Running a business is not easy at the best of times, but when you have a full time job as well as an online business, it can be extremely difficult. This can be made even more difficult if you also have a family. Difficult that is, if you are not well organized and make the most of every minute you have, you’ll miss out on opportunities that could change your life.
This article will show you some great ways to stay on top of your commitments and become better organized in all areas of your life.
24 Hours in a Day
There is only so much you can do in a day, after all there are only 24 hours to play with. A lot of people think they have to work harder and work quicker to get more done however with the correct mindset and preparation you can not only get more done but will be able to do it in less time simply by working smarter.
Being well organized is a prerequisite if you are going to balance your life between your job, online business and social life. If you are reading this with a groan and thinking “I am not an organized person”, don’t worry you will be after being shown a few simple tips and putting them into practice.
Tidy House – Tidy Mind
It’s amazing that with the simple act of tidying the workspace around you can relieve so much stress and chaos in your mind. Your workspace reflects your state of mind and if your workspace is in turmoil you can bet that your mind will be as well. It’s time for a clear out.
Start with your desk at home. Clear out every bit of paper you do not need, be ruthless here, if you’ve not looked at it for a few months bin it or file it. Clear out the scratched CDs, the broken pens, old computer manuals from your drawers and leave only the essentials in there. If you have three calculators lying about donate two of them Throw away anything that is broken and can’t be fixed, even if you’ve been meaning to fix it for a year now. Now, get some polish, a cloth and give your desk a good clean and clean your computer screen and printer with some computer cleaning fluid.
That’s it, you will have made a start on clearing your space. Now you’ve got the momentum, start clearing the rest of your office space in the same way and then finally do the same with the rest of your house. yes it might take a week or so but believe me if you have niggling little jobs at the back of your mind all the time it gets in the way of your focus and attention.
Now, it’s time to do exactly the same at your place of work. This will not be as big a job as, hopefully, you’ll not have a whole house to clean, it should only be your desk and your office or workspace area.
Counting the Working Week Hours
Now you have a tidy house and tidy mind you have time to focus on your working hours. Look at how many hours per day you are working your full time job and do the same with your online business and your family/friends time. Your midweek schedule might look something like this:
- 11 hours – Preparation and being at work
- 3 hours – Family time (meals, talking with partner, playing with kids)
- 3 hours for online business
- 7 hours sleep
Your Saturday and Sunday schedule might look something like this:
- 7 Hours – online business
- 7 Hours Sleep
- 10 Hours – Friends/Family, household chores, etc…
So all in all you will be spending around 29 hours on your online business. That might seem a lot but that 29 hours can go in very quickly if you waste some of it on emails, social media, chatting, twittering etc.
Now we’ve got all that out of the way it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty and look at the three main area in your life and work on each of them in turn; Your full time job, Your online business and your family/friends.
Your Full Time Job
It’s a chore but you have to go everyday so you know the mortgage payments will be met. Also to keep your partner happy, she/he will probably think you’re playing around on the internet and not thinking about chucking your full time job to go full time – playing on the internet.
We’ve established that you will have around eleven hours preparation time and actual time you spend at work. This includes getting ready in the morning, driving to work, working, and driving back from work. Around nine of those hours will actually be spent working. So that’s two hours getting ready and commuting. What if you could cut out the commuting and work from home, that would give you another ten hours per week for your online business.
Suggesting to the Boss Home Working
It’s not possible for all jobs but if you’re office based it’s feasible you could work from home as effectively as you could by being at the office. This could save a lot of time for you and if you prove your productivity is better working from home it could be a full time thing. If you decide to approach your boss about this make sure you make it a win/win situation and make it sound better for the company. Read Tim Ferris’ excellent book “The Four Hour Workweek” which will provide you with some details about how to go about this.
Depending on the job you have you can automate a lot of the work so it makes it easier on you. For example I have to send out letters, do assessments, and type up notes every single day using Word and I have learned to automate this by setting up databases of all my clients and mail merging all my standard letters, and standard assessments. This saves me around 15 minutes per client each day.
If I see six clients in a day I am saving 90 minutes per day, or seven and a half hours per week. The time I am saving means I get to have a lunch break instead of working through it. I always, always take a break from work and get out of the building. I think this is an important point to make. the more breaks you get throughout the day i.e. your lunch break, the more refreshed you feel when you come home. When I come home for lunch I get to spend around 45 minutes on my online business related matters. If you are focused you can do a lot in 45 minutes.
A micro-nap is a great way to refresh your mind and energy levels. Once you’ve practiced it for a bit you can micro-nap anywhere. A micro-nap is simply closing your eyes for five to seven minutes and drifting off into a very light sleep. If you do practice this make sure you are not lying down as you are likely to fall into a full blown sleep. Sitting up in a chair is best and when you begin to fall into a slightly deeper sleep your head will fall and wake you up. Have you ever been at a boring meeting when you’ve drifted off and your head jerks you back awake and you’ve got a bit drool coming from your mouth and you look around you hoping nobody has noticed you, well that’s what a micro-nap is like only nobody is there laughing at you.
Become as efficient as possible whilst at work. Remember your work is a secondary pastime and you eventually want to give it up, so make sure you run like clockwork whilst you are there to reduce any stress you feel coming home. Give up the gossip time and get back to work so everything is finished for the day and you have no stresses for the following day. You might lose a few work acquaintances in the process but who cares, when you eventually leave your work you’ll never speak to them again anyway.
Your Online Business
This might still be a hobby to you but if you are making money from it you have to treat it like a business from the very start. For example a lot of people, when they start out making money, don’t keep receipts for expenses etc and don’t do book keeping. It’s very important that you realize that when your business grows it will be harder to keep track of your incomings and outgoings so make sure you keep a record of everything from the start, it will save a lot of time in the future.
Cut Out Time Wasting
Whilst online you will find that you have a million and one ways to distract you from actually keeping on top of your business. Twittering, online chatting, social media, Facebook, checking e-mails. There is a time and a place for all of this and I’ll get to that in a minute. Turn off everything that is a distraction to you. That means close down all the tabs in your browser which has your twitter account, your Facebook account, Google account etc, turn off your emails, stop watching YouTube and actually get on with working. Give yourself two or three hours of focused working every day.
Making Time for the Fun Stuff
Part of the attraction of running your own online business is that you get to spend time doing what you want and enjoy, like twittering and interacting with customers, and chatting etc. It’s important to make time for all of this but try and do it in a controlled manner. Spend 1 hour per day on the fun stuff, or more if you don’t have a family, but always keep in the back of your mind that you are there to make money for your business and eventually give up your day job.
Outsourcing is a great way to hand over all the smaller, but time consuming, tasks to someone else. you will have to pay them of course and make sure you find a good person to work with. For example If you are into internet marketing you might have to write a lot of articles for your blog, pay someone $3-5 per article whilst you concentrate on growing your business. You can find quality workers on places like Elance.com, guru.com, and others.
The same goes with working on your website. If you are not great at web design hand it over to someone else. You might find you are spending two hours per day trying to get your website sorted, because you are still learning, it’s better to hand it over to someone who knows what they are doing for a relatively small fee whilst you concentrate on growing the business. Other jobs that you can outsource might be:
- Finding leads for your business
- Writing letters to prospective clients
- Answering emails with standard responses
- Finding partnerships
- Processing email orders
There is a lot of work you can outsource just make sure you find someone who is good and when you have stick with them.
Spend Time Branding Yourself and Your Company
This is an important part for every business. I am a freelance writer and marketer and to brand myself I give away a lot of my stuff for free, yes for free. I write guest posts for other blogs, I write e-Books to give away, I produce downloads for free to give them away. This is hugely important as it gets my name out there and the more people see my face and get to know and trust me the more likely they are to turn to me if they need help in the area I work in. Whatever you are doing it’s important to brand yourself and get your face known.
your family time is just as important as your full time job and online business time. they are the ones supporting you and they are the ones who want you to succeed. However they might not fully understand what you do and why you have to work so many hours per day. You will want to spend quality time with every day, they might not see the big picture as you do so it’s important to give them as much attention as possible.
Get your family involved
My two sons don’t quite fully understand what I do and why I do it but I have shown them a lot of the work I do online and I have even shown them how to do a bit of social media for me. So they can sit at my desk with their laptops doing some social media work whilst I work away writing. However, we are spending time together and we are interacting with each other. Sometimes they don’t want to do it and that’s fine, I’ll spend time doing what they like, like playing their X-box games.
Setting Aside Time
Make your time with your family sacred and try and spend quality time with them. Sometimes, it might just be a cuddling up on the couch that they want and that’s quality time with them and for you. Kids especially just want their parents to be in the same room and know they are around rather than them hiding in the office all night. Time is against you here so set times that you will spend with them.
Whenever you come home from work remember that your family has not seen you all day so make this time a priority to spend an hour or so with them and sit down with them for dinner.
Make the weekends a time to have fun with your family and do something different and get out of the house. Remember kids see the world differently from us and even going to the park will be a time they remember that they have spent time with you and it’s these memories that last a lifetime.
Your Sleeping Pattern
I have managed to change my sleeping pattern over the years to accommodate my passion for writing and online work. I now get by on five or six hours of sleep per night with one or two micro-naps during the day. You’ll never become successful if you sleep for ten hours per day, but then again you’ll kill yourself if you only sleep three hours per day.
Hopefully, this will give you an insight into what you can do to gain balance between your full time job, online business, family and friends.