5 Time Management Strategies for the Busy Mamapreneur
Time management and organization go hand-in-hand with running a profitable business. If you cannot manage your time effectively then you cannot be successful. As entrepreneurs, there are all kinds of tasks vying for our attention. We need to be on top of our admin and our finances. We need to create engaging content, get it out into the world (marketing!) and hopefully bring in leads, then once we bring in leads we need to act on those leads and hopefully convert them into paying customers.
If we’re trying to juggle all of these things all of the time, well, things can fall apart very quickly. But if we can sit down and map out the best possible times of the day and the week to complete each of these important tasks, and batch similar tasks together, then we have a shot at running a thriving in business.
Here are 5 time management strategies that I often share with my clients:
It is important to be realistic about what you can and can’t get done in your workday and workweek.
For example, if you work 9am – 3pm (as many mompreneurs do) you have a 6-hour workday. But let’s be honest, is some of that time going to coffee breaks, laundry and meal prep? If so, then you don’t have a 6-hour workday, you have a 4 or 5-hour workday, which means a 16 or 20-hour work-week.
Be realistic about the time you have to actually put into your business, and plan your expectations and tasks accordingly. Consistently scheduling 30 hours of work into a 20 hour week will set you up for failure and frustration.
Focus on Results
If you want to grow your business, make sure you are focusing on what I call R.O.A. – Results-Oriented Activities.
Collaborating with friends and filming YouTube videos might be your buzz, but let’s get real! If these actions are not bringing in more business as a direct result, then they are distracting you from doing exactly that! Make sure you set aside time designed to grow your business, such as marketing initiatives, sales activities (read on!) and prospecting new leads.
Batching is an idea I got from best-selling Author Tim Ferriss, author of the 4-Hour Work Week. It’s simply the idea of grouping similar tasks together, and the world’s most effective leaders and business people know all about this. In fact, notable business and performance coach Todd Herman is known for warning people against the time-sucking nature of “context switching” or switching from task to task. We lose valuable time and focus when we switch from one task to the next, so it is important to batch as much as possible to maximize efficiency.
Sales is a great area to batch tasks. For example, I advise my sales clients to set aside “time to sell” - a chunk of time, a few times per week where they sit down and do sales-related activities, such as adding new leads into their database, making sales calls and sending sales emails (otherwise known as following up), closing sales, processing payments and updating their database.
All of these tasks require having access to a decent database. (You can make a simple database on excel. I give all my clients one that I created and use with much success). So if you’re already going to be in that database, then do all the things related to that database. I would do this 2-3 days a week, 1- 2 hours per session and that’s all I need to do, if I am focused. For me Tuesdays and Thursdays, noon – 2pm is the perfect time for batching my sales tasks.
But the kicker is, during that time, I don’t do anything else except sales! I stay laser-focused on that task.
Similarly, I just decided to make Email Marketing a weekly task. I sit down once a week and add any new people into my mailing list, and then look at creating and scheduling new campaigns as well as viewing my email stats. MailChimp makes it easy for me to quickly see essential stats such as how many people are reading and clicking through my emails, but I can also schedule outgoing emails in advance – a huge time saver! I batch all email marketing-related tasks together and tackle them all at once, and it takes only an hour a week as opposed to several hours once a month, or worse yet, avoiding the task altogether (which is what I had been doing up until last month).
For each task that has to be completed there is an optimum time of day and week for that task.
If you are a morning person, like me, then you’ll want to use the first part of your day for the activities that require the most brain-power and focus. We are freshest in the morning and therefore can take on more challenging tasks such as anything more creative in nature or that requires our full attention.
The middle of the day is a great time for sales activities because you want the person you are reaching out to, to be responsive. That means reaching them at a time of day they are not busy or rushed. I always advise my clients try to do sales-related activities Tuesdays through Thursdays from 11am – 3pm. You’re much more likely to get a favorable response from a busy mom (if that is your target audience) Wednesday at 1pm than you would Monday at 8am.
The end of the day or workweek is best suited to non-essential tasks, such as social media, networking, collaboration. The kind of tasks that are fun to do, but the business could keep running if they didn’t get done that week. Conversely anything essential to running your business should always be scheduled for earlier in your day/ week to ensure its completion.
Write it down
I know I don’t need to tell you that when you write down something, or schedule it, it is much more likely to happen then just thinking “oh, I know I should get to…” I prefer using a combination of big paper desk-planner and my iPhone calendar. Paper is power! It is actually the act of writing down a to-do list item that makes us remember and prioritize it, and studies have shown typing that same task into a phone or computer does not have them same effect.
I also suggest that at the beginning of your workweek, sit down with your planner and review the week ahead. I do this Sunday nights, when life is quiet, because Monday mornings are a madhouse! (Since I get asked this a LOT, my planner of choice is the Live with Purpose Weekly Planner. I chose it because it has big pages and I can see my whole week at a glance. And it is my favorite colour!)
Make sure you are prepared for your tasks and events for the week ahead, and then make sure you have some goals surrounding bigger events. For example, if I am going to speak at an event with 50 people, one of my goals that week might be to grow my email list by encouraging attendees of that event to sign up for my list (and then of course I have to send them some great content!).
Lianne Kim is the founder of Mamas & Co. and Think Big Sales Consulting. If you’d like to receive more tips on Time Management or improving your sales processes, you can sign up for her weekly mailing list here.