Using a List to Manage Time

Originally Posted on September 19, 2012

Are you skilled at time management?  Many of us need help managing time.  With so many distractions, particularly with the growth of social media, keeping on task can be difficult.

In my own business, I find one of the best ways to keep organized is to keep a running list of things I need to do or accomplish.  As I finish a task, I cross it off.  Simple.  This list keeps me accountable as to projects I want or need to complete.  My list helps me set goals for the hours, the day, the week and so on.

My lists are usually multi-tiered based on priority of the project.  Each project may also have its own list of items to be completed. By setting more appropriate goals (such as a portion of a project to be completed), it will be easier to manage your time and the large task will not seem as daunting.

Another issue that can affect time-management is interruptions:  clients drop in, the phone keeps ringing, you have a personal emergency.  These unplanned events can quickly turn your well-planned day upside down.  For me, this makes having a list even more important.  Despite numerous distractions, I can still identify exactly what I need to get done by looking at what remains on the list.  It’s ok to not finish everything you planned to accomplish in one day, in fact, that is the nature of business.  Change is constant and the ability to redirect and regroup your efforts is priceless.

The list also identifies tasks that are not getting completed due to a lack of time.  I may simply not have the time I once had to complete a task or project or, more likely, I am wasting too much time doing something I should simply hire someone else to do for me.  As a small business owner, I have many, many jobs but do I really need to be an accountant or web designer?  Do I need to be the cleaner?  If your tasks are not getting completed, consider delegating the task to another employee or outsourcing someone to do it for you.  Your time is money.

The Female Entrepreneur – from a Mother’s Perspective

I am a woman. I am a mother. And, I have launched businesses. I would like to say I am no different from any other entrepreneur but I feel I am…somewhat. We all have our own challenges. As a mother, I also need to consider my children and my spouse. My decisions also affect them.

Female entrepreneurs often face additional challenges not faced by their male counterparts. Many businesses started by females do not scale. The business world does not see females on an equal level. At a recent roundtable of female entrepreneurs (most, if not all, without children), I heard a variety of reasons for lack of women operated start-ups including females not being taken seriously unless they approach business with a “bitch-like attitude” and a lack of female mentors.

But for the mother entrepreneur, we have additional issues.

While we can be ready, willing and able to move forward with our project, to take calculated risks, to explore new options, we also have to think about our families, particularly if our business will be the sole income for the family.

With family and kids, our primary need is often food and shelter for our children, We tend to play it more conservatively, taking the path of less risk, less opportunity. Why, because as primary caregivers, we need to make sure our dependents will be provided for and taken care of. This puts pressure on the female entrepreneur not faced by those without children. In addition, we are dealing with school issues, health issues, and other household matters. It is no wonder that the thought of scaling our businesses is often feared, Scaling may mean increased risk or simply too much time away from family.

The female entrepreneur with kids (before business launch) is more likely to put aside her dreams or goals in favour of stable finances and health care versus untold risk.  We have a need to ‘protect’ our family.

Mothers may always be more reluctant to take risks but by offering support and guidance, we can encourage them to move forward with bigger projects and scale.  When we empower women, particularly mothers, we empower our future generations by showing them anything is possible.