Monday, 17 December 2012 14:58

Happy Holidays! But Who Has The Time?

“I know I need to do that but when can I find the time?” That is the mantra I keep hearing from the small business owners I run into. Does it sound familiar? I have even said it on occasion. I am finding time for the things I know I need to do, to be shorter and shorter in comparison with the day-to-day fires that have to be put out. So how do we do it? Business development, sales, product/service delivery, billing...the list goes on and on. And now the holidays are upon us! How can we keep up with it all? Well, here are a few simple tips that can help:

  1. Don’t try to “eat all of the elephant” in one seating. There is the old riddle: How do you eat an elephant? The answer is: One bite at a time. Often times we forget the “one bite at a time” and keep staring at our elephant. This seemingly insurmountable task paralyzes us, preventing any constructing action. If we look at the mountain of work in front of us, and break it down into manageable pieces, we are more apt to take action one piece at a time.
  2. Write it down. I started making lists of what I had to do when I was in Jr. High. (Middle School for you youngsters.) I was the stage manager for all of the school’s theatrical performances, I played the flute in the band and of course, I had the dreaded homework assignments. So, I wrote down what I had to do and when it had to be done. That habit has stuck with me.
  3. Use a solid calendar system. I get ribbed by my friends and family because I rarely leave the house without my Franklin Planner ®. I rank the items in order of importance and move an item to the next day when I don’t get it done. I write down my annual goals, break them down into quarterly, monthly, and weekly goals to ensure I get them done. I include any employee performance review dates or staff meetings so I don’t miss them and have adequate prep time. I color code my calendar to identify the type of appointment I have or if the item is personal or professional. For you technologically gifted folks, you can do all of this electronically. I have found the “old fashioned paper method” works best for me.
  4. Re-evaluate priorities. I have to constantly re-evaluate my goals and my task lists to ensure I am keeping up with what needs to happen to make my business succeed. Sometimes I have to move a task to the next week or even next month if I am waiting for someone else. Do what makes sense for you and your business.
  5. Don’t forget personal time. All of us have families and friends that we actually want to spend time with. Don’t forget to put that time in your schedule as well. Putting time in for exercising, cleaning, laundry, dog walking, etc. is important too, especially when you are busy. The holidays add an extra challenge when it comes to running a business and trying to retain some sense of a schedule. Don’t forget to put those extra holiday tasks in your calendar this month.

There is a lot to do when you work and have a life! Regardless of how you keep track of the tasks you have to accomplish, don’t let the elephant take away your sense of humor or your ability to be spontaneous! That is what keeps us who we are.

Happy Holidays!