Four Keys to Time Management (and Sanity!) for the Self Employed

On September 17th, 2010, by
I am grateful for the many mentors and coaches I have partnered with during my journey. A special thank you to Teresia LaRocque who has shared some amazing insight that will help you shift into role of CEO for your business and your life.

teresiaWhoa, what a ride………. Last week was my first week as a MOMpreneur. Being the mom of a 10 week old and running a full fledged business, the concept of time management presents a whole new set of challenges.  “Going back to work” brought up many different emotions; sadness, joy, fatigue, gratitude, and most of all overwhelm.

As we enter the month of September many of you will be getting into the ‘back to school mentality” and refocusing your energy and time on your business.

Before that familiar feeling of overwhelm sneaks up on you, I want to share with you four “perspective shifts” that I am revisiting as I enter this new phase in my life and which powerfully supports stepping out of  reaction mode and stepping into super efficiency.

This perspective shift is based on one question: what’s most important? It may sound like a simple place to start, but when you really embrace this, it has a profound effect on how you run your business – and your life.

Here are some tips that I am embracing and I invite you to join me.

1.    Become the CEO of your business. When a good CEO starts her day, she has a plan. She moves with purpose, methodically devoting her full attention to each objective. She has results in mind. Does she answer every call that comes in? Does she let other people determine when to meet, and for how long? Does she run around putting out fires and saving the day? Not a chance. You are the boss of your company, and it’s okay to act like it. You get to decide where to invest your time, and that means you don’t necessarily respond to every little thing right away. Go ahead, let that call go to voicemail!

2.    You won’t get it all done – and that’s okay. It’s the dark side of ambition that driving need to get everything handled. It haunts our nights and eats into our personal time. Many of us believe that in order to be successful, we have to get everything done. It’s not true! Handle your biggest priorities (like your marketing activities) every day and let the small stuff take care of itself. It is OK if you don’t get it all done – really! Getting to the next level is about doing what’s most important – always.

3.    Perfectionism isn’t profitable. Remember the golden rule in business: ‘Tis better to get it done than to do it perfectly. Don’t waste time with details that don’t really matter in the end. If high standards are compromising your productivity or adding to your stress, take some time to explore whether you have an unmet personal need (such as a need for approval). If this is the case, find ways to meet your needs outside of work. (We’ll talk about needs in a future article, as I have found that unmet needs are one the biggest reasons we become out of balance – more later). Remember, your job is to make sure things get done – one priority at a time.

4.    Contain your business: declare office hours. When you’re self employed, and especially when you work from home, your professional life and your personal life tend to blend together. You conduct high-powered meetings over the phone in your pajamas (come on ……I know I am not the only one :-) your faxes end up with salsa smudges; you stop shopping for the kids back to school clothes to take a call from your assistant etc. But when you set up boundaries between your personal time and your work hours, you’ll start to experience some wonderful benefits:

bullet You become much more efficient. In an effort to make the most of your work hours, you stop tending to the minor details and start tackling the bigger picture.
bullet Your time off actually becomes “down time” so you feel much more rested.
bullet At the end of the day, you feel satisfied instead of resentful; in control instead of chaotic; purposeful instead of panicky. Of course, you only realize these benefits if you actually honor your office hours. Take them seriously, and demand that everyone else does too.

TLC Coaches challenge:
This month, be intentional about how you spend your time. Define your office hours and stick to your priorities. Constantly ask yourself, “Which result is most important now?” Post a sign or make a note to keep you focused, and when the end of the day comes, close the door.

Begin this fall with a CEO mentality and join me in having your business serve your life rather then feeling like a servant to your business!

Reproduced with permission from Teresia LaRocque’s ‘Leverage Your Business, Love Your Life’ newsletter. To subscribe, go to Copyright 2010 Teresia.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. What’s most important to you? And what changes do you need to make to have a CEO mentality in your business and your life? Share your comments at the blog at

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