Time Management for Solopreneurs

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Effective time management is critically important for success as a solopreneur. When you are the only person responsible for all the “jobs” in your business, it can feel like you are being pulled in a thousand different directions and focusing on any one task is impossible.

But focus is critically important also.

So how can a solopreneur balance focus with the necessary multi-tasking?

The key is prioritization and time blocking. This lets you fully focus on a particular task without distractions, during the time you have allocated to it. Let’s cover each of these in turn.

The 4 Rules of Prioritization

There are always a thousand things to do in a solo business. And most entrepreneurs are also idea people, so you’re probably continuously coming up with new exciting things to add to your to-do list.

Here are some rules to follow to help you prioritize that ever-growing list.

Rule #1: Write it Down

You can’t focus with a thousand ideas and to-do’s floating around in your head. Believe me – I’ve tried it. It doesn’t work!

As soon as you think of something, whether it’s a new idea or something that needs doing, simply make a quick note of it, and get back to the task at hand. You can write it down on a Post-It note, add it on your phone or computer, make a note on your calendar or notepad – whatever works for you. The important thing is that it’s out of your head and onto “paper” that you can re-visit at a later time. This allows you to get back to focus 100% on what you were doing.

Rule #2: Don’t Get Distracted by Greener Grass

That’s especially critical for thoughts that come into your head that seem more important than what you’re working on right now (unless it truly is urgent, of course!). It’s easy to get distracted by the “Greener Grass” effect: The horse in the paddock always wants to eat the grass that looks greener on the other side of the fence.

The “Greener Grass” effect is the #1 reason why a solopreneur may be busy all day but feel like they accomplish nothing.

Rule #3: Make a List

On a regular basis (but not more than once per day) review and prioritize your list of to-do items.

Realize that you won’t be able to accomplish all the ideas that come to you. That’s why prioritization and focus are so important. But don’t throw anything out. If it’s written down and “on the list” then it’s available if you have time for it in the future, and it won’t keep popping back into your mind distracting you from what is a priority right now.

Rule #4: Choose a Task Management Method

How do you prefer to manage a to-do list? There are many different task management apps, calendar approaches, or a simple pen-and-paper to-do list. What works for one person may not work for another, so choose a method that works for you and stick with it. But don’t make choosing a task management process another distraction from focusing on priorities that help grow your business! What’s important is that you have a method, and you stick with it for a period of time – you can always refine it as you go.

Time Blocking

The second key component of effective time management is Time Blocking. This involves blocking off time on your calendar to take care of the specific tasks that you have identified as the priorities for your business. During each block of time you focus on just that one thing – don’t let other tasks or distractions interrupt you.

Personally, I like to use a variation on the Pomodoro method, which involves interspersing “sprints” of focused work blocks (set a timer for 25 minutes) with brief “breaks” (5 minutes) to give your mind a rest and transition to the next block of work. After four such “sprints” you can take a longer break (say 30 minutes) before starting over again.

Your Time Management Approach

I think the best time management approach for a solopreneur is to consciously choose a method that works for the way you work and think. This is different for everyone. But hopefully this has helped you give your own time management needs some thought, and gives you some ideas to try that will help balance the need for Focus and Multi-Tasking that is a reality for every solopreneur.

What time management approaches do you find work best for you? Leave a comment below!

Focus & Consistency

What is the key to success for an online solopreneur?

Unfortunately there is no guaranteed key to success… But I do believe there are two important necessary ingredients: FOCUS and CONSISTENCY.

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Focus = being frugal with your energy

The first necessary ingredient for solopreneur success is Focus: knowing your target customer and end goal, and focusing on those business activities that get you there.

It’s very easy to spread your energy across many different ideas (I do it too!), without any one area getting enough focus to have an impact. As a solo business owner, it’s vitally important to focus your efforts to achieve results with the limited energy and resources that you have as one individual.

Consistency = being frugal with your time

The second necessary ingredient is Consistency: follow the straight line path to achieve your goals by being consistent in your business activities on a day-by-day and week-by-week basis.

You have limited time, so make the most of it by having a regular schedule of activities that you do every day or every week. Each action builds on the actions of the previous days. That is how you have an impact as just one person.

That means posting to your blog or channel regularly (if you commit to weekly or daily, then stick to it), listing new items for sale in your store every single day, sending a client proposal out every day, or making twenty cold calls or emails every day. Your exact goal(s) will depend on your business and the product or service that you offer, but know what those daily goals are, make a list, and check off your list EVERY SINGLE DAY.

It’s easy to get discouraged and decide you need to try something new. And sure, sometimes it is necessary to pivot. But remember: Strong businesses aren’t built overnight, but if you really know your target customer and what they need, you price your product or service right, and you’re Focused and Consistent every single day, then over time you WILL see the impact of your efforts.

Marketing Plan Mistakes to Avoid

Avoid these five most common marketing plan blunders:

  1. Not having an up-to-date marketing plan! Fix this easily with our Marketing Plan Template package – download here.
  2. Not knowing your marketing strategy, which results in “shooting in the dark” when doing marketing.
  3. Not making effective use of the internet and digital marketing.
  4. Focusing too heavily on a small number of big-budget marketing items, such as tradeshows or glossy brochures.
  5. Not tracking your marketing results.

Read more here: https://www.sevenstepsmarketing.com/marketing-plan-mistakes.html

Allow Time for Reflection and Planning

This is my boardroom…

My Boardroom in the Woods

This is where I ponder… plan…

and sometimes, yes, procrastinate.

I ponder while I wander through the woods.

Dappled sun rays and bird song are my peers.

Together we ponder product ideas,

plan new projects,

and gain fresh perspectives.

All while perusing the natural beauty…

of my boardroom in the woods.

Where is Your Boardroom?

Where do you do your best thinking and recharging? Have you “met” there recently to ponder and plan?

Make time for it … meetings in your boardroom are an important part of running a business. And the best way to recharge and de-stress as well.

A Walk in the Woods

As a solopreneur, you can start to feel that you have so many different hats to wear that it’s impossible to perform any function in your business particularly well. There are client deliverables to finish, customer orders to fulfill, inventory to organize, blogs to write, social media posts to get up, and on it goes…

With all the to-do’s fighting for your attention, your mind gets pulled one way then another… before you know hours have gone by and you haven’t gotten any of it done! Does this ever happen to you?

It happens to me too. What is the best way to get my mind back in focus? A walk in the woods…

alone autumn mood forest cold countryside

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So next time you’re feeling unfocused about your business, or have too many minutiae vying for your attention, give a 30-minute walk in nature a try.  Works wonders for my mindset! What about you?