In this article Andrew the Founder of The Logo Creative shares 7 Tips For Time Management and Work Life Balance that he personally uses as a full-time designer and internet marketer to make the most productive use of his time and have a healthy work-life balance.
A lot of people reading this article may not yet be at a point where they are full-time self-employed and the day job is a thing of the past, and if you’re in that situation I understand what it’s like to be trying to balance a day job and your side business i have been there and faced all those challenges.
It’s achievable but you have to want it, and be willing to work harder than you ever have in your life, That’s the first lesson to learn – Know you will have to work harder!… its not easy! and if you want to be successful working for yourself you have to want it as bad as you want to breath its a lifetime of grinding, but if you’re passionate and you do it right, you will never work a day in your life as the saying goes, it’s still tough but enjoyable!.
I have been running my business for just over a decade now and let me tell you that being self employed was the best decision I ever made but it was also a very tough decision.
I did an amazing job working in schools as a lead IT Network and Project manager working within numerous schools around the county managing their IT Networks and Project Management.
I had a total of 15 schools to manage who all rely on me plus Technicians to manage and train, while also running two businesses, my own small IT company and a design studio.
I was also further studying on top of that with a small family at home and responsibilities and in addition to that I was working on building up a couple of additional side businesses as my goal was to be my own boss and be full-time self-employed and not rely on a full-time job.
After the full-time day grind at my day job at night I was working on my own business, I was studying and learning new things and writing content every night for my websites.
It was a very busy time in my life and I had to be very deliberate about time management and work life balance but I did it and I’m proud of what I have done over the years to get to where I am today but i still have a lot of work to do and I embrace the challenge.
If you are already to the point where the day job is a thing of the past then congratulations, and if you’re like me there may be times where it’s still difficult to keep the balance just right.
A lot of people these days are starting different types of businesses, some very service driven and active that demand our time for the business to run and function as a service level business dealing with clients and managing projects.
Others very passive such as income-based websites that continue to grow because of the processes we put in place.
You may be writing content daily and also have content written for you which can be a very passive model but still demands your time to function well such as content editing, image creation video recording and editing, voice recording and the general website maintenance.
Not to mention all the social media sharing and everything else that comes with running a business, When your self-employed there is so much stuff going on that’s never ending.
It’s not for everyone, but if you’re like me it’s a passion, and I’m constantly working to improve my business, especially The Logo Creative, I want to make it as good as possible for everyone who enjoys it.
We are constantly getting projects coming in which I love working on and balancing my time for The Logo Creative between client work and content creation makes it a joy to do.
But when your running an active service level business you can easily let it control your life instead of being in control of it ourselves.
Whether you’re working a normal job or you’ve already passed that and you’re working for yourself either way. In this article i want to share 7 Tips For Time Management and Work Life Balance that i use and have helped me get and still do.
I’m hoping by reading this article these tips will enable you to manage your time better and enjoy what you’re doing at the same time.
It’s when you let things get out of balance you can suffer significant mental and emotional damage such as burn-out, and it can be damaging to you and I don’t want anyone to suffer like I did it was not nice, and I will never allow myself to go back there again but to move forward we have to learn, and I hope what I have learnt will help others..
Let me help you better manage your time to be as productive as possible yet have a healthy balance between the work that you’re doing and the life that you’re living.
The first tip to start off is one of what I believe is the most important thing to start with is
Tip #1 Decide What Matters
Deciding what matters most to you in life, what are the things that make you happy?, what are the things that you want to accomplish?, what are the things that you most enjoy?, and make sure that your plan centres somewhere around that, obviously you can’t spend all day every day doing exactly what you like and exactly what you want to do, but the things are working on need to help point you in that direction if they don’t know what’s the point?
Many times I have allowed myself to get so carried away in my work that I start to get just totally drained and the things that matter most to me like my family then end up taking backstage, and that’s not an acceptable way for me to live my life, and that’s why I’ve chosen to take some time to get away with my family and now of course I’m still writing this article during my downtime (it’s late and everyone is sleeping) but still I have allowed myself to focus on the thing that matters most to me and get away from the things that matter a little bit less.
Tip #2 Do The Few Minute Tasks Right Now
The things that matter a little bit less this comes down to the sort of things such as the daily things that you need to get done. If there is a task that comes across your desk that you can accomplish in a few minutes or less don’t put it off if you absolutely can’t do it right now!
The more tasks that you have on your plate is like having more juggling balls being doubled in the air the more things that you’re trying to manage all at once the less likely you’re going to be able to do any one of them very well, so again if you can get something done in a few minutes or less just do it now and get it out of the way check it off your to-do list and allow yourself to be happy, satisfied and proud of the work that you have accomplished.
Tip #3 Make a To-Do List
Any other task that comes across your desk that you are unable to do in a few minutes, make sure you write it down. The thing that gives me the heaviest amount of stress that has the greatest weight on my shoulder is when i know i have all these things i know i need to complete and trying to hold them all in my mind until I get to them, it keeps me from sleeping, and doing a good job of accomplishing anything right now because I’m always worried about what it is I’m going to have to accomplish next, and i feel i have to keep it in my mind
If you write it down in a place where you know you’re going to come back to it later than you can put it off, stop worrying about it, and it will leave your mind just try it one time and you’ll be amazed how much stress it takes off your shoulders and doing a good job of making a to-do list a list of things that need to get done will allow you to do a really good job of the next tip.
Tip #4 Plan Your Day
The fourth tip is to plan out of each day, have a plan for what it is that you need to get accomplished today.
Now I find it easiest to take that list I have of things that need to get done, prioritise that in the afternoon for the next day, and basically layout my schedule what are the main things that I need to check off tomorrow.
Plan out when I’m going to do each one of them and then as I get those checked off I know what I need to accomplish for the day and I feel very satisfied with my work.
If you don’t have a plan it doesn’t really matter how much or how little you accomplish you probably won’t feel satisfied unless your whole to-do list is checked off, which if you’re running any type of active business or have a lot of things going on in your life your to-do list will probably never be totally checked off.
Have a plan for the day, know what needs to be accomplished for tomorrow and then if you accomplish all of it, and you add in one or two extra things you have a great sense of accomplishment.
Tip #5 Prioritise Important Tasks First
Prioritise the big stuff first, this doesn’t necessarily mean to take the tasks that are going to take the longest and schedule them first.
It’s more about taking the task that actually matter, the tasks that move the needle in your business and scheduling them first, those are the things that are going to have the most impact on your business.
You may have heard of this analogy before filling a jar with marbles and sand if you fill the jar first with sand and then you try to pour in the marbles the marbles will not all fit and spill off the top, this may seem obvious yet we do this all the time with our work from day to day, we get up in the morning we sit down at our computer, check email, and then we check it again several times before lunch, we go check out Google Analytics, Amazon accounts, any other affiliate accounts, our business PayPal account, business banking account just to see how our business is doing
We spend our time tweaking little things on the website, maybe adding a little widget or tool here and there, or maybe playing with the website design.
They’re all good things, worthwhile things to do sometimes, but not the things that are going to move the needle most in your business.
If you’re in the early days of building your business, whether it be a service business or passive income business or website or maybe a YouTube channel or a combination of both, there is rarely going to be a day where anything is more important than publishing new content.
Publishing new contact making that the priority of your day scheduling that first is going to allow you to move the needle in your business, and in the long run allows you to be successful.
This is is more like putting the marbles in the jar first as opposed to the sand, and when you put the big and more important things in first then all the little things that you want to get done such as website tweeking and checking your accounts you can fit those things in around the big stuff that matters.
In the end you can fit a lot more work into your day, and you’ll be significantly more productive because the things you’ve accomplished are the things that matter in your business.
Tip #6 Set Reminders For Time-Bound Tasks
Take the important things that need to be finished sooner, such as tasks that are the priority tasks that you may not be able to get completed today or tomorrow, maybe things that you can’t control when they’re going to get done and make sure that you put them on your calendar or that you at least set yourself some sort of reminder for yourself to get to those things.
This falls back to the to-do list, if you have something waiting on you, you know there’s some event coming up or you notice something that you need to get done this week it’s going to weigh on your shoulders until it’s done! or until you are confident that it’s going to be completed!
By scheduling it or by setting yourself a reminder you’re going to have the confidence that you know you’re coming back to it, and you can leave it for now and focus on things that you need to get done today.
Including the things that matter most to you like maybe spending time with your family, if you don’t do that then the minutes and even if you’re lucky hours that you have each day with your family are going to be burdened by those things that are weighing down on your shoulders, so put off start writing them down schedule them in, and set yourself a reminder so you know when to come back to them.
Tip #7 Take Time Off For Yourself
My seventh and final tip is to give yourself that time away from your work and have some down time, if you’re working another job and trying to build up a side business or you have anything else going on in her life I can imagine just like me you’re probably very busy but nobody can run constantly.
I know a few long distance runners and every single one of them has to take down time to recharge and refocus, even in the middle of a 100 mile race they have to stop at certain points and allow themselves to rest and sleep everybody needs that.
If you are trying to run constantly in your business and in your life you will at some point burn out.
It happens quite a lot with myself, infact back in October and November of last year I suffered a really bad burn out i was working like a machine from the start of the year and come October..Boom!
It caught up with me right through to mid November and I was out! It took weeks to get myself back to normal! Luckily because I planned and scheduled stuff I got through it without it impacting my schedule and my business!
Allow yourself to take a vacation but don’t break the bank and don’t be negligent in the things you need to get done, maybe you just take half a day, maybe you just take 2 hours to set things aside and go do something that is going to allow you to recharge.
You have to allow yourself to re-charge otherwise you will not be productive in any other work that you do and you might as well not do it all, so give yourself a chance to re-charge do something that you love to do, and focus on the things that matter most in your life.
By doing this you can remember why it is that you do what you do, and why your building this business in the first place.
I hope my 7 Tips For Time Management and Work Life Balance have been helpful. It’s really easy to let that balance get out of whack and letting it get out of whack is going to cause you emotional and mental turmoil.
It’s going to prevent you from accomplishing what it is that you want to accomplish.
If you’re trying to be productive in your business, but just not quite getting everything done that you know you need to get done, try and incorporate some of these tips into your life.
If nothing else allow yourself to take a short vacation from your business or your problems even if that vacation is just a couple of hours.
Just remember “without you there is no, what you do!”, You are the most important cog in the wheel, you’re the one who makes it happen, so taking care of yourself!
Burnout is a terrible thing, and I never want to experience another case of that really bad burn out i had ever again, it’s not nice!
7 Tips For Time Management and Work Life Balance
- Decide What Matters to You
- Doing Quick Tasks Right Now
- Make a To-Do List
- Plan Each Day
- Prioritise Important Things First
- Use a Calendar and Set Reminders
- Take Time to Relax and Regenerate
I hope that my 7 Tips For Time Management and Work Life Balance have been helpful, and be sure to leave any comments you have below.
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Also published on Medium.