I know the feeling. Your business has completely taken over your life, you find yourself working every waking hour and your health and home life are suffering.
Take a deep breath and consider these six ways of taking back control of your life while still managing your business effectively.
1. It’s not all about ‘You’. You may have started out on your own and built the business up from scratch so that you think it cannot possibly survive without you. Yes, you may possess a unique skill or talent that the business revolves around but there are still plenty of things you personally don’t need to take a hands-on approach to.
2. Learn to delegate. Following on from the previous point, think about training up someone else to do what you do. That allows you more time for planning and strategic thinking.
3. Work out what you actually do. Make a note of all the tasks you undertake in a week and how long they take you. Better yet, have someone else do it for you. At the end of the week analyse what you did, how long it took and consider if someone else in the organisation could have done it just as well.
4. Cut down on time wasting. Employees will naturally have questions and queries but try and get them to bring them to you at a regular meeting slot rather than bombarding you throughout the day. Encourage friends and family to call you outside work hours or at a specific time such as during lunch.
5. Limit reading emails. It is far too easy to have email notifications pop up regularly on your computer interrupting your flow of work and thought. Stop checking your emails every ten minutes. Make a set time to go through them, perhaps once in the morning and again in the afternoon. If it is that urgent they will call you.
6. Manage customer expectations. Make sure your customers know when they can contact you. Clearly state your operating hours and how long their particular project is likely to take. This can be done on your website, in sales and marketing literature, in emails and letters, contracts and formal written agreements.
Follow these simple rules and you might find you get your life back!