By James O'Grady;
Living an entrepreneurial life throws up its fair share of challenges, mostly in the areas of time management and finance so here's a few basic ideas if you're a new entrepreneur within the COD community that might help you fit more into your day.
1) Get a Cleaner
If you're a hard working entrepreneur it makes more sense to spend your time working than doing your chores at home. It's a great feeling to be able to work hard knowing that you don't have to go home and change the bed, clean the toilet or iron your shirts. It's less expensive than you think and even 1 to 2 hours a week will change your life, it will cost less than 1 sale a week.
2) Save Small and Long
Depending on your personality you'll either love saving or hate it, if you're not a natural saver like me, the best advice is to have different accounts for different savings. It's also better to save something small each week for a long period. If Christmas is 4 months away saving ï¿½50 a week gives you ï¿½800 to spend on friends and family, panic saving a few weeks before makes life much harder.
One of my worst habits is getting dragged into conversations and tasks that are not important and don't make a difference to my business. Using the calendar and alarm functions on my phone and laptops keep me on track for my value adding tasks of the day.
4) Good Phone Habits
If you're part of Whatsapp groups that go off all day with non-urgent messages turn the noise and vibration functions of the app off. If you're like me you won't be able to resist the temptation of a phone notification. It's far more efficient to check during your break and catch up with the whole conversation rather than each step of it, if it's urgent people will call.
In a similar vein, don't become a slave to your inbox, email by its nature is a non-urgent form of communication, and again, if it's urgent people will call. If people get used to you being an instant returner of mail and text then it ties you into that behaviour. Collect your mail 2-3 times during the day and certainly don't have your phone on automatic download, hearing mail constantly coming in is distracting from your value adding activities.
Let your voicemail indicate your preferred methods of communication, for example;
"Sorry I'm not available right now, please don't leave a voicemail as I never check them, send a mail or text and I'll get back to you as soon as I can."
7) Social media
What are your go to apps when you're bored, do they add value to your business, make you feel good about yourself, develop or coach your personal skills. Nothing wrong with catching up with Facebook friends once a day if that's what you enjoy but 10-20 times a day?, If you can identify ways of using your travel time properly it leaves more time for the real socialising.
8) Podcasts and E-books
A great example of this is having podcasts, audiobooks and e-books available on your devices to take advantage of that 20 minute train or tram ride home or the early morning trip to the airport. Entrepreneurs have the same 24 hours available to them as everyone else, they just manage to get more done, as well as manage a busy social and personal life.
9) To Do Lists
Everyone has their own way of doing this and there are a million apps out there to help. Personally my method is to have one huge to do list including both personal and business issues and then rewrite a daily list that is full of a mixture of urgent and important value adding activities. It's important not to only be putting out fires but focus on things that only I can do that make a difference. If there are things on my list that are urgent but not dependent on me then I try and delegate, pay, barter and charm my way out of doing them.
10) Scan Apps
There's lots of them but it's an easy way of keeping and recording receipts for expenses, genius scan is the one I use.
11) Social Diary
Entrepreneurs by their nature are social and place huge importance on their friends and family time but being as busy as we are, we need to take as much care of our social diaries as we do of our business ones. I'm careful to plan my social and family engagements in advance and very rarely move or cancel them. The further in advance I plan the easier it is to fit everything in.
12) Under Promise and Over Deliver Personally as well as Professionally
It's a great rule professionally and goes without saying to anyone reading this blog but it's important to follow this rule socially as well. I don't commit to things until I've check my diary, I tell people the latest I can be with them rather than the best case scenario and the latest time I might be home rather than the earliest. Disappointing people is the best way to end up with arguments and bad feeling. The people closest to us know that working hard and building our business is what makes us tick and as long as we make the time we have with them count, everyone is happy.