The 9-to-5 Home Business Tug of War
© 2002 Elena Fawkner
Perhaps scarcest commodity new home-business owner just starting out has is time. This is particularly so if you are also working a traditional, full-time job and building up your business "on side" in your spare time. So how do you go about burning candle at both ends without burning yourself out in process?
First off, let's think about priorities. Working a full-time job while developing a business requires stamina and endurance if other areas of your life are not to be neglected. This means being fit and healthy. Make time to exercise at least three times a week. Four or five is better. I know how hard it can be to commit an hour to working out when you've got an endless (and I mean ENDLESS!) list of things you need to be doing NOW for your business. But make time. It pays BIG dividends in terms of stamina and endurance.
Second, eat right. Don't just grab a McBurger on way home from work and scoff it down as you're driving. Take time to cook a proper meal and relax for a half hour or an hour before getting down to business. This gives you a break and time to unwind from pressures of day, making you much more productive when you do get down to work. Eating proper meals will keep you in good health and, coupled with a regular exercise routine, will help keep your energy levels high.
OK, so you're physically in shape and taking care of yourself. The next major thing to think about is time management. Every weekend, before working week starts, prepare a business plan for coming week. This is nothing more complicated that writing down various business-related activities you must do over course of coming week and then scheduling them according to how much time you know you are going to have on a particular day.
By planning out your time this way, you can schedule your business activities alongside your other activities. Take care of as many of them as you can through course of day. Whether you are able to do this depends on nature of your 9 to 5 job but if you have even a little autonomy you should be able to squeeze out a little time here and there. Not huge chunks, just 10 minutes here and there.
The nature of your job may mean you don't have luxury of that sort of autonomy. If this is you, then there's nothing for it but to free up time before and after work. This may mean getting up an hour earlier every day, for example.
Whatever your personal situation, by planning ahead you will at least have peace of mind of knowing that time has been allocated to all important business-related tasks. By eliminating "scatter gun" approach you will find that limited time you do have will be much more productive.
There are going to be some activities that you have to do day in, day out. Decide what time of day is best for you to attend to these routine tasks. The more you can integrate business activities into your daily routine more efficient will be your use of time. Let's take email, for example. Anyone running an online business has to deal with email on a daily basis. I use time between when I get up in morning and when I leave for gym for this. It gives me time to wake up before I launch into my day and is a relatively undemanding task that does not require precision concentration.