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Five tips for balancing your time like a pro

Tuesday, 5 November 2013 | By Nina Hendy

Working out how to balance your time so you get all those tasks done can be a job in itself. Here are some tips from some of the most time-poor jugglers of all – mumpreneurs.


Some of the most time-poor business people of all are mumpreneurs. These women know how to squeeze every spare minute out of their day, meaning they should be able to teach others in business a thing or two. Their approach to carving up their working day and the rest of the week makes balancing time look like a fine art.


1. Decide what your priorities are


The founder of personal coaching firm Hoogi, Dina Cooper, says deciding on what are the most important elements of your life is the first step to take.


Remember that the priorities might change day to day or week to week, depending on what’s happening, so be prepared to go with the flow.


“The crucial thing is that the list of what’s important to you is on the radar and not off in some pipe dream. Then you need to allocate some of your time each day to each priority,” Cooper says.


Healthy Life Coaching’s Aerlie Wildy sets goals and breaks them down into smaller income generating tasks. “Work through your plan so that you can be proactive instead of reactive, decide which opportunities you want to spend your time on and make progress in your business. This ensures the daily work that you do is much more strategic and efficient,” she says.


Setting boundaries for each task is also important, deciding how much time it will take and then scheduling in that time.


“This eliminates the perfectionism trait by forcing you to use what you have at the end of the period. It is so easy to keep working on a task, fiddling with text, layout, colour etc for hours but not actually being productive. It doesn’t always have to be perfect, it just has to be done,” Wildy says.


2. Work when at your peak


The co-owner of health and wellness business Sante Group, Angela Forbes, is a big advocate for working in peak energy times. “If it’s not coming together on a project, I step away and do something else in my life. It’s not always household chores, but exercise and relaxation.”


Sometimes, Forbes works in the early evenings.


“I don’t let myself feel guilty, either. There is no need to fit in with other pre-conceived ideas on how to run your life. Everyone has a unique set of circumstances and needs a unique arrangement to manage those needs,” Forbes says.


Forbes also has a delay on her email so that it only downloads at certain times of the day, and unlike so many who roll out of bed and check emails, she instead reads hers once the kids are sorted for school.


Sydney-based business consultant Catherine Taouk blocks her time into 90-minute sessions to ensure she fulfils everything she needs to get done during the day. She also starts her day at 5am, which she swears is easy when you do it for long enough that your body gets used to it.


“I get more done when the entire family is snoozing and the house is peaceful. I also have a strong support network, being able to call on family and friends to support when things pop up that may not be in the schedule,” Taouk says.


3. Rely on technology


Use technology to remind you of your daily tasks because when you’re swamped, chances are that things will slip your mind.


Hollie Drake-Brockman’s craft activities business, ZZ Totz, retails around the country. She sets reminders and alarms on her phone for all appointments, even picking up the kids, with at least an hour before the alert.


“This lets you know that this is coming up with enough time to finish off what you’re doing and you can get where you need to be without feeling rushed and flustered,” she says.


Spend some time searching the web every now and then to see if there are ways you can outsource not only aspects of your business, but also your life. A cleaner, a transcribing service, a copywriter or a gardening service can give you back valuable time in your life.


“I outsources everything I can to ensure I’m spending quality time with my kids and husband and still getting everything done to keep the household and businesses in order,” says Lisa Laing, who runs ecooriginals.com.au with her husband.


4. Plan ahead


Don’t get a shock when a deadline rolls around. Make the time to look ahead and plan for things you know will crop up in your business, such as seasonal peaks, tax time, school holidays and quieter periods.


The independent business owner of The Body Shop at Home, Christine Tylee, says planning ahead should apply to every aspect of your life.


“You should also set short-term, medium-term and long-term goals. Ensure these goals are linked and help to achieve the next goal,” Tylee says.


Having the ability to anticipate obstacles before they arise and plan meals at home by cooking large batches of food can help you get through those really busy days.


Carrying a calendar at all times can help ensure you don’t overcommit, suggests Girl PR founder Juliet Potter. She recommends downloading a good calendar app onto your phone or having a diary at hand so you can check other commitments before saying yes.


“Needless to say, the iPhone has changed my life. However, I set aside two days a week for meetings with people and have made clear and set guidelines to separate my home and family commitments to work. I also like to confirm all meetings on a Friday night for the following week,” Potter says.


5. Make yourself accountable


Telling others what your plans are for your business always helps make you accountable. It works for Kendall Seddon, who is behind the eco-friendly baby products company LittleShoppers.


“Make sure your partner, business partner, mentor or friends know your goals and plan for your business, and ask them to help keep you accountable,” Seddon says.


“I’ve found that accountability is the key to taking action, and without action, your business won’t grow.”