You are the:
- CEO and chief decision maker
- Communications department
- Administrative director
- Marketing department
- IT director
- Sales director
- PR liaison
On top of all of this, you still obviously have to remain competent with the actual work you do. Whether a freelance writer, graphic designer or budding inventor- it makes no odds.
Keeping on top of things
Starting out as a home-based entrepreneur you may be thinking you’ve got things pretty much figured out. As time passes however, and business begins to boom, it’s likely that you’ll soon be using up your allotted ‘off-time’ catching up with that admin, or that marketing, or that research. When this happens, there are several options open for exploration.
First of all, you may consider seeking assistance from a spouse or family member. It is quite common for this to be the first recourse of someone struggling to get everything done, particularly if the individual in question has experience in a relevant area.
Given the ease of communication we now enjoy from one end of the earth to the other, hiring a virtual assistant is another increasingly popular go-to with overstretched entrepreneurs. Fulfilling much the same duties as your typical assistant, a virtual assistant could be the ideal choice for you if you’re struggling to manage your time.
Tips for time management
All of this branching-out and hiring-in aside, there’s still likely to be a lot of tasks and duties contesting for your oh-so-precious little time. With this, I feel as though some concrete and fully actionable advice you can really dig your teeth into would be helpful right about now?
- Prioritise properly. By separating those tasks which are just a little pressing from those which, if left undone, will lead to calamity, you can advance towards your goals far more efficiently. Creating a list of priorities is far from something which should be done every once in a while. In fact, for maximum efficiency you should try and do it at the beginning of each working week, if not day!
- Set milestones. One of the hardest things about working for yourself is that you don’t have to answer to anyone. Whilst this is pretty cool, it also leaves a lot of room for procrastination. By setting challenging yet realistic milestones for yourself each day/week/month, you’ll establish a healthy working pace.
- Take breaks. Though powering through a task as quickly as you can may seem like the most obvious tactic when discussing time management, I for one feel as though I work best when well-rested. When you feel your energy or concentration slip, don’t grab a red bull, take a half hour away from your computer and return refreshed and able to make up for the lost half hour, and then some!
Time management is an extremely popular issue of discussion within modern business and commerce. Not everyone is the same when it comes to working alone, or motivating themselves to perform to an appropriate level. As such, learning to properly manage your time as a home-based entrepreneur requires a particular amount of self-discovery and perseverance.