Time Management for Busy Home Business Owners

9 Tips to Make the Most of Your Time

work at home mom
••• JGI / Getty Images

Whether you run your home business full-time, part-time or alongside a job, managing your time, focus, and energy is crucial for success. There are so many tasks that go into starting, building and managing a home business that it can get overwhelming. Here are tips to help you keep your home business on track.

1. Set Goals

It’s hard to reach your goal if you’re not clear about what it is. Not only should you have a large goal, such as a yearly income amount or quit-job date, you should also have weekly and daily goals. This can include the number of personal contacts to make to potential customers or PR opportunities, blog posts, new social media contacts, or widgets (or whatever your produce) created.

2. Make the Time

It’s not realistic to think you can earn a living in a home business working during or baby's nap or fleeting pockets of time. You need to make time to if you plan to be a home business success. That means pulling out your calendar or planner and scheduling home business time. It doesn’t have to be regular 9 to 5, but you should have large blocks of time whether it’s two hours in the morning or four hours at night. You might have to give up activities in the short term, such as television watching or doing a hobby to make home business time.

3. Protect Your Time

Once you’ve set your home business time, don’t let friends or family keep you from working on what needs to be done. That means you need to say “no” when friends ask you out to coffee or kids want to play a game. Of course, if there is an emergency, you can provide assistance, but that’s the only reason to give up home business time. 

4. Know What You’re Going to Work On

There’s always a ton to do when building and running a home-based empire, but sometimes, you can sit at your desk and not be sure what you should be doing. Don’t let that happen. Your daily goals will help you know what sorts of activities to work on. Planning ahead, ideally the day before, will allow you jump right into your to-do list. Knowing what needs to be done allows you to get focused immediately and not waste time.

5. Don’t Waste Time

If you haven’t taken the time to plan your day, wasting time becomes every easy. But even with a plan, it’s easy to get distracted checking email, catching up on social media, organizing your desk, and getting other activities done to procrastinate. When it’s time to work, focus on work. If social media is part of your work, know what you’re going to go do (i.e. how many posts, shares, and comments), do it, and then get off. You can use a timer to make sure you don’t get sucked into drama or cute cat photos on social media.

6. Use Routines, Systems, and Tools

There aren't enough hours in a day to do everything that needs to be done in a home business, without a little bit of help. Routines make it easy to cruise through your day without having to stop and wonder what to do next or getting interrupted by distractions. Systems and tools help you get things done quicker, sometimes even automatically, freeing your time to focus on other tasks.

7. Delegate and Outsource

Similar to using systems and tools, delegating and outsourcing frees up your time by having other people take care of tasks. Enlisting your families help in taking care of the house and other family needs will give you more time on your home business. Hiring virtual assistant or contractors provide you help on activities that need to be done, but not necessarily by you. This allows you to focus on tasks that generate income. 

8. Plan to Market Every Day

Ultimately, the success of your home business is the result of selling what you’re offering whether it’s a product or service. But people can’t buy if they don’t know about you. So make marketing part of your daily to-do, as it will ensure you have a business to work on. It helps to create a marketing plan and use it to develop a list of daily and weekly tasks. A day shouldn’t go by in which you haven’t shared your business with the world.

9. Practice Self-Care

Starting a home business requires a great deal of mental energy. If you’re running your business alongside a job or raising children, you’re using mental and physical energy. The result can lead to stress and burnout. To avoid running out of steam before your business takes off, learn to take care of yourself by getting plenty of sleep, eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and taking short breaks throughout the day. And don’t forget to pamper yourself every-now-and-then.