Having enough time for everything is one of the things that most small businesses struggle with.

“I never get around to doing the things that are really important – I’m too busy firefighting.”
“I feel as though I’m on a hamster wheel, running faster just to stand still.”
“Even when I have time to do things for myself, I’m too exhausted to do what I planned.”
“I feel guilty if I’m not working all the time!”

Featured image created by Andy Boothman BusyasAB

These are just a few of the comments I hear from people who are busy trying to grow their businesses.

It’s ironic, because most people start their own business to have more control over how they spend their time and yet, as soon as they have control, they throw it away!

How to get control of your time

The first thing to do is identify everything you want and need to do.

This means having a plan for how you want to live your life as well as how you want to run your business.

If you want to spend every evening with your family, go trekking in the himalayas, grow prize winning roses, learn to be a great cook or sail a yacht, it would be a good idea to schedule these things into your plan right now! Planning for the time and the cost is more likely to make it happen than wishing and dreaming!

Don’t start with a to do list

If you start every day with a list of things you need to do you’ll only ever do what’s urgent and never touch the things that are really important to your long term goals.

Take the long view and work back

Have some idea of what you want to do when you retire – and keep in mind that you could easily live to be 100 + so you may need to fill 30 – 40 years of not working!

If you think you might want to sell your business, you need to work with that in mind as it will influence the way you set it up and all the decisions you take along the way.

Start a three year plan

Include all the main milestones fo the next three years and what you’d like to earn to make it all happen. Keep updating your plan, looking back at the year that’s finished and planning for the three years to come.

Plan the next 12 months

Schedule all the major annual events and all the things you want to do in this year that make life worth living.

If you don’t put these in your timetable before everything else, you’ll fill the time with work and constantly wonder why you never have time for fun!

Too many people who run their own business can’t afford to take a holiday. If they don’t work they don’t earn – and that’s a tragedy. Your pricing and profit margins should take this into account (more of this in the next post!)

Create a rolling three month schedule

Schedule EVERYTHING.

As well as all the things you need to do to earn money, schedule time for eating, sleeping, time with friends and family, walking the dog, having a haircut, dentist, doctor, car service, shopping, cleaning, cooking, personal admin, celebrations, time for learning, exploring, keeping fit, staying healthy, reading, listening to music, sport, holidays – and anything else you can think of!

Have a rolling three month programme that has time slots for EVERYTHING you want and need to do with your time.

As you complete each task, check how much time things ACTUALLY take compared to how much time you estimated they’d take. Adjust the following months until you’ve got a really accurate schedule, allowing some buffer time for things to go wrong.

Rinse and repeat!

Look at how much earning time you’ve got

Just because people go to work for 40 hours a week doesn’t mean you can do client work for 40 hours a week.

That’s not how running a business works.

You need to allow time for everything else you do to make your business work – all the admin, prospecting, sales, marketing, learning, business development, planning and managing.

When you know how much earning time you’ve got, you’ll have a clearer idea of what you need to charge and how much profit you need to make to create the business and the life you really want.

More about this coming up in “How to make more more profit!”

Watch the video discussion where Drive Premium Members talk about how they manage their business and personal time:

How to have time for everything 

The workbook that accompanies this module is available to Drive Premium Members free of charge.

Buy the full Work Smart Not Hard Programme for £299.00