Time Management: Is This Your Downfall?

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work-listAnyone who runs their own business, whether it is full time or part time, knows that there is NOT enough time in the day – or night – to get things done.

For those of us who work on our businesses full time, we have a long list of things to do and never enough time to complete them.

If you’re in the frazzled position of working full time and then coming home to run your blog (that’s how I started), you understand more than most about the magical things-to-do list.

The magical things-to-do list is the one we all have, which expands all by itself. When we sit down and cross off one thing from the top, the bottom unravels and another four things find their way on to it. At best, this means we’re always busy and never bored. At worst, it means we are creeping towards the edge of burn-out as we try and juggle everything that needs to be done.

I could sit here now and tell you the usual advice about writing great lists, prioritizing and then working out what you need to do most urgently.

I know you’ve heard all that a hundred times before, and all it would serve to do is give you yet another task to do.

Working from home – all it’s cracked up to be?

Let’s face it, when we worked for corporate companies, we all dreamed of being our own boss.

Picture the amazing scene; you wake up late, having had a lovely refreshing sleep. You stretch, saunter downstairs to your ‘office’ and nonchalantly switch your laptop on, before heading up for a luxurious bath. You cast your eye over your emails, decide to deal with them tomorrow, and then shoot off to take the dog for a stroll, be first in line at the sales in the shops, and make it back in time to chuck some laundry in the machine before your partner gets back from their nine to five.

Ha! Funny, right? Here’s the real deal…

You wake up at the crack of dawn, because working from home brings its own responsibilities such as housework and laundry which need to be done before you get down to the ‘real’ stuff. You then rush to get showered and dressed before your first teleconference. You work all morning, promising yourself a coffee as a treat at 11 if you manage to cross of six things from your infernal list.

You work through lunch, because lunch breaks are now a thing of the past. You call your accountant and panic a bit about funds. You then graft until it’s time to cook dinner for your hardworking partner who has had to go out all day, and then hit the laptop again until the small hours, because if your business fails THERE’S NO ONE ELSE TO BLAME!

Hmmm. Does this seem familiar?

Here’s the positive side.

You work for yourself, now.

Which means you don’t clash with colleagues, as you can walk away from them if you like. You can take a holiday (if you dare!) whenever you like. You can stay at home with the dog. You don’t have to drink corporate coffee any more. You can feel proud of your business, as it’s your baby and you made it all by yourself. You can write off your travel expenses against tax. Best of all, you know that every penny that comes in, however large or small the amount, has been earned because you really, and I mean REALLY earned it.

If you get despondent sometimes about the amount you have to do, the only advice I can offer is to remember who you are doing it for…yourself. And your customers. That should be enough to get you to haul yourself out of bed for another eighteen-hour day.

Remember you’re not alone, and millions of entrepreneurs all over the globe are stressing with you right now…for what it’s worth!

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21 Responses to Time Management: Is This Your Downfall?

  1. Rick Byrd October 4, 2010 at 6:59 pm #

    Andrew:

    Great post! I really enjoyed reading it.

    I am one of those that works full-time and building my online business mostly during lunch and the evening hours after the kids are in bed. Time management is something that I definitely struggle with. Both of my kids are involved in sports and we are on the go most every evening. But I know that I want to build my online business so I can quit my full-time job and work from home so I can spend more time with my family.

    Another thing I see people commenting about when working at home is sometimes the lack of motivation. When you work a full-time job you have to meet certain goals or you can get fired. People definitely need to work their online business the same way they would have worked their full-time job until they are successful enough to hire other to do the work for them.

    – Rick
    Rick Byrd recently posted..Bloglines is shutting down but Google Reader is GrowingMy Profile

    • Andrew
      Twitter:
      October 5, 2010 at 1:36 pm #

      Hi Rick,

      Nice to see you here.

      Where you are today is exactly where I was 4 years ago.

      Working long hours full-time for someone else…working on my own business in my spare time…and being a taxi for my kids…as well as many other tasks!

      Small steps…small achievements…is what kept me going.

      Andrew
      Andrew recently posted..Blogging Can Be Lonely- Can’t ItMy Profile

  2. Tia Peterson October 5, 2010 at 3:36 am #

    Hi Andrew,

    I get this, 100%!! Not only do I work for myself from home, I also have a very, very active 2 1/2 year old (almost three) who stays home with me too!! And I’m a single mom. It doesn’t get much busier than this.

    Time management is essential! Lists would/can help, but if anyone reading this is like me, and it’s hard to keep lists, the best advice I could give is to create systems that you can commit to memory, and create alerts (email, text, etc) that help keep you on track.

    You’re so very right about the benefits. Funny how even if you make a smaller amount, you can make it work, and it does feel that much better knowing that you earned it all yourself.

    The only other thing I would add for people is not to be too hard on yourself. There’s only so much we can do in any given day. Just keep working hard until you make enough money to hire someone to keep you on track! LOL

    Tia
    Tia Peterson recently posted..18 Ways to Deal With Your MistakesMy Profile

  3. Patricia October 5, 2010 at 3:48 am #

    You are so right Andrew. I work many more hours blogging and it isn’t even monetized yet! Once I have my shopfront up and do all the other things I plan to do with my products I am still figuring how I will even have time to sleep lol
    However, cos I’m doing what I am passionate about so it doesn’t feel like work. I’m having too much fun to worry about the hours although my family and friends don’t quite get all the time I’m spending on my laptop.
    Patricia Perth Australia
    Patricia recently posted..Growing Lavenders-Your Favourite Gardening ToolMy Profile

  4. Penelope October 5, 2010 at 9:59 am #

    Very true indeed! Work just makes me want to work more for I always feel that a day of work is not enough. Too many things I want to do and yet I can’t finish them in that same day. Whew! I feel inadequate many times. But then thanks for the post. It gives me an insight that it is not only I who experienced these things but there are many. Thanks also for the advice. 🙂

  5. Peter J October 5, 2010 at 5:41 am #

    The horrible part is that everything you have said is true. Most people are stuck in the 9 to 5 situation, and its not easy to get out of. Just manage your time though, become your own boss and live a better life 😉
    Peter J recently posted..A million times trying – we still don’t get community rightMy Profile

  6. pete October 6, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    Time management is cool ONLY if you provide yourself with time to rest. It’s definitely not about increasing effectiveness of all your 24/7.

  7. Sylvia October 6, 2010 at 3:02 pm #

    Ha!
    It’s all true. Had my business at home until I decided that the only way to get it moving forward was to move into a store front location.
    Best thing ever! There were way too many distractions at home. (Turtles, garden, laundry, snacks, etc, etc.)
    Now I work like a crazy person for little money, but I AM HAPPY doing it.
    My 6th anniversary in that place is coming up soon-so I guess you could say it’s been a success.

  8. Jason October 7, 2010 at 2:30 pm #

    as a homebased SEO, I do get a lot of benefits just by working at home.

    1. no office politics
    2. no deadlines
    3. no need for long commutes
    4. no need to spend expensive meals outside the house
    5. of course i can do pretty much anything i want with my own time

    but I do encounter many problems with this kind of work environment, and I can say that it’s not that easy as what others think about it. It takes a lot of dedication to really make things work and to stick with your real priorities.

    Regards,
    Jason

  9. Alan Mater October 8, 2010 at 6:22 pm #

    Hey Andrew,

    Yes, time management is definitely my downfall. There’s so much to do and so little time as it is. If only I was motivated 24/7 to work, work, work. It’s more like play, work, play for me. 😉
    Alan Mater recently posted..It’s All About Traffic and Knowing How to Get It!My Profile

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