is there a word for when you feel like you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it and your instinct is just to hide under the covers and not do anything at all? if there is a word for that please let me know, i would like to be able to put a label on that feeling.
i know i am not alone. along with the many things on our ‘business to-do list’ many of us have children to raise, spouses to care for, friendships to nurture, houses to clean, laundry to wash, errands to run, dinners to cook, exercise we want to make time for, hobbies waiting for our attention and often day jobs that we still must show up for. it is a lot to have on one’s plate at one time, no?
so at the moment i am fighting that panicky feeling. you know the one? where if you think about your to-do list for more than a split second you start to feel completely overwhelmed and feel like there is no way you can handle it. like something has to give.
it occurs to me, not for the first time, that i need to make some changes in my life, because i really, really love what i do – with both my photography business and with helping others build their own business. i don’t want them to be the things that give, and i certainly don’t want it to be my time with my kids, spouse, friends and for myself.
so here is a list of all of the helpful time management and organization advice i have read around the biz blogs lately:
~ assign specific time each day or week to work on your business (vs filling in spots here and there throughout the day as you do other life stuff)
~ separate work time from family time (vs having your laptop or phone on and attached to your fingers 24/7)
~ have a set place to work so that you ‘go to work’ (vs working on your sofa as your kids play barbies and read stories at your feet)
~ break time up into chunks: set a timer to work for 50 mins & take ten to have a break and do something non-biz related
~ schedule your day or week – filling in large tasks first and filling in the smaller, quicker tasks when you have time left in a chunk
~ only check your email/facebook/twitter etc. at certain times of the day (vs everytime your computer beeps as you are trying to get tasks done)
~ prioritize: do the things that you get paid for first, the things that will help you make money next, the things you do for free last
~ ask yourself: if you were only allowed to do one thing today, what would it be? do that thing first.
~ if it is not important to your biz, don’t spend valuable time on it (vs getting stuck working on a fiddly task that is really not that important, in the end)
~ your time is money. that's all. remind yourself of this everytime you do any task or project related to your business. the more you believe this of yourself the better you will get at managing your time.
~ know when to fold 'em - sometimes you just have to dump an idea, project or product that is a time sink, and is probably not going to be profitable (thank you kenny!)
~ work on one thing at once. finish it. then move on to the next. (vs trying to do everything at once, or getting sidetracked)
~ set a reward for yourself for when you finish a task you don’t love doing
~ better yet, outsource the things you don’t love doing. you don’t have to do everything yourself - your time is worth money, as is your sanity!
~ schedule time for yourself: for excercise, hobbies, friends etc. (vs not scheduling it, and allowing things that will fulfil you to fall by the wayside)
~ say no. you don’t have to accept every job, say yes to every client, help every friend for free, join every committee, go to every lunch date
now, if you will excuse me i might just go hide under the covers for a while after all. my cozy bed, my favourite tv show and a glass of wine... sometimes a break from reality can do wonders! my to do list can wait until tomorrow. and, you know, everything does get crossed off of it eventually.
(update: i wrote this last night. i think just venting about how i was feeling helped a lot - so add that to the list: have someone to talk to that understands what you are going through! and of course my date with that glass of wine and some true blood helped too.)
what are your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to juggling your home biz with your home life? what time management and organization strategies work for you? please add a comment, i would love to hear from you!