Being an entrepreneur and a working mum are two full time jobs in themselves, so how can we better manage our time and succeed at both?!
Ten years ago, I launched my wedding and event business, I am married with a seven-year-old son, and here are my top tips on effectively managing your time:
ALWAYS have a ‘to do list’
Let’s face it, as entrepreneurs, our minds are always buzzing – new ideas, things to be done, objectives…and couple that with carrying out your Mum duties, it can be overwhelming trying to remember it all.
Don’t despair. Write EVERYTHING down!
I know it’s a cliché, but writing everything down allows your mind to relax and you can focus better on the task in hand. I love a handwritten list and it’s assessed daily – it’s my beginning of the day and end of the day ritual and it’s very calming – and I love nothing better than ticking off a task!
Put your phone down out of hours
Your time is valuable, don’t waste it.
I was obsessed with my phone and checked e-mails and social media constantly. Last year, I had a reality check and turned my phone to ‘do not disturb’ between 7pm and 7am, and I don’t look at my phone during these hours.
WOW what a difference it has made. Whilst it took a few weeks of discipline, it’s now a habit that I love and will not be breaking. I’m more relaxed in the evenings, enjoy my ‘time out’ with family and friends, and I’m recharged for the next day ahead.
When the list is long, it’s easy to procrastinate! This is a definite weakness of mine, but I get over it by having ‘power hours’. Write a realistic task list for an hour of time, include a couple of jobs that are draining you and you’re avoiding, turn your phone, e-mails and social media off and crack on.
At the end of the hour have a 15 minute catch up on calls and e-mails and repeat. You’ll be amazed at what you can achieve and it’s enormously satisfying!
Build up your support network
Being an entrepreneur means a busy and creative mind, and means a busy working life as you fulfil your ideals…nursery, pre-school and school hours coupled with school holidays can therefore be daunting.
Remember that you’re not in this alone, prepare for your busy times by planning ahead and work with your partner, family and friends in advance to get help when needed and smooth your work : life balance.
It’s very normal for my working friends and I to look after each other’s children to enable the other to go to work – happy children playing, mum duties ticked, and work duties ticked off the next day when your friend repays the favour!
“If I do it myself, then I know it’s done properly”
“By the time I explain it to somebody else, I might as well have done it myself”
“What kind of wife / mother am I if I don’t clean my own house and keworking mum ep on top of the washing”
Sound familiar? This was me all over, but for you to manage your time effectively you must learn to delegate.
First, get help around the house – taking on a cleaner / ironing service / gardener and having your food shopping delivered will save hours.
Write a list of every task that you carry out within your business, from the large to the small and add the approximate time per week that you dedicate to each task. Go through the list and consider which tasks and the resulting time you could outsource whilst keeping your clients happy. Work out the average number of hours that will save you…ultimately these saved hours will enable you to concentrate on growing your business and spending time with your family.
You don’t have to employ somebody, consider a Virtual Assistant or Freelancer. Write procedures, train them fully and develop ways to keep in touch and manage their workload. You’ll never look back!
Being a working mum and an entrepreneur are, in my opinion, the hardest things to do and be – and to effectively manage your time it’s critical to be organised, set your routine, get a support network in place and be realistic.
Work hard, work smart, and you’ll reap the benefits.
About the author
Natalie Lovett is director of The Whitewed Directory. Natalie is a highly experienced and professional wedding, event and party planner, designer and stylist.
As a wedding planner, Natalie also founded and runs Love to Plan Ltd.