When you’re a small business owner, everything’s on you. Between booking jobs, making a schedule, and managing a team, there’s hardly time for anything else. And if there’s any time left at the end of the day, you probably want to spend it with your family, right? However, you know deep down you should be devoting at least some time to honing your trade. After all, industries are constantly evolving and growing, as new products come out and equipment improves. So, the big question is, how do you make time for personal and/or professional development? How do you manage to stay on top of industry trends and competitors when your life is chaotic enough? It’s certainly not easy, but we have some time management strategies to help. Thankfully, if you love what you do, then you’re already at an advantage. You’ll naturally feel motivated to brush up on your trade, find ways to optimize workflow, and see what your competitors are up to. Why? Because you’re passionate about your business. So, without further ado—because we know you’re busy—let’s take a look at some ways you can carve out time to develop your business and industry knowledge. Keep reading for our time management strategies!
1. Keep a running to-do list.
This may sound a little lame—but, honestly, aren’t you more productive when you write out all the things you have to do for the day? A list enables you to keep track of everything you want to do. Simultaneously, it’s also a huge morale booster because crossing items off a list makes you feel accomplished. Therefore, keep a running list of new ideas, articles, books, products, and techniques you want to study. This way, it’ll be easy for you to knock one off the list whenever you have a spare moment.
2. Make a schedule.
If your day-to-day is usually pretty booked, then make your self-improvement part of your schedule! For many of us business owners, the only way to make certain something gets done is to put it on our calendar. Schedule an hour or two per week for personal and/or professional development and actually commit to it.
3. Plan for lulls.
Every business has its peaks and valleys at different points in the year. For example, retailers are typically busy during the summer and holidays, and much slower early in the year. On the other hand, for some service providers, the holidays are always a slow period. It all depends on who your customers are and how they behave. Regardless of when, exactly, your slow season takes place, you probably know when it’s coming. And if you can predict it, you can plan for it. So, remember that to-do list we talked about earlier? Use it to keep track of ideas when you’re in the throes of your busy season. Save the more time-consuming projects for when work is quieter and you have more free time to tackle them.
4. Wake up earlier.
No one wants to hear this, but it’s true: Most of the successful men and women you read about have all been early risers. When you get up before anyone else is awake, you have quiet time to yourself. You can use these tranquil moments to sit with a trade magazine, read an inspiring biography, check your company Facebook page and Google Maps listing, and so on. All those things you wish you had time to do at the end of the day? Do them first thing in the morning, instead. This way, it’s impossible for you to skip them once your day gets too busy. Of course, business owners have discovered countless other ways to make more time in their day, too. Don’t be afraid to test out different time management strategies and see what works best for you. Remember, what works for one person may not work for someone else—it all comes down to the individual. Do you have any time management strategies that have worked for you in the past? Let us know!