Q: Hi, my name is Eloise. I am a stay-at-home mom with two boys, one is 6 and the other is 2. Now that my oldest has started school I would really like to focus more on my business and passion – making steam-punk jewelry and art pieces. I really enjoyed your time management blog and implemented it straight away, but found that I still did not have time to focus on my work. How can I make time, when I really don’t seem to have enough of it?
A: Thanks Eloise for your great question! This is one I get a lot and battle with myself, especially with two small children. Having two kids to take care of on top of trying to run a business is hard work, so first I want you to check in with yourself if you are ready to take on this challenge? Or are you already overwhelmed? If you are already feeling burnt out, chances are you aren’t going to feel very motivated to get going with your business just yet, and you first need to give yourself the space to regain your energy. Ready for the challenge? Ok, let’s go!
Ever heard of the Eisenhower technique? Eisenhower said, “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.”. Sound familiar? He developed a decision-making technique on how to decide which tasks to do first, which to schedule for later or delegate, and which to get rid of all together. You can use this template to take the items on your to-do list and split them into four different categories: Important, not important, urgent, not urgent.
The Urgent Important tasks are going to be added to your schedule first – these are the immediate, emergency-type tasks like tending to a crying baby or if don’t get done now, will have a major negative consequence.
Important, but not urgent tasks you are going to give a due date and schedule them into your calendar – these are the tasks that will be centered around your business, development, and so forth.
Next, you can schedule your not important but urgent tasks – these tend to be the basic daily tasks that will happen no matter what, like cooking dinner or scheduling the baby’s next checkup. These are the tasks that you can try to see if the responsibility of these can be shared or delegated, or if you can streamline the process ie. purchasing your groceries online to be delivered, or doing meal prep at the beginning of the week, or simply keeping a couple of frozen meals to give you a night off.
Lastly, you are going to completely drop your not important and not urgent tasks. These are generally not necessary (otherwise they would be in the important block) and can wait until they do become important. These are things like dealing with other people’s problems or mistakes or wasting time responding to people’s emails and texts.
Here’s an example of what I mean:
In my experience, if what the client is trying to fit in is that important to them, they will make it happen. I have also found that when going through a schedule again, clients slowly become more honest about where they are spending (or more likely wasting their time). Remember, you don’t have to have it all figured out right from the beginning – you just have to START! Each day does not need to look the same, and it certainly doesn’t need to be wrapped up in a perfect little bow. Be flexible with the changes, keep the momentum going, and praise yourself for the amazing job you are doing! Eloise, I hope this helps, and good luck!
Did this help you? Have a question you want me to answer? Let me know below!