I’m a very busy person. Running a startup, being a motivational speaker, leading a 200,000-person community, a father and a husband. I’m also very active in my church. In fact, I did three weeks of volunteer work in July. Your life, I’m guessing, is just as busy.
All business owners have very busy lives. However, I’ve learned a few things that give me unlimited time and space to do what I want and enjoy my life — Enjoy life today, not when I’m “rich and famous,” as some people think.
I do have seasons of being very, very busy. However, these tips will help you have more freedom in your schedule. Here are a few things that I’ve mastered and that, if you master them, will help you feel less pressure and more freedom.
It can be tempting to do everything yourself, but as your business grows, it becomes impossible to handle every task. Learn to delegate tasks to others who are capable of handling them. This frees up your time, empowers your team and allows them to develop new skills. I find that often, when I’m overwhelmed, it’s because I’m not giving enough to my time and putting too much on myself.
Related: 5 Reasons Why Delegation is a Must for Entrepreneurs
2. Say no!
Learn to say no to tasks or projects that don’t align with your goals or values. Saying yes to everything can lead to an overcommitted schedule and decreased productivity. Prioritize the tasks that will most significantly impact your business and leave the lower-priority tasks for later.
Saying no doesn’t have to be rude. You can decline requests with kindness and respect. You can let people know it’s not a great time for you now. Saying no is not mean!
Related: Learn to Say No to These 3 Things to Take Your Business to New Heights
3. Time blocking
Creating a schedule and sticking to it can help increase productivity and structure your day. Time blocking is a technique where you divide your day into blocks. Each block is dedicated to a specific task or activity. This method helps you stay focused and prevents distractions from derailing your progress.
4. Don’t let emails build-up
Checking and responding to emails can take up a significant amount of time. Set aside specific times to read and respond to messages to prevent emails from taking over your day. Try not to let emails pile up, or it can feel overwhelming to catch up.
I use filters in email. For example, every email with the word “unsubscribe” is automatically sent to my “read later” folder. This reduces my in-box email list.
Related: The Do’s and Don’ts of Email Etiquette
5. Schedule free time
As you schedule work tasks, schedule time to relax and recharge. This could be anything from reading a book to going for a walk. When you schedule time for yourself, it makes it easier to prioritize self-care and prevent burnout.
Related: 10 Incredible TED Talks About Time Management You Should Watch Right Now
6. Schedule family and personal time
Just as you prioritize work tasks, prioritize time with your family and loved ones. This could be anything from a scheduled weekly dinner to an annual vacation. Setting aside time for your relationships helps maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Wednesday is my “free time.” It’s not always 100% free, but it is when my day is more open, giving me time to think, sleep or simply get more work done!
Related: I Took 2 Weeks Off, and My Business Grew. Here’s How You Can Also Take a Successful Break
Make a list of tasks that need to be completed and prioritize them by importance. Focus on completing the most important tasks before moving on to lower-priority tasks.
Once you have your priorities in place, it’s time to plan ahead. Create a list of tasks that need to be completed before you leave and establish deadlines for each team member. Make sure to schedule a team meeting if you have any questions or concerns and clarify any expectations.
Turn off your phone and computer when you’re not working. Allowing yourself to disconnect from work can help reduce stress and give you more time for leisure activities. Setting boundaries between your professional and personal life helps maintain a healthy balance.
9. Take breaks
Regular breaks throughout the day help to increase productivity, reduce stress and clear your mind. Taking a few minutes to rest or do something enjoyable can make a difference in your productivity. Just be sure not to get too comfortable and lose track of time during your break.
It sounds counterproductive, but when I’m swamped, I pause and go for a quick walk or sit on the balcony. Mental recharge is important.
10. Plan ahead
Plan your day, week, month and quarter ahead of time. This helps prevent last-minute emergencies and ensures you allocate enough time for each task. When you plan ahead, you also don’t miss important things that need to be done.
Being very busy and having a lot of free time does not have to be mutually exclusive.
We, busy business owners, can find balance by delegating tasks, saying no, time-blocking, not letting emails pile up, scheduling free time and family time, prioritizing tasks, planning ahead, taking breaks and outsourcing tasks.
Incorporating these disciplines into your daily routine can increase productivity, prevent burnout and enjoy more free time without sacrificing quality work. Remember always to keep yourself and your relationships a priority.
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