Logging Off…….You can do it honest!

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I don’t know about you, but when it gets to a certain time of day I seem to struggle to log off, ever since launching my business and I became a small business owner, I constantly feel compelled to stay logged on and producing more work, more Facebook posts, more tweets, more memes, just more in general.

But when is enough really enough? As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I had to get strict with myself purely for my own sanity.  There I was constantly telling you all to free up some time and have quality time with your loved ones or even do your hobby, and there I was still logged on churning out work.

So, when I felt slightly burnt out Mr RAS put his foot down and reminded me that  I started this business to firstly to fit around our small family, followed on by helping fellow business owners take control of their time, and help them with their tasks, and he was right, burning myself out wasn’t helping anyone, least of all myself, as I was creating a monster that was going to implode one day.

So, I sat there and redrew my plans for the business and for the family, and not surprising my family came up first, which I think I would have been surprised if they hadn’t.  But I had a massive shake up, I set myself proper working hours, and a dedicated late night for online networking and that’s it!

This has been in full swing now for a few months, things have gotten a little easier now both of my children are in full-time school, so a lot of client work is getting done during my office hours and not when the children have gone to bed, don’t get me wrong, if one of my clients comes to me in a real bother and urgently needed help, then of course I will try my hardest to help them out of that hole they are in.

You owe it to yourself, and your growing business to be firm with your expectation,  I bet when you was employed in the corporate world, come 5.30pm you was out that door queuing to get out of the car park, so why are you still sat there at 8-9pm at night working! And I bet you have even taken your laptop to the family room to work, to make it feel like you’re still part of the family! And then you wonder why your body feels like you have gone 10 rounds with Tyson!

Now is the time for tough love!

Top 5 tips on getting our time back

  1. Sit down and set realistic working hours, I have set mine as 9.30-3.00 then 6-6.30 (finishing off any rogue tasks) and one late night on a Tuesday for online networking.
  2. Plan your week, this needs to be done on one of 3 days, either Friday afternoon before you log off for the weekend and finalise the week you have had, or Sunday afternoon fresh from the weekend, fresh eyes, fresh mind or first thing Monday morning before you check anything else and get waylaid by any other tasks.  Personally, I prefer Friday afternoon or Sunday afternoon, there are fewer chances of me getting distracted.
  3. Schedule, there are loads of free tools out there for you to use in order to schedule your posts/tweets etc, I personally use the free version of Hootsuite – with this I can schedule in my post for Facebook (I have my business page linked to it) I can also schedule my tweets, I have my Google+  and LinkedIn accounts connected to my Hootsuite. I recommend to try and schedule in around 2 posts a day on Facebook, and one on other platforms, Twitter is different as it’s so fast paced so it depends on how visible you are on it depends on how many you need to be tweeting, you need a consistent stream on all your platforms, I believe Instagram and Pinterest have their own scheduling tools built in,  Whilst on that note, Facebook do have their own scheduling tool built in which is brilliant, so if you only use Facebook then that will be perfect.
  4. If something isn’t working, then take a 10 min break, go grab a bite to eat or a cuppa, don’t sit there stressing and letting it consume you, if it’s a task that seems to be beating you, then ask a friend or see if you can find an accountability buddy that you can bounce off, fresh eyes can sometimes help a fuzzy situation, just because you work at home for yourself, it doesn’t mean you have to be isolated and alone!
  5. Lastly, if things are just getting out of hand, and no matter what you are doing, you can’t get on top of your workload, then maybe it is time for you to look at outsourcing. Now this word often generates fear and anxiety amongst business owners, I can pretty much bet my shoes that you have a friend that has used someone in the past for outsourcing and it turned into an absolute nightmare.  This doesn’t have to be the case, if you do your research, connect with people and join some relevant business groups, you will soon grab some tips on how to find someone suitable, or you could connect with me and I can either help you with your issues, or give you some guidance on finding someone that you wish to work with.

Try and put these in practice, you owe it to yourself, your mind body and soul as well as your family to get a grip with your workload and working hours.

Give them a go and let me know how you get on, change needs to happen, if it doesn’t you will just run yourself into utter exhaustion.

Love

Claire x

 

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Keeping Track of your work time

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So in my last blog we spoke about logging off, and that we not only owe it to ourselves but to our nearest and dearest, we need that time to relax and let our bodies and brains relax.  We forget that our loved ones have to put up with us being snippy, tired and stressed.

I had set you a goal last time, I suggested that you were to sit down and work out your opening/working hours and stick to them, so did you? how did it work out for you? fill me in and let me know if putting in place those set hours has made a difference.  I would go as far as to say I bet you have been slightly more productive, I know that sounds weird, but it’s true, if you have a finish time in sight then you work towards that goal, and lets face it at the end of the day life and work are all based on goals, and your clocking off time in business is no different, its a goal.

So keeping track of work time is the subject of today’s blog, I don’t know about you, but in my employed days we didn’t have a timer per say, but we had targets that had to be met by certain deadlines, we would have weekly catch-up meetings, during those meetings we had tasks that were assigned to us, once they were finished, we were all circulated the minutes with our new or ongoing tasks on there,  how we chose to keep track of them was a personal choice, some would enter them into their email calendar system, some would use the team project management tool, it was what worked for you.

This stands true for you now, you need to find a system that is going to work for you and your business, what you may have used in days gone by, might not work for you today.  But you need to keep track of your work time and the tasks you are doing during the day.  If you don’t keep track this is when the working over your hours and late nights start to creep back in, and this is what we are trying to avoid.

Logging Off!

For me at the moment, I have an inbuilt clock that tells me that I need to be out of my home office no later than 2.55pm to get to school on time to start collecting the children, and would be a BIG NO NO in my children’s eyes should they be left at the school door.

But, I also use a few tools to help me stay focused and on track with time, we all need a toolkit in business, don’t we!

Asana

I use this a fair amount to keep track of client projects that I am doing, and is great as my clients can add things too, this is fab for keeping track on your progress and time spent on projects.

Trello

So this is similar to Asana, but this is for my own personal progress and work projects, this is my system for keeping track of what I am doing, what I want to do, what I need to do, it is incredibly easy to use, and user-friendly.  I use Trello for most of my content ideas.

Email calendar

I use this daily for those things that aren’t necessarily a project but could be a call, webinar, or an appointment that needs keeping, and let’s face it your clocking off time is really an appointment, isn’t it.  So why not put your end time on the calendar so it goes off at the end of your working day. Better still set 2 reminders, 1 to go off 10 mins before you finish to overview what you have achieved and what needs to be done tomorrow, and the other to say home time 🙂

These are the 3 biggies I use daily in conjunction with each other as well as my screaming internal clock at 2.55PM ‘SCHOOL RUN, SCHOOL RUN’ that helps me stay on track.  Here are a list of other things and tips that may help you in the quest for time keeping and time management:

  • Bullet Journal (paper planner fab and very addictive)
  • Mind Mapping (empty out your mind with all your ideas, as they can slow you down)
  • Use one calendar and sync with all devices
  • Turn off all distractions, yes including Facebook, it may be your main lead generator, but it is also your biggest time waster (trust me!)
  • Set a visible clock, sounds daft but it will work, it’s too easy to ignore that one in the bottom right of your screen
  • Set 30 minutes aside every morning to plan your day and set out your time planner, this will help you stay on track, and don’t forget to pencil in distraction time, lets face it we all get distracted, but at least if we account for it, it’s not eating into our productive time.

 

Nothing is set it stone here, I am only trying to offer some solutions to the problem, maybe one thing might work, maybe more will work, who knows, until you give something a go you just won’t know, will you? One size does not fit all when it comes to business.

Remember, if you are still struggling and you need help or advice, or should you wish to outsource, or discuss outsourcing, then I am always here for a chat, I do offer free 30 min phone consults.  If you want to chat here’s how:

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So let me know if you try any of these, would love to hear your comments.

Take care, have a fab week, don’t forget to have a summary of the week before you log off tonight and plan from next week.

Love

Claire x