6-Tips on How to Find Time to Work on Your Business
Updated: Jun 29, 2020
So if this article headline has grabbed your attention, I’m guessing you are wondering how to start, build and grow an online business with young kiddos at home.
As an outsider, it can seem a little daunting or even impossible, but as I talk from experience it most certainly CAN be done.
I chose to write on this topic, as I can't even count the number of times friends and family have asked how I find time to run a successful business AND raise Aria. They always want to know my "top secret" or magic formula. But let's be honest, it takes a lot more than just wishing or hoping and more actual planning!
In order for me to run my local business, Lunch Jars, grow my personal brand, keep up with a Facebook group, take care of my little girl full-time AND try to be a good wife to my husband... it takes strategy and a lot of planning.
But if I had to pick ONE thing that that helps me most, it's sitting down every week to plan and schedule in time to work on my business. You know the old saying...“fail to plan, plan to fail”. It really does ring true when applying to your business.
So what are my tips for finding and creating the time to work on my business and be a good mum to my daughter?
Let’s go through them now...
Top Tip 1: Work Early Mornings and/or Late Nights
“The early bird catches the worm” and “working the graveyard shift”. By now you may have realised I love a good pun or saying.
But honestly, my business has been built in the wee hours of the morning and during late evenings when my everyone else is in bed sleeping.
I find it frustrating at times when I hear of mums who want to start a business but use the excuse of “I don’t have enough time”. As harsh as this might sound, if you want something bad enough you WILL find the time for it. If you're questioning whether or not you 'can find the time' you have to be honest and ask yourself... “how badly do you want it?”.
For example, a couple of weeks after Aria was born, due to some very tough feeding sessions, I made the hard and emotional decision to stop breastfeeding Aria directly and instead took to pumping. I did this until Aria was 8 months old... If any of you mamas have done or tried pumping for this long you will understand how hard it is.
And because I was having to get up every couple of hours to pump, instead of sitting in the dark at 11:00 pm, 1:00 am, 3:00 am watching mindless T.V. or Netflix instead, I got myself a hands-free bra for my pump, got out my laptop and used my 30 minutes of pumping time to work on my business.
I did this for 8 months mama…. 8 FRIGGEN MONTHS!!!!!
So if anyone comes to me with the excuse that they don’t have enough time to work on their business, I hit them with this story and soon they realise that it can be done.
Here's the thing, it doesn't even have to be this extreme. If you get up 1-2 hours before bubs and work on your business 2-3 hours in the evening. That is a tone of built-up hours, even if you are working a full-time job.
Let me give you an example: If your baby wakes up at 7:30 am every-day and this is also when you get ready for work (if you still work a 9-5) then you could wake up at let’s say 5:30 am in the morning and have 2 solid hours every day to work on your business.
Do this 5 days a week and that’s a total of 10 hours per week. Oh, and this doesn't include the extra time you could spend on your business in the evenings or weekends.
Top Tip 2: Work the “Naptime Hustle”
Okay, next is working the naptime hustle. Similar to working the early mornings and evenings, the naptime hustle is working during the day when your baby naps.
Depending on your baby’s sleep schedule, you could also find a few hours per day to work on your business.
At the moment Aria sleeps mid-day for around 1.5 to 2 hours. I get so much work done during this time. I just pop the monitor beside my laptop so I can keep a close eye on her.
Now, I understand that you don’t want to work every single minute that your baby is asleep. Don’t get me wrong I’ve been known to have a nap or two myself, but if you’re looking for some extra time, this is also a great way to work on your business and get tasks done.
Top Tip 3: Ask Your Spouse to Take Over.
Another way to find time to work on your business is by getting your husband or spouse to take over. In our house, I like to call this the daddy-take-over.
For me, this can’t happen during the week, because my husband works a full-time 9-5 job but once a month or so on a Saturday or Sunday I’ll get hubby to look after Aria so I can get some work done.
Now, this doesn’t always include purely working on my business, sometimes it means that I can get the ironing done or tidy up the house so that it can free up more time during the week to work on my business.
My husband actually looks forward to his daddy-daughter time. He sometimes takes her to visit my father-in-law and I believe it's important for their relationship. Don’t get me wrong sometimes I feel the mum guilt when they go off together, but I just remind myself that it’s good for both of them.
Top Tip 4: Head Out of the House
My next tip is getting out of the house and working in a different environment. Now at the moment with social distancing, this is a little more difficult and you might have to get creative. But sometimes heading out of the home to do your work can be helpful to get more done in the timeframe you have.
Sometimes when you are working at home with the littles you can get easily distracted and lose your train of thought. But when you’re out of the house with-out any distractions, you have that solid time to just concentrate on what you are doing and get it done in a shorter amount of time.
The places you could use to work are your local library, a quiet cafe or even a co-working space. The trick is to make sure that you have notifications turned off (I like to put my phone on silent and do-not-disturb and turn off my email notifications on my laptop) so there are no distractions.
Top Tip 5: Get Help!
This is the one that most of us mamas struggle with the most… getting help! We have this really weird thing where we struggle to ask for help. We usually get to the “I’m desperate” level before we ever ask for it (I know this from experience). But asking for help is one, if not the best advice in this article.
Getting help can look like a few different things. It could be again, asking for your husband to mind the kids for a little while you get some work done. It could be asking a friend or family member to watch the kids at either your place or send them off to theirs.
It could mean getting help with other things, like help with cleaning the house, getting someone to cook up food for you, someone to do your laundry or a babysitter to look after the kids.
Getting help could also mean hiring help in your business too. If you find the value in freeing up your hours so that you can spend more time working on your client work, then heck yeah, why not outsource that too?
My mum is always helping me with Aria. I believe it’s one, if not the only way I’ve been able to run a successful business and be a full-time mum to Aria. She usually gives me a full day off on Thursday where she looks after Aria so I can come back home, clean the house in the morning and then work on my business during the afternoon.
It’s the reason I’m able to go LIVE inside our community Facebook group every week. Thanks MUM!!!!
Top Tip 6: Create a Plan
Now my final tip for today is to create a plan… Yep. this is a big one.
Now although the tips I shared today are pretty much covered under the title of creating a plan, I wanted to give you some tangible tips on how to effectively create a plan that you can use as a guide, to help you find time to work on your business.
As an example, every week on a Sunday evening I get out my planner. I use an online management and task tool called Trello - if you haven’t heard of Trello, please do yourself a favour and check it out. It is life-changing…
Anyway... so what I do is I open up My Weekly Planner Trello board and I sit down and map out and schedule the week ahead. I add in special appointments, to-dos and tasks I need to get done for the week. I have a saying, “if It’s not in Trello, it doesn’t exist”.
So when it comes to filling my planner, the “go-to” method I use is the Rocks, Pebbles, Sand method. Have you heard of it?
Let me tell you a story...
There was a philosophy professor who was giving a lecture. In front of him, he had a big glass jar. He started off by filling up the jar with the big rocks and when they reached the rim of the jar he held it up to the students and asked them if the jar was full. They all agreed, there was no more room to put the rocks in, it was full.
Is it full?
He then picked up a tub of small pebbles and poured these in the jar so that they filled the space around the big rocks. “Is the jar full now?” he asked. The group of students all looked at each other and agreed that the jar was now completely full.
Is it really full?
The professor then picked up another container, this time it had sand in it. He poured the sand in between the pebbles and the rocks and once again he held up the jar to his class and asked if it was full. Once again the students agreed that the jar was full.
“Are you sure it’s full?” he asked. He finally picked up a bottle of water and tipped the water into the jar until it filled up all the remaining space. The students laughed.
The jar represents your life.
The rocks are the important things that have real value – your family, your partner, your health, your children – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
The pebbles are the other things that matter – like your job, house, car, clothes and so forth.
The sand is everything else – the small stuff.
If you fill the jar up first with the sand, you won’t have space for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to you.
So when you are thinking about creating your weekly schedule, think of his story and map out what are your Rocks, what are your Pebbles and what is the sand?
Okay so there you are, my 6 top tips to help you find time to work on your business, even if you “think” you don’t have enough time.
I really do hope that this list helps you find some extra time to work on your business.
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