Planning & Organising your week as a small business owner
Improve your productivity and find a balance
Running your own business is so rewarding for so many reasons, becoming your own boss, setting your own schedule - however, it also comes with a lot of tasks and responsibility which can be difficult for just one person or a small team to manage. For this reason, small business owners can quickly find themselves doing not much else! And whilst being passionate about your business is of course important, and there will be times when longer working hours are required, you should not abandon any sense of a personal life or taking time for yourself to rest and recover. Overworking all the time can quickly lead to burnout and a lack of enthusiasm, inspiration and motivation.
So, we have put together some ideas and tips to help plan and organise your time as a small business owner, hopefully to allow you to prioritise tasks and use your time effectively, so you can achieve a healthy work-life balance. As said by Jack Torrance in The Shining “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”.
Whilst a general to-do list may seem like enough to keep you on track with your undoubtedly long list of tasks and priorities, sometimes if they are too general or time specific targets are not set, it can be easy to lose track and become overwhelmed. Perhaps you may be one of those people that will start three tasks at once and then struggle to finish any of them in time. This can quickly lead to disorganisation and make your life, day, week and overall workload more stressful than it needs to be!
A weekly planner can be a great tool to help with this. Setting tasks and times to accomplish on each day can help you prioritise what needs to be done each day based upon when these tasks need to be completed. We suggest if you are to use a weekly planner, to plan for the week ahead by creating your plan the week or weekend before. Maybe spend an hour on the Sunday putting together an overview of what you aim to achieve on each day of the following week. Using a weekly planner can also help you to ensure you are spreading out your workload and not leaving important tasks to a Friday evening giving you unnecessary stress. Below is an example of a very simple, and quick to put together, weekly schedule that can aid in keeping you on track and your tasks prioritised throughout the week.
Task Prioritisation (The Most Important Tasks Idea)
As a small business owner there are naturally a lot of tasks that fall under your responsibility. A good idea can be to sort your tasks into an order of prioritisation. What tasks are most important and should, therefore, be the key focus of your day and which tasks are of lower importance and won’t have as big of an impact if they are not completed. For example, you may want to post a reel onto instagram, but you also have orders to complete or your next markets to organise. Prioritising your tasks through the idea of ‘most important tasks’ can help to reduce your stress by enabling you to ensure - as the idea suggests - your most important tasks have been completed first. So you don’t get to the end of a day stressing as something of more importance still has yet to be done.
Whilst those smaller tasks still have importance, the impact they have on your business may not be as profound if not completed as with some other tasks.
We are fortunate enough to live in an advanced technological society, where automation is becoming increasingly commonplace and accessible for all types of businesses and purposes. There are a host of apps and software that are available to help automate many business processes and tasks that could save you time and stress. For example, a very easy to implement automation is if you are active on social media, many platforms now offer automated messaging. You can set automatic replies for your facebook page so that when customers message your profile they can receive an automatic reply. You could choose to put in information that could help answer their query, such as a link to your website or frequently asked questions.
You can also schedule posts across many social media accounts, so perhaps if on a Monday you find you have more spare time than the remaining days of the week
There are also many accountancy softwares that help to automate and reduce the time that is consumed with sorting your business finances.
There truly are an abundance of apps and softwares now available to help automate parts of your workload providing you with more time - whether this extra time allows you to take more time for yourself or to invest that time into areas of your business that require your input.
Ask for help
Again, as a small business owner, it can be very easy to continually take on more tasks and responsibilities as you try to grow your business. However, no matter how well you plan, organise and schedule, sometimes you may simply just have too much for one person to accomplish.
There is nothing wrong with accepting that you could use some help. We know it can seem like a waste of resources to pay someone else, but there is nothing wrong with recognising that outsourcing some of your work would benefit you in the long run. It could provide you with more time for you to focus on the aspects of your business that require more of your attention, or just allow you to find time for yourself again.
Are there areas of your business that don’t require your input? Such as any administration work. Or perhaps areas that actually fall outside of the scope of your expertise that could benefit from being outsourced to professionals of that area, such as accounting or marketing.
Asking for help and outsourcing work should not be seen as you being incapable of satisfying the needs of your business, but as a sometimes necessary tool to enable you to invest your time where it’s needed the most.
Set boundaries and stick to them
One way to ensure you are giving yourself time to rest and recover is setting boundaries for yourself within your business, and actually sticking to them. You may find that currently you are switched on to your business 24/7. If you find that you are working unsociable hours, or responding to clients whilst eating your dinner, these could be signs that you need to set boundaries for yourself and your business. For example, you may decide that you won’t reply to business emails and DMs after a certain time in the evening or on
weekends. This is perfectly ok, everyone needs time to rest and recover to enable them to put their all into the next working day.
Using some of our previous points can also help with ensuring you can stick to these boundaries. As if you know by the end of your day that you have completed the most important tasks for that day, you can switch off and give yourself time to relax without stressing about unfinished business.
We know just how much running a business on your own can consume a large majority of your life. Whilst, of course, it is extremely rewarding to be your own boss, it also means you often don’t have the luxury of a typical 9-5 where you clock-in and clock-out at set times of the day. There may still be times where you have to put in more work or hours to complete all the tasks needed for your business. However, hopefully this post has provided you with some ideas to help find that balance. So that you can still maintain a healthy relationship with work and your personal life. There is a reason so many entrepreneurs suffer from burnout.
If you would like to read more of our tips for small business owners, you can view all of our blog posts here.