What are your tips for managing time as a business owner? Originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
Great question, and if I may answer the 7 tips for managing time as a business owner.
1. Use Your Motivation
If you are like most businessmen and women of today, your motivation seems to have its highs and lows as your focus moves from one business project to the next.
There is no doubt that you are ultimately interested in business, but many find it difficult to stay focused on single business interest and fail to stick with one activity for any length of time. This is primarily because an individual’s patience tends to have its ups and downs, and interests change almost daily.
When you run your home business, you have more freedom than you would ever have working for an outside employer. The biggest benefit is that you can work on whatever you want, whenever you want. Your days are random, changing with your mood, but you still manage to get things done.
The key is to use your motivation and go where it takes you. Motivating factors play a key role in all aspects of our lives, from the most ordinary to potentially life-altering. Extrinsic, or external motivation comes from somewhere outside of yourself, while internal motivation stems from your own experiences, patterns, and thoughts. Keep in mind, however, that what motivates one person may not work effectively on another individual. Only you can determine what motivates you best.
You must take the time to study which external and internal factors motivate you in your home business. Think about ways to process and improve your own motivation to ensure that you are both productive as well as satisfied in your business and life.
2. Be Inspired
It never ceases to amaze me the number of people who sign on to a business that looks ideal on paper, but in all actuality is not very interesting to them. These people grow tired and lose interest quickly because they have no sense of passion or inspiration to keep them motivated especially through the problematic times they face as business owners.
Inspiration is vital to finding and keeping motivation. If your business does not pique your interest, your level of motivation will never achieve the heights you could with a business that inspires you and your interest will fade quickly. Likewise, if your work excites you and leaves you feeling energized, you will work more intensely, persistently, and with greater energy.
If you do not enjoy the work that you do, then you may want to consider refocusing your home business to better suit your needs. You may even decide to alter your whole business plan entirely. This all sounds extreme, but you must understand the importance of inspiration.
3. Setting Goals
It is impossible to find motivation if you are not sure of the direction in which you want to take your business. Both long and short-term goals are important to the success of any business. If you do not adequately set goals, you risk going astray without a set course to follow.
Take the time to put pen to paper and get your business goals in writing. A business plan does sound a bit intimidating, but actually, it is simply a budget along with goals, implementation, and strategies. It is best to write your business plan yourself and revise it at least once a year.
Be sure to incorporate all of your ‘mini-goals that you can get done in no more than a few hours, a couple of days, or weeks as well as your more motivated goals that may take as long as a few years to reach. Remember to reference your business plan several times throughout the year.
A business plan will definitely help to keep you motivated. By putting your goals in writing, you will feel more connected to your organization as well as more professional in your field. Also, you will not be forced to create new business goals every day.
4. Start Networking
Networking with other business owners is a great way to keep you motivated in your home business. Working alone in isolation is one of the hardest parts of running your own home business.
It is more motivational to have mutual support among your peers. Owning your own business is easier when you connect with other business owners in your area or online. Even when you connect with someone whose business is unrelated to your own, most often you can find common ground and work together.
According to quite a few business owners, finding the ideal network can be the turning point in the growth of your business. When you work together with other business owners, your network can help one another generate leads and solve problems more quickly and efficiently. You can share experience, expertise, and ideas with your like-minded business partners.
5. Start Rewarding Yourself
You will quickly discover that as the owner of your own business you will have to work rather hard. However, you must recognize what a major mistake all work and no play would be. Soon, you will begin to lose motivation if you fail to take time away from the hustle and bustle of owning your own business.
Plan to reward yourself frequently. You do not have to go all out on a vacation in a foreign country. You can reward yourself with a simple lunch with friends, a movie with your better half, an afternoon at the mall or just taking time for yourself.
When your time and budget allow it, take of couple days off from your work and take a short trip or just some vacation time off work. You can have a real vacation, even without leaving town. Simply do not check your email, faxes, or voice mail.
You must take the time to rejuvenate your mind and unwind. This time off will improve your perspective on things as well as your overall attitude. When you return to work, you will be filled with a new sense of motivation.
6. Stay in Shape
It has been proven that there is a strong connection between the body and the mind. It is critical that as a business owner you take adequate breaks every day to exercise. If you do not take care of your body, you are certain to lose motivation.
You do not have to take huge blocks of your time, join an overpriced gym, or hire an even more expensive personal trainer. You can begin easily with a brisk walk for about half an hour before work, during your lunch break, or after work. Once you make a habit of walking every day, try – 10 – increasing the length of your walking time or incorporating two walks into each day.
It may take some time for you to figure out what works best for you personally, but you must get started right away. Once you begin, you will feel better almost instantly.
You may also want to try keeping weights at your desk, so you can work out a few minutes at a time during the day.
7. Start Getting Organized
Critical to keeping you motivated is organization. It is impossible to feel motivated about the work that you do if you are constantly searching for lost paperwork or running late on responding to messages from clients and other business associates. Without sufficient organization, you will lose motivation and your business will pay the price.
For some people, getting organized is a difficult task. If you are one of these people, then there is no shame in recruiting help. You could ask a friend or relative to help or hire a professional to come in to clean up your mess and eliminate clutter.
It is amazing how important this single step of getting back on track really is to your home business. Keep the ball rolling by implementing business systems that will effectively assist you in streamlining your operations.
Your greatest challenge will be staying on track and maintaining the systems that you put in place. For several business owners, this is a challenge that they must face daily; however, if you use these systems effectively, you will be able to take more time to focus on other important issues regarding your home business.
When you are inspired and motivated by the work that you do, you become that much more interested in doing the job well. Interest is key when you work in the home workers industry. More important may be finding the perfect balance between the work that interests you so, the home and family that you love and must care for, as well as time for yourself.
Realistic setting goals will give you something to strive to accomplish. This will provide you with the motivation that you need to get the ball rolling, interest to keep up the good work, and balance to make sure that everything that should get done is getting done.
Also, when you have goals to keep you on track, you are less likely to be stricken with laziness and procrastination. Goal-setting is the number one way to get more done.
There is a time for work and a time for play; it is your responsibility to manage your time for both effectively. It is important to have time for yourself to rejuvenate all of the energy that is lost while you are working hard to reach your goals.
When you determine a set business time and stick to it, you will begin to see the results almost immediately.