In today’s fast-paced environment, it’s easy to forget things that we believe we just HAVE to accomplish. To keep your sanity and your schedule in check, here are a few tips on how to manage your daily activities more effectively:
Make a list. At the beginning of the week, make a list of everything that you need to accomplish that week. Then, prioritize the list to ensure that you are able to accomplish those things that are of a more urgent nature vs. those that seem to constantly loom over you.
Delegate responsibilities. If you feel like you have too many things to do, and you see items on your list that you can delegate to your spouse or kids, such as grocery shopping, cleaning, feeding the dog, etc, do it! You will feel the weight of that responsibility lift as you give it to someone else in your household to take care of!
Check back. At the end of each day, check your list for that day to see what you have accomplished. If you did not get everything finished that you intended to finish, then move those items to the next day.
Keep your list either electronically or in a small notebook. Whichever way is most comfortable for you-this will help you keep track of all that needs to be done, and if you use a small notebook, you can take the notebook with you wherever you go in case there are items that need to be added to or deleted from the list. Both ways will also help you track your progress in getting tasks accomplished.
Family first, then others. It’s easy to look at a pile of laundry and the eyes of your 2 year old and truly believe you need to flip a coin to see which one is the most important investment of your time at that moment. Spend it with your 2 year old. Laundry can be done during nap time, lunch time, or after your child goes to bed in the evening. Your 2 year old is only 2 right now…and you will miss out on the wonder of that age if you don’t spend that time with your family.
Running errands. Try to organize the “pockets” in your day such that you are able to run errands all at the same time. For example, if you know that your new dryer will be delivered this afternoon, and you were not given anything more specific than “between 12pm and 5pm” to work with, run your errands in the morning. You will also want to make sure that you run them in order of proximity to each other and to your house. This will cut down on time running back and forth across town or across the community in which you live. When you return home and are waiting for your delivery, you can work on cleaning the house or playing outside with your kids.
Work vs. personal life. It can be extremely difficult to put your personal life first if you have a demanding job. Some of the same practices can be put in place involving your work life. Prioritize your projects at work, reevaluate your progress, and ensure you utilize your “best” time for your most difficult tasks. This will help ensure you accomplish all you need to in your 8 hour day, and enable you to leave on time to enjoy your evening.
Early Bird vs. Night Owl. If you are an “Early Bird”, you will want to get up early and get some of the most difficult tasks accomplished right away. This will help you make the most of your day, as you can take care of less stressful or difficult tasks later in the day. Conversely, if you are a Night Owl, take on less complicated tasks earlier in the day, and reserve your focused energy for later, when you are more alert, focused, and ready to get going mentally.
Implementing just a few of these ideas will help you begin to manage your time more effectively, and will help you complete key tasks each day in an efficient way.
Combining a Home Business and a Family
One of the biggest mistakes home business owners make is not taking their family into consideration before they start up. This often causes a lot of problems. After all, your place of business is their home. With a little planning, flexibility and setting up some guidelines first, you can have both a successful home business and a happy family.
So the first thing you need to do when getting ready to start a home business is to discuss it with your family. Talk about everything from how they feel about your starting a home business to actual business hours to when household chores are to be done. It’s hard to talk to customers and sound professional with the dishwasher running in the background. Also, be sure to set guidelines for when friends can visit.
Be realistic in your home business work hours and routine. When working from home, a nine-to-five schedule usually isn’t realistic. Face that you will have interruptions and plan for them. For instance, you may find some tasks might be better performed in the early morning or evening hours when you can count on having time when your spouse and children are asleep. Scheduling this way can save you a lot of frustration.
Make sure your home business has a kid-free workspace. This guarantees you’ll have some privacy. Setting up the space and making it off-limits as soon as possible ensures better cooperation from your children. Draw your line in the sand on this, and make sure your children know and understand the rules.
Settle any child care issues so you can devote quality time to your home business. Just because you work at home doesn’t mean you won’t need child care, especially if you have small children. If your spouse isn’t available to help, you’ll need to make some sort of arrangements with someone to care for your children if your home business requires face-to-face client meetings or other business related duties that force you to be away from your home office.
Don’t leave your family completely out of your home business. Children, especially little ones, like to feel they’re part of things-and your home business won’t be any different. Be creative and find small tasks they can do to make them feel involved and helpful. Everyone will be much happier-and ultimately, you’ll be more productive.