When I’m introduced at speaking events it usually includes something about how I run two businesses, write my books and look after two teenagers. It sounds a lot but here’s how I do it and how you can manage more too.
First, I try to limit my work to 25 hours per week to ensure that I have time for me and my teens. If I do something personal during the working day then I may choose to work an evening to compensate or I may accept that these is a quieter business week to make up for the weeks that are busier.
Pre covid I would try to book a holiday once a quarter. I think most of us have fallen into bad habits through lockdowns so do book your time off even if it’s just to pamper yourself at home rather than to go away. Rest is important to keep performing at our best.
I love everything that I do so no single part of it seems too onerous. I do find deadlines can be stressful so it is important for me to stay ahead of those by preparing early.
My life involves quite a bit of juggling so my diary is essential for my sanity. I have a default diary which schedules each morning to focus on a different aspect of my business. I split my main to do list between each of those 5 areas. The afternoons are kept free for meetings. If I have a speaking event that means that I can’t do one of my morning sessions then I move the appointment to another time.
On Fridays I double check my diary for the next week and move items from my to do list into an allocated morning slot. My diary is usually pretty fully booked for two weeks ahead and probably half booked for the two weeks beyond that.
I’ve written elsewhere about the benefits of systemising, automating and delegating but please feel free to share your top tips too.
As I write this I’m halfway through a two day coaching course which is really making me focus. I did my first coaching qualification about 10 years ago but never really used it until I set up Hudson Business Advice four years ago to coach accountants, bookkeepers and other business owners. In that ten year period I’ve forgotten a lot of what I already learned as well as picking up some sloppy habits.
I’m always very diligent about keeping my accountancy and tax knowledge up to date as that is a requirement of remaining a member of ICAEW. I also spend a lot of time perfecting my speaking as that is a newer skill for me and there’s plenty of room for improvement. I also go on business courses and read a lot around the subject so that I can improve my own business and also add expertise to my experience when helping other business owners.
I believe in continuous improvement of myself, my business, and the services that I offer. How much time and money do you invest in yourself?
It can be lonely running your own business.
You are expected to present a positive (but not dishonest) image to your clients, prospects, and even to your team. It is important that everybody feels confident in you and the business prospects.
But what is the private truth behind the public image?
It may be serious mental health issues but, more commonly, it could be the 80 hour week that you’re working just to break even. The award you’ve just won could be your “reward” for never getting home for bedtime with your kids. The constant anxiety about whether there will be enough cash to pay the team and your own mortgage.
As a fellow business owner I really get this.
It’s why I write my books, and these tips, and the regular webinars for those who can’t afford our group or individual coaching. Obviously investing in the latter will help you to make any necessary changes faster and more effectively but I appreciate that they may not suit your budget right now so help yourself to the cheap and free stuff until you’re ready to invest in yourself.
For now I just want you to know that you’re not alone. We all have a pile of laundry to do, an overflowing inbox and an interminable to do list. That’s just the reality of life as an entrepreneur.
Don’t beat yourself up for being normal. Enjoy the highlights and work your way through the rest making one tiny improvement to your business each week.