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Are You Spending Time The Way You Want?

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I just came across this post I wrote a few years ago when I was living in Greece. It still seems relevant so I’m re-posting it here as much as a reminder to myself as to be of use to anyone else, ha!

I’m not sure about the rest of Greece, but in Rhodes people are an entrepreneurial bunch. Many of them are business owners who run their own bars, shops and restaurants with family.  I was walking home a few evenings ago and I saw one shop owner sitting outside in the warm weather facing the shop. She could see what was going on and was on-hand to help customers if they needed her.  However, she was also able to sit outside with her granddaughter on her knee, reading a story to her.

It made me think how these Rhodesians have got things right.  They can be their own boss and are able to spend time with the people who matter most. It’s very sociable as business owners pop next door to chat with their neighbour or have family stopping by to visit them.

I know a lot of you started your baby business so you could have more time with your family.  However I also know that some of you aren’t getting the chance to do this as much as you’d hoped.  Could this be a good time to sit back and look at where you are now and where you envisaged yourself being?  If it’s not one and the same, what changes could you make to allow this to happen? If you don’t have a family, what are the hobbies or activities you’d like to have more time to do?

Top tips:

  • Take time to document how you spend your time. Google ‘time-management’ and I’m sure there will be lots of templates you can use to record where your time is going. Otherwise just record in 15 or 30 minute segments for at least one whole day what you spend your time on. [2016 update: there are loads of phone/computer apps you can use]
  • Take an honest look at where your time is going and see where you could make changes.
  • Is mindless social media eating away at your time (if it’s focused and brand building that’s not mindless..)?
  • Are you spending ages on admin tasks that you could outsource to someone else who could do them quicker than you, thus costing you less to pay someone else to do it?
  • Are you constantly multitasking, resulting in lots of jobs on the go, but nothing getting finished?
  • Tasks take less time if they are batched together eg deal with all your emails in one go, make all your telephone calls in one block, write your newsletters and twitter updates in one session.  When you switch from task to task the brain takes a while to focus on that activity so do similar activities whilst you are ‘in the swing’.
  • Would you get more done if you could arrange childcare for a few hours one morning to blaze through tasks? Would this allow you more quality time in the end to spend with your family? Maybe you could arrange childcare with a couple of others in the same position and each take the children one morning per week
  • Tasks tend to fill the time you give them. If you give yourself two days to write a press release, it will take you two days to do it. If you end up with only two hours to complete it before you need to send it off, it will get done in two hours.
  •  Get help.  Would having a cleaner or outsourcing your ironing help?
  • Plan ahead. Decide what you are doing the next day by writing a list the night before so you can hit the ground running.

Plan out time in the diary for family activities, fitness or whatever else it is you want to do.  Be strict with yourself (and others) about keeping this time free for these things.  If you know that you only have a set amount of time to get things done, you will be more focused on getting them finished.

Let me know how you get on!

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