Recently, I needed to do an emergency file back-up before one of my hard drives crashed. I had a lot of time to think about where I'm at while waiting for the files to be transferred. In fact, I wound up with a lot of time between file transfers. The conclusion: I haven't been managing my time very well. In Twitter speak, that would be: #entrepreneurshipfail .As much as it pains me to admit it, I hadn't cleaned my laundry room in years. It was cathartic to clear out garbage and reorganize the room so that it actually worked. That weekend, three closets and my bedroom received the same treatment. How did things get so bad? The way I see it, I put a higher priority on running my business than caring for my home. More specifically, I spent more time on the "fun", "cool" aspects of being your own boss. That meant that I have been binging on fun times, without any real sense of balance.
After reading through How to Beat the Self-Employment Blues, I was able to put labels to what I've been doing: freedom overdose and overwork. My workdays and weeks have been stretched out, simply because I could. Just like the author of the article said, “Wow, I can go to Starbucks anytime I want”. I can log into Facebook anytime I want, because I can (well, except when I'm teaching).
There has been no real sense of urgency. No limitations. In short, I made my workdays longer than they needed to be - because I could.
I shudder to think about how much time I have wasted.
While forcing myself to declutter my home, I accepted that the status quo must end. Now. In addition to running my music studio, I am marketing a new practice aid called Maestro's Music Tricks. I'm also picking up more presentation gigs, helping not-so-tech-savvy music teachers incorporate technology into their lessons and studio operations. More work means I need to be very careful with my time and energy.
And hey, I want a normal social life too.
In order to have all that, this cycle of freedom overdose and overwork needs to stop. So, what's the answer? I only have to look at my students and recall my school days for the answer: I need a timetable. Not just any, because I've had several in the past. I need one that works.
I haven't figured it all out yet, but I can share with you what I've learned so far with regards to managing my time:
- Keep your daily To Do List managable
- Structure your day in a way that works with your body clock
- Turn off all mobile devices when winding down for the night.
- Use a countdown timer
- Stop procrastinating
Fellow entrepreneurs, do you have any suggestions on how to effectively manage your time and keep a healthy work-life balance? Inquiring minds want to know.