Life with children is hectic. With Noah ten and Ella at eight my life is a constant to-do list of family, school, friends, cooking and work. To add starting up a business in a field that neither my husband or myself have any experience in, on top of our everyday chaos could seem to some like insanity. I think we did question the notion ourselves! But we believed so wholeheartedly in the overall purpose of DiaryZapp that we knew we were going to have to find time somewhere. Fortunately I was borne with a love of spreadsheets and logistics so I tweaked what I was already doing to find some vital free hours.
Here’s my top ten list of time savers and sanity savers. They’re working (just) so far for me so I hope that they help you too!
- Keep your to-do lists, don’t throw them away. Instead refine them so that next time you need them they’re already done, and require less time to put together. Summer activity idea lists, stuff to take on hot holiday lists, meal planning lists and refine them each time you use them until they are bang on.
- Figure out what’s essential for you to be able to function and schedule your week around that first. it into every week – a dog walk, date night, time with friends – for me it’s the gym so I book my training sessions in first and build the week around them, otherwise they would get dropped. In reality, life happens and I may miss the odd one when chaos breaks out, but generally I get to the gym and I’m a nicer, more productive person for it.
- When I do stuff on a to-do list, I cross it off, in fact when I do something that’s not on a to-do list, I write it down and cross it off immediately, then when I get to the end of the day and wonder why I’m worn out – I can see why! But it does lead to a sense of achievement and believe me, you need that.
- Shop online and get it set up so that all adults in the family can add to the shopping order.
Party invites and school fixture letters live on the fridge door until the day they happen, then you grab them as you go out of the door to avoid the ‘where did you say Phillipa’s party was?’ panic at the last minute.
- Keep envelopes and a pen near the front door so that notes from school and reply slips can be dealt with and put straight back in book backs before they even get past the hall.
- If you’re starting up a business, chances are that you have to do a lot of it on your own – find people or mentors who challenge and refresh you, find a vibrant environment to work in from time to time, you do have to make it happen, but you don’t have to be an island. Sometimes I find that working from a shared incubator office space gives me a reminder that I’m not the only one dealing with challenges and it helps me regain perspective.
- If you have a partner/husband who works with you in the business, take time to take time out. Get some decent childcare and get out on date nights, do something, anything, just don’t talk shop.
- Mindset – easier said than done, but remember that you have the ability to choose how you react to things. Celebrate the successes as well as the mess-ups as they help you learn (easier said than done). A great friend of mine Debra Searle says ‘You can choose your attitude’ and she’s dead right. I read somewhere that you don’t have to be the best, you just have to be better than you were yesterday.
- Enjoy! As an entrepreneur you take the risks so you deserve the rewards and make sure you’re doing something that you enjoy and take time to enjoy it.