To stay focused on what you want to achieve, it’s important to have personal and business goals. You can use words or visuals – whatever will keep you motivated and moving forward, one day at a time.
You also need to understand that everything (everything!) happens so much more slowly in business with a baby. Do not expect too much of yourself – especially in the early days. Make sure that when you set your yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily goals and tasks, you are flexible enough to be able to change them.
There three key aspects to maintaining balance as a business owner and present parent.
- Focus and clarity
Thinking about your new identity as mum and your new multiple roles, ask yourself:
- Why are you in business? Knowing your “why” will help you to form your personal goals.
- What do you want to achieve with your business? This will help you to form your business goals, that should also be in line with your personal goals.
- How much time will you be giving your business? Be realistic with this.
- Are your personal and business goals written down and within view? Put them on your bathroom mirror, desk or computer so you’re reminded of them daily. On the hard days, this will help keep you focused on why you are doing what you are doing.
- What mantras or motivational sayings can you use to stay focused?
- Taking into account the time you have, do you have realistic timelines for the achievement of your goals? How will you break them down so that you will not be overwhelmed and can maintain focus on continuing to achieve? Set deadlines for completing tasks but also understand that you need to allow yourself timeline flexibility if you are required to be mum.
- How will you remain focused on daily or weekly tasks that help you to achieve your goals?
- What is your fall-back plan? Things change with babies; they get sick, they need you… What will you build into your plan to ensure that you can still achieve what you need to and be there for your baby?
- Systems and processes
Thinking about your business life, your family life and your personal needs, identify all of the tasks that you currently do more than once. Then consider:
- Can you automate it?
- Can you outsource it? Write a process and then get someone else to do it.
- Can you develop a system that reduces the time it takes for you to do the task? Write a list or use an app to help.
- Time management
Even great time managers struggle when they have a baby! So take heart; the best news is that you can learn to manage your time better.
Track your time
The first step is to work out what you are doing with your time. To do this, keep a log of how you spend your time for a couple of. Then review it and keep measuring it at regular intervals throughout the year.
Schedule life and business
Start a diary or calendar for you and your family – paper or electronic, whichever works for you. I recommend putting everything that you do into your calendar, including recurring commitments and one-off events – cleaning, meal planning, bills due, work appointments and tasks, kids’ parties, classes and personal appointments. Schedule the days in which you have your child in care (so that you can focus on your business), and make sure that you use this time well. In this dedicated time, train yourself to stay focused and task-oriented.
I hope that I’ve inspired you to sit down and reflect on the importance of developing and managing your business. Having focus, creating systems and managing your time are key to your success. Consider reviewing your business plan (or creating one), and ensure it fits with “why you are in business” and “what you want to achieve”.
Rachel Allan, marketing consultant and author of “When Business Meets Baby”