When you’re trying to build a business, the amount of work that needs to be done can be suffocating. You may spend every waking moment doing as much work as you possibly can. Writing content, fixing your website, working on products, sending cold calls and cold emails, and applying for loans — all with a sense of panic knowing how much is at risk if you can’t produce enough to stay afloat. If you’re not careful, you will be consumed by all your short-term tasks and you end up creating the downward spiral you worked so hard to avoid.
Don’t let this warning deter you from opening your business. The good news is that there has never been a better time to create a brand for yourself. The risk is minimal, why not take it? Instead of surrendering yourself to an eternal backlog of work, take the time to organize yourself and follow these tips!
Once you have your planner, it’s time to set some goals. Your goals should be your starting point above all else. Your first step is to decide what your vision is, if everything goes perfectly, what does the end look like? Pick one vision and stick to it and decide how many years you need to get there. Decide, in as specific terms as you can, what your goals are for the next five years. And don’t forget to include numbers, having income goals is critical for your future and your health.
Once you have your vision and 5-year plan, then plan for the year, the next six months, the next month, all the way down to the next day. Set goals for each of those time periods that all relate to your vision. Once you have that down, you are no longer allowed to do any work that doesn’t meet one of your goals.
Set Business Hours
You’re almost ready to schedule in all your work. But there’s one more thing you need to do first. Any job you get, you can distinguish between work time and personal time.
Young business owners think they can get rid of personal time entirely and focus their time on their work. You are not a machine, you’re a human being with needs and limits. All that happens when you treat yourself like a machine is your mental health deteriorates and you burn out. Instead, have an honest conversation with yourself about how many hours a week you can work and stick to it. You may not know right away, but as you go along you will have an idea of when and how much you are able to work per week.
Create Your Schedule with Honesty and Integrity
You have your planner, you have your goals, and you have a list of everything you need to do to make that happen. Now it’s time to look at what you need to do; remember, these are tasks specifically meant to help you achieve your goals. Again, have an honest conversation about how long a project may last. We often take the fastest possible time it takes to complete a project and calculate that as the average. Instead, do your tasks at a normal pace, time them, and find an average. That is the amount of time you should schedule to do a task.
Start your week by taking what you need to do, the amount of time needed, and negotiate that with your business hours and goals. Valuing your time is a habit, and while you may not be so used to this level of organizing, it will get easier as long as you keep at it!