- Why do the self-employed and business owners work more hours?
- How can this pressure lead owners to burnout?
- How Can Business Owners Better Manage Their Time to Avoid Burnout
Q: Why is time management so important for small business owners?
A: Time management is vital to the self-employed because it keeps their business growing and prevents burnout. This article explains why in detail.
It’s gotten more and more popular for people to leave their jobs and choose to work for themselves.
The benefits of this career switch range from setting your own schedule and picking your own clients to determine where you will be working from and how much you charge.
In addition to this, being self-employed provides workers the ability to create an environment that is conducive to their productivity.
It’s quite the privilege to dictate your work environment, as it adds to your ability to complete tasks and other work obligations.
The downside of this is that working at home you’re tempted with a series of distractions.
In fact, business owners are more likely to work more hours than other workers.
According to the Gallup Poll, self-employed workers are most likely to work 60 hours a week on average in comparison to traditional employees who average 35 – 44 hours a week.
Are you a small business owner looking for ways to be more productive?
- Do the Self-Employed Work More?
- How to Better Manage Your Time
- How Will Time Management Help Your Business?
Why Are Small Business Owners Working So Much?
People who are self-employed were found to work more hours than those in traditional careers, according to expert Michael Martin of NPR. Why is that?
One of the reasons has to do with the inability to prioritize and deprioritize tasks.
Forbes explains the importance of prioritizing time as it pertains to an entrepreneur’s ability to understand which tasks come first, how much time to allocate to each task, and how to delegate to others in the business to efficiently move it forward.
By taking on every task without assessing its importance and urgency, you can fall into burnout. This can result in missing deadlines, lackadaisical mistakes, and overall poor performance.
One of the ways experts encourage people to avoid burnout is to establish boundaries surrounding work.
Setting time limits on work and planning out intentional downtime are great ways to combat anxiety and stress. Saying no to redundant or unprofitable work affirms these boundaries and increases the quality and productivity of your work
Another reason the self-employed work more hours has to do with the many “hats” they wear within their business. Unlike a traditional corporation, it’s common for an entrepreneur to have to oversee many functions of their business.
Many entrepreneurs and small business owners find themselves under immense stress because of the lack of resources to aid them in their journey to success.
Instead of being solely focused on marketing and sales, they may find themselves handling distribution, project management, and other responsibilities in order to ensure the success of their business.
This can eventually result in using shortcuts to complete tasks, ultimately preventing them from giving their best efforts towards their businesses.
Another reason why the self-employed may find themselves working more hours is because of the lack of time management skills the individual may possess. As an entrepreneur, it’s imperative for you to make a conscious effort when determining the tasks that must be done and the specific time period in which they must be completed.
Doing so minimizes the chance of having too many tasks to complete and not enough time to do so. It makes it easier to distinguish the important tasks from the unproductive ones, thus improving your time management skills.
How Can the Self-Employed Better Manage Their Time?
As an entrepreneur or self-employed person, you determine how every part of your business operates.
It’s imperative to understand how to develop, allocate, delegate, and complete tasks in order for your business to grow and thrive. Without time management skills, it will be difficult to manage daily tasks and responsibilities within your business.
Find yourself struggling to develop better time management skills?
Here are 5 ways to help increase productivity within your daily work routine.
- Recognize that an Adjustment Needs to Be Made
Change cannot occur until you are able to come to terms with what needs to be fixed. Once you accept it, take inventory of all the factors that play a role in tasks not being completed.
Eradicate them from your daily work routine and replace them with the following skills that have been proven to increase productivity within the work schedule.
- Create a Schedule and Stick to It
Having a daily plan of action cuts down on the stress and keeps you focused on what needs to be done. Doing so allows you to move more efficiently and effectively throughout your day.
- Break Down Each Task into 25-Minute Increments
Also known as the Pomodoro Technique, this is highly recommended for entrepreneurs and other self-employed individuals who are looking to increase their focus on a task.
Spending only 25 minutes at a time on a task reinforces focus within the individual and eliminates all possible distractions.
- Recognize Where You Need to Delegate
It’s okay to need assistance! Investing in outsourcing is a great way to take the stress off of you and allow someone more qualified to handle that specific task instead.
At the end of the day, as long as the job is done as accurately and efficiently as possible, everybody wins.
- Utilize Technology for Organization
Technology can be a friend or foe to the small business owner – depending on how it is used. Some organizational apps and platforms seemingly add work and tedium to the endless entrepreneur to-do list.
A Plethora of Apps for Projects and Task Management
Don’t be afraid to use the tools necessary to help remain focused and get tasks done. There are a plethora of tools that can be used to aid in one’s time management skills such as:
This is a tool that many freelancers and self-employed workers use for notetaking and organizing.
Once saved in the app, it can be accessed on any device you own – smartphone, tablet, or desktop. Evernote has different plans and features that you can use to help create notes and presentations, which are all based on what you need in your specific profession.
TextExpander is a tool that is used to place content that you have previously created. This application is used as a word processor across popular software such as Mac, Windows, and iOS.
TextExpander can be installed for a single user or a team under various subscription plans and additional features.
An example of a feature under TextExpander is Grammarly. Grammarly is a tool used to proofread any and all spelling and grammatical errors found in copy such as texts, emails, and papers. It also explains to you the meaning behind a certain error as well.
FocusBooster is an app used to help freelancers and other self-employed individuals to remain disciplined with their time.
This tool helps to exercise that with the Pomodoro technique, which gives you 25-minute intervals to work on a task with a 5-minute break between.
To further keep you accountable, FocusBooster keeps track of your progress automatically and provides statistics on how to improve your productivity.
They have Free, Individual, and Professional plans to choose from, as well as the option to try the Professional plan for a 30 day trial period.
Freedom is another time management tool that increases productivity by blocking whichever websites, apps, or devices for a time period of your choosing.
Once you input your choices and set them on the calendar, it becomes easier to focus and complete tasks without the constant distractions and interruptions. To download, you have the option of using the free trial version or signing up for a monthly payment fee.
Hootsuite is a tool that can be used to publish or send off messages, tweets, social media, or blog posts while you work on the next one. It gives you the opportunity to schedule online publishing on many different platforms, including audio and video.
It also helps to boost traffic and increase customer engagement if you have an online presence. Hootsuite has a free and paid version based on your needs.
Ohdontforget is a free app that reminds you of your daily tasks through text messages. This app makes it easier to add tasks to your schedule and send reminders to your clients regardless of the different time zones.
MindMeister is a project management tool that allows you to create mind maps and plans on your phone. They are also accessible on Windows, macOS, or Linux.
MindMeister allows you to share, edit and present to others on the free iOS and Android apps. There are four pricing levels that are accessible for every budget.
Airtable is another time management tool that is used to keep up with calendar events or tasks, editing, and other forms of collaboration. It allows you to integrate whatever tools are necessary to complete and implement multiple projects.
In terms of financing, there are four affordable payment options that allow you to grow and add additional features to your subscription.
Zoom is a communication app that provides audio and video meetings internationally. It includes ‘video, web, group collaboration, and security features for free. They have a free Basic plan that includes unlimited one-on-one meetings and 40-minute group meetings with up to a hundred participants. Zoom also has three paid plans which include assigned schedulers and cloud recording.
Prioritize Downtime Within Your Daily Schedule
It can be so easy to fall into the trap of working all the time. Without adequate rest, burnout becomes more evident in your work and your personal life.
Burnout causes you to be less efficient within your workflow and prolongs tasks. This can be avoided by making sure your rest or downtime is included in your daily schedule as if it were another task on your to-do list.
What Are the Benefits of Better Managing Your Time?
Time management is an incredibly important skill to have as a self-employed individual. The ability to manage your schedule allows you to accomplish more and reach your goals faster. In a lot of cases, having good time management skills is the deciding factor between one’s success and one’s downfall.
Managing your time also allows you to plan your day with a sense of how long each task will take to be completed. Without being able to properly do so, you increase your chances of being unproductive, overwhelmed, and burnout from everyday tasks.
So as a self-employed business owner, why should you learn how to manage your time better? Choosing to work on your time management skills provides the opportunity to:
Having good time management skills increases productivity by prioritizing tasks and limiting distractions.
By increasing productivity, you also gain a better understanding of your priorities as a self-employed person. Doing so allows you to focus on what truly matters.
That said, it is imperative that you become selective about where your focus is going. If not, you can easily fall into the trap of excessive multitasking without understanding the purpose behind your hard work.
We have all been guilty of falling into the trap of procrastination. There are several reasons why someone may procrastinate.
One common reason is an undesirable task being pushed further and further down the list.
Continuing to put off tasks decreases productivity and performance. Developing time management skills makes it easier to combat procrastination by setting aside enough time to figure out how to complete a task.
By setting aside time, you also gain the opportunity to ask for help if you are unsure of how to handle the task yourself.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by a list of responsibilities and feel like there are not enough hours to accomplish everything. Managing your time requires you to remain disciplined throughout the day.
One way to decrease anxiety is to delegate the amount of time needed to complete a task and remove all distractions that may hinder you from doing so. Honor the time you’ll need to tackle everything and your stress will decrease as you proceed.
The more time you allow yourself to complete a task, the higher your quality of work and the less likelihood you’ll be stressed while doing it.
This also allows you to rest and retain energy to continue being productive for tomorrow’s to-do list.
The more you assess how much time it takes to complete each task, the higher your quality of work.
Doing so allows you to perform well and build confidence in your abilities. In turn, you’ll accomplish goals on a consistent basis.
In the work world, being able to consistently perform well establishes you as a reliable worker and entrepreneur. Having a great reputation creates more opportunities for you to expand your business.
One way to increase your professional business image is your business address. If your office address is your home – or on the road – you might consider a virtual office address to give your small business more credibility.
Alliance Virtual Offices offers small business owners the solution to having a reputable, professional, and commercial office address – no matter where you do business on a daily basis. Save time and learn more about how a virtual office address can help.
Self-employment can be a great move career-wise if you possess the necessary willpower and discipline to do so.
That said, without proper time management skills, you become more susceptible to procrastination, stress, feelings of overwhelm and hopelessness, and continued unproductivity.
Combating such emotions is very much possible by learning time management skills. Doing so allows your quality of work to increase and reduces the stress you feel while working.
Prioritizing tasks by urgency and importance, utilizing apps and timers to manage productivity in time intervals, and making time to rest and unwind between and after tasks can all help you manage your time better.
If you’re looking for a way to make your work environment less distracting so you can better manage your time, Alliance Virtual Offices coworking spaces are here to help. You’ll retain all the flexibility of self-employment while gaining access to a dedicated workspace.