Time Management for Caring Entrepreneurs

By Susan Kavanaugh

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An entrepreneur sees a problem and resolves to solve it.

Obviously, entrepreneurs do this for profit in order to stay in business. And, indeed, the whole concept of entrepreneurship hinges on solving problems. This is good for society, as well as for the entrepreneur. While entrepreneurship is a hot term today, it is not all Instagramesque. You do not always have a team picking up the calls, and delivering the orders. When you are just starting up or as you continue your journey, you may choose to be a solopreneur. This means that you do most of the work yourself. You pitch clients, set up meetings and offer your service. 

This can be hugely overwhelming if your focus is pulled all around the place. There will be clients calling for your attention; and, if you work from a home office, managing personal matters and business hours can be frustrating. What about those unpleasable clients who keep disturbing you with nagging calls? The desire to please everyone can be knee-bending, back-cracking, and brain-bursting. Being an entrepreneur does not mean you have to stop being caring and compassionate.

Here are a few tips to help you optimize your business time, help others, and protect yourself from distractions: 

Daily/ Weekly To-Do Lists
Yours does not have to be overly structured. By simply jotting down what you wish to accomplish the following week, you are setting yourself up for success. When you have an idea of what you want to accomplish, it helps you to know how much time you can afford in helping others without hurting your business.

Block All Distractions

When you work from home, you choose your options– work time, type of work and place of work. However, without an established structure, this liberty can bring financial and psychological imprisonment. Distractions are everywhere. They are on your mobile phones. They are on the TV. They are on the computer.

Therefore, to do any meaningful work as a solopreneur who deeply cares for others, you have to block all distractions. There are several apps you can use to block out time for business activities. However, a low-tech method would be to use a watch with a timer.

  1. Go to a place within the house or outside the house where you are less likely to be disturbed.
  2. Set the timer for 40 minutes.
  3. After the timer stops, take a break for five minutes.
  4. Repeat the timer and have at least five sections of this deep work per business day.
  5. Once you are done, you can spend the rest of the day multitasking business and attend to urgent or distress calls.

Don’t Work For Free

I am guilty as charged in this area. In an effort to close a contract, I will do an immense amount of collaboration and discovery with the client. Are you charging for this? I know I should be, because I am a consultant and that’s what I am paid for.

Unless you are doing a work as a volunteer, do not do anything for free. You are a professional, and you deserve to be paid for your services. One of the challenges of being a solopreneur is getting people you deeply care about to pay for your services. You have to understand that your skills and time are valuable. If you dish them out for free, you are not going to be appreciated; and, people are not going to take you seriously.

Being a solopreneur can be overwhelming especially if you are a sensitive, compassionate person who easily gets distracted trying to help others. However, if you follow through on the points highlighted above, your business can begin to be more productive and profitable.

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