If you have an online business, it just seems like there’s so much to do! Getting your website up and running and keeping it up to date, writing content, checking in with social media sites, learning about your business and the tech side of things, and on and on it goes. Every day is filled with new tasks that require time management, and sometimes, it’s darn right overwhelming!
I get that.
One thing I figured out is that I have ADD tendencies. I’ve not been
diagnosed, but in studying the disorder (because I used to write about
it a LOT), I’ve come to see that I have some of these same issues and my
biggest one used to be in regard to time management. Since many entrepreneurs have ADD, you may be struggling with some time management issues of your own.
I have the same problems as you do, but I don’t have the time management issues anymore. Why? Because in my 10th year of doing business online, I’ve learned a thing or two to make it easier on myself. I couldn’t have kept up the pace I started at, no matter how hard I tried. So, I had to adapt and figure out the best ways for me to handle what needed to be done and keeping myself sane at the same time.
Here are 6 of my secrets. Maybe one or two or all of them will help you, too:
- Learn to delegate and/or outsource
People with ADD have certain characteristics that cause them issues in business — procrastination and a low threshold for boredom are two of them. Of course, those aren’t the only issues involved with ADD, but these are particularly troublesome when trying to run a successful business.
- Don’t procrastinate. Just do whatever it is and get it off your mind. Procrastination only makes you guilty and uncomfortable while you’re wondering when you’ll ever get that task you hate to do done. Do it, relieve that feeling, and undo the pressure that’s emanating from YOU.
- Perform different tasks every day. Always start with the hard parts and then, as a reward for getting the grunt work done (grunt as in UGH), do things you like to do later in the day. This gives you a goal for the day and something to work toward. But the variety of tasks and looking forward to a reward are boredom crushers.
- Stop thinking you’re the only person that knows anything!
Needing to be in control is also an ADD trait. Train yourself to allow others to do what they know how to do better than you do! Yes, I know you’re really smart, but sometimes, you’re just not the brightest bulb in the room, no matter what your IQ is. And you have a admit that fact to YOURSELF.
One thing you don’t realize is that by projecting the image of the know-it-all and “I’m just smarter than you; deal with it,” you piss other people off. You make your staff feel terrible because they can’t meet your exquisite and sometimes ridiculous requirements you set them to, just so you can feel in control.
You have to trust the people that are working with you or for you. If you can’t trust them, then fire them and hire other people. Seriously! You need to be comfortable with turning things over to others. If you can’t, you’re just going to make yourself miserable and you will ultimately fail.
Give your employees/partners/staff you manage a chance to do things their way, even if they differ slightly on how you’d have done the task yourself. I’m not suggesting that it be a radical difference or something counter-productive, but sometimes, you just have to step back and say, “This could be a better way. Let’s give it a chance.” If you can’t do that, you shouldn’t be in business. Good management means delegation.
- Screen your calls
When I’m not busy, I pick up every single time the phone rings. I want to be right on top of my business and making my clients happy, but some of them are more needy than others. So, I allow the call to go to voice mail, even if it’s someone I like, and get the important stuff done first. Emergencies need to be addressed immediately, of course, but otherwise, your clients will overwhelm you and destroy you if you allow it. They WILL understand.
Use Google VoiceI love it because Google Voice allows me to screen my calls. If I pick up, it tells me who is calling and I can either answer or send the call to voice mail. It also gives me a written transcript of the message. That isn’t always clear, but you can probably get the gist or just listen to the message and see if there’s a fire or if it’s about something you can discuss later.
Every day, I have a routine for tasks that I know have to be finished before end of that day. You should have some kind of loose schedule where every day, you know what needs to be done. Schedule everything in! You need to be able to remember what to do when and to meet deadlines. I remember missing ONE because I had the flu. Otherwise, deadlines are sacrosanct to me. If I tell a client that something will be done by a certain day, it’s done.
But even if you’re working alone, you need to set deadlines for yourself.
I use Outlook Calendar, but you can use Google Calendar, Yahoo, or even 30 Boxes. Just be sure you’re getting reminders for the tasks that need to be done.
I also use Super Start, which is a Firefox add-on, along with my calendar. The notes section to the side holds all the little odds and ends, and reminds me that they are tasks waiting to be completed.
You can use a white board, too. I’ve found that keeping your “To-Dos” in front of your face constantly is a BIG help. Trying to keep everything you need to do in your mind will just make you crazy as your business continues to grow.
- Don’t cheap out
When you have things to do that you really hate to do? Hire someone else to do them.
That’s pretty much how MagnSites works. I work with a great team of writers, developers, graphic design artists, and copywriters to do the work for me, when I don’t want to do it. That way, I keep the stuff I enjoy doing and just pay someone else to do the rest — things that they like to do. It keeps your SANITY and you’re putting other people to work, too.
Some of you are new to online business and are probably starting small. I know I did. I had zero money to put into my new online business. So, when I managed to learn enough to make some money, I always kept some aside for advertising, paying taxes and for hiring people to do what I couldn’t or didn’t want to do. You should, too.
- Don’t be paralyzed by fear of success!
There have been times in life when I thought, “Wow… If I do A, I’m going to need to do B, which will lead to C and D and E. Do I really want to work that hard?” And inevitably, the answer my slightly ADD brain would say, “Hell no!”
But I was wrong to think that way.
Think about what your business model will be, and then charge! Never limit yourself by the fear of more work or less time or anything! You should want to be as successful as you can possibly be. Negative thinking is just paving your way to failure. Don’t do that to yourself!
Embrace every opportunity and you may be uncomfortable for a while, but you’ll be happier. One very smart person told me that if you’re not doing things that make you uncomfortable, you’re not growing and you’ll never be a success. I believe that with all my heart. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Even Richard Branson had to start somewhere.
I hope these tips will help you in your business. I’d love to know when something is working for you, or if you have another tactic, let me know in the comments below. Time management is killer for some folks. If it was for you and you’ve solved it, please feel free to share.