Not too terribly long ago, I wrote a post about how to avoid becoming overwhelmed by the many responsibilities that come with being a small business owner
. Although I typically do really well at juggling all my obligations, I must confess to you that, at one point last week, I felt completely at capacity and stressed. It lasted for about a day and a half until I finally snapped out of my “poor me persona”. At that point, I decided to remove myself emotionally from the situation and enter into “the zone” (the analytical zone, that is) to find out if I was really as strapped for time as I thought I was. I’ll share the results in a bit, but first here’s the exercise, step-by-step, that I recommend you follow if you’re ever feeling backed up against the wall.
Step 1: Calculate how many hours are in a week. Heck, I’ll do it for you: There are 168. It’s the same for you, me and everyone else on the planet.
Step 2: List the major categories of responsibilities, commitments and tasks that are part of your world. Mine went like this:
- My freelance work (billable and non-billable projects & tasks)
- My volunteer work (SCORE Lancaster, Downtown Ephrata, Inc, Girl Scouts, church)
- Family & friends (helping with homework, recreational activities, hanging out…)
- Tasks on the home front (cooking, cleaning…)
- Working out
Step 3: Write down how many hours weekly you devote to each item on your list. In some cases – such as family and sleep – you might want to write down how many hours you want to spend rather than how many you’re currently carving out.
Step 4: Calculate your weekly total: Add up the hours you’re spending on all of the responsibilities you listed.
Step 5: Determine if you have enough time for it all. Subtract your weekly total in Step 4 from the 168 hours in Step 1. That’s how many hours you have remaining each week after you’ve taken care of all your obligations.
I’m venturing to guess that your final calculation left you with more hours than you thought you had. To my surprise, I found that I have about 15 hours of time that’s unspoken for each week. It sure doesn’t feel that way! Which leads me to question, “Why?” Although I haven’t completely figured that out yet, I’m sure it has something to do with room for efficiency in scheduling my work and staying focused on tasks at hand rather than succumbing to distractions that interrupt productivity.
I’ll be working on that, but for now, I’m feeling much more in control knowing that I do have time to do all the things I have my sights set on.
My hope is that doing the math will give you peace of mind, too!
How much time did find that you didn’t know you had? If you ended up in the negative, what will get shoved off your plate first?
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