Time management can be the single biggest challenge to working from home and being a successful entrepreneur. Learning to overcome these obstacles can be the key to managing and leading a successful business.
What are time management obstacles and what causes them? Many things cause time management obstacles including:
1. Perfectionism – Many people use perfectionism as a crutch; a way to stay busy doing what they know how to do and to let the rest slide. For example, you’re a skilled writer but detest accounting, which means you spend days on a sales letter and your books are so messed up you don’t know who owes you what or how much money you’re making or losing.
2. Procrastination – This happens for a number of reasons. If you’re facing burnout, then you’ll likely feel like avoiding anything related to your business. However, if you’re facing a task you don’t want to do it’s much easier to procrastinate.
3. An inability to say no – Guess what; not only should you not be doing everything – you can’t! And if you try to, something’s going to give. You’re not going to be able to devote your full attention to your business-related tasks, they’ll suffer and your bottom line will suffer.
4. Lack of planning – It’s easy to become caught up in tasks like
* Social networking
* Phone calls
* Checking stats and website analytics (This is important but you don’t need to obsessively watch the numbers)
* Surfing the net, reading blogs and industry information
One quick email check can turn into a full hour of back and forth email correspondence and before you know it, your entire schedule is off for the day. Planning, and sticking to your plan, helps you stay on track.
To overcome time management obstacles, consider these four steps:
#1 – What’s stopping you?
Look at what’s holding you up. Is it procrastination? Perfection? A lack of planning? What’s getting in your way?
#2 – Prioritize and set goals
Prioritizing and goal setting are two very important components of time management. Goal setting is easiest to accomplish when you set a goal that is attainable and measurable and when you break it down into smaller manageable goals.
Creating a task list is another item that, as strange as it may sound, needs to become a scheduled part of your day and your week. You’ll want to spend a bit of time prior to Monday morning creating a list of tasks and goals for the upcoming week. Keep in mind that some days may be set aside as planning days, days off or meeting days.
#3 – Schedule your day, week and month
Make sure you have time to accomplish the goals, tasks and priorities you’ve established. Set aside the time you need by planning your days, weeks, and even your month out.
To make this process easier, and to lighten your load, there are time management tools like a PDA, desktop scheduling software and the good old fashioned paper calendar, which can help you establish and maintain time management success.
#4 – Get help
Finally, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, it may be time to seek outside help. Consider hiring someone to manage the tasks that seem to get in the way. Often these are the administrative tasks. You can outsource them to a virtual assistant to lighten the load. You can also hire a housekeeper if daily chores are a distraction from your business. And don’t forget about technology. Many tasks can be automated.
Overcoming your time management obstacles is easy when you are able to acknowledge what they are and why they exist. From there it’s merely a process of planning how to overcome them and using the right tools to get the job done.