Becoming your own boss was supposed to make your work day less stressful and your work week less grueling. But the reality is trying to fit all the things you need to do to run your small business into a 24-hour day is a test of endurance that makes your 9-to-5 job look like a day at the beach. To get it all handled, you’ll need to find and use the time management methods that work best for you.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Put it in the cloud.
If you find you’re constantly checking five different calendars (paper and digital), transferring the dates to a cloud system means your one schedule is accessible anywhere. Instead of jotting down meetings and appointments on any available scrap of paper, you can access your calendar from your smartphone, tablet or desktop. Check out Google Calendar and Yahoo Calendar for free, cloud-based calendars.
2. Start earlier.
Get a jump on the day by setting your alarm just 30 minutes earlier than normal so you can get some quick, easy tasks out of the way. Before you head to the office, try to do knock a few things you know take time (but not too much mental energy) off your list.
3. Allow for interruptions and delays.
No small business owner can get through a day without unforeseen interruptions or delays. Meetings run late, you can’t get in touch with a supplier, an important client has a complaint…the possibilities are endless. Try not to pack your schedule so tightly that you have no flexibility in your day when something goes wrong. Check out the Leave Now app to help you get to appointments on time when there’s traffic or other delays that might make you late.
4. M is for mobile.
Having a smartphone or tablet means you can take care of some important tasks while you’re out of the office. If your business takes you to the client instead of the client coming to you, use a mobile payment app like Square that allows you to accept payments on your mobile device. If you need to create invoices and estimates on the fly, check out a mobile app like Invoice2go that works on iPhones, iPads and Androids.
5. Take breaks.
What? Say you can’t afford a break? You can and you must take them. When you get tired and overworked, you get sloppy and make mistakes. Plus, the wear and tear on your body is a perfect breeding ground for sickness—and if you get sick, your small business will certainly feel the effects.