Six ways mums can find more time to work on their business

Got a great business idea but no idea how you’ll find the time to make it happen? Here are six ways mums can find more time to work on their business.

We know exactly how it feels to have a business idea, but be time poor. When we launched Talented Ladies Club, we had three children (two just three years old and not in full time childcare), two homes and two freelance careers between us to juggle.

And yet we managed to carve out the time to plan, design, write and launch Talented Ladies Club in just four months. How? By prioritising our business when necessary, giving up things that took up valuable free time, and working efficiently in the time we did have.

So we passionately feel that mums can find the time and energy to work on their ambitions. But sometimes you need a bit of help working out how to. And to help you, Jocasta Tribe from Marketing for Mums shares six ways that work for her.

The issue of time always creeps in

In every conversation involving a mum, the issue of time creeps in somewhere. Mums are dashing here, there and everywhere, trying to juggle it all. We want to work hard, earn a living and feel the gratification of succeeding, but our work days are… how do we describe it… bumpy.

If we work at home it’s easy to be distracted by our list of house jobs; the washing, the ironing, the tidying, the postman delivering a parcel….arggghhh! If we head to the office, we dash to catch buses and trains or battle with rush hour traffic and just about make it back in time to collect our little people from nursery, school or clubs and to start the dinner-bath-bed routine.

Yep, this stuff is tough.

Six ways mums can find more time to work on their business

Still, mums do run successful businesses. They they eke out the time they need and dedicate themselves to making it work. From chatting to many business mums, here are six top tips to help you cut through the clutter, manage your time more efficiently and make it happen.

1) Plan your week

Don’t stumble into your working week blindly. Instead, plan out your week before Sunday ends. That way you go into the working week focused, in charge and committed to your business and clients.

It also means that you can ensure you’re working on tasks that get you closer to where you need to be in the little time you may have available, and aren’t tempted to procrastinate on time wasting jobs.

2) Set goals

Stay focused on your goals. Firstly your big picture goal of what it is you are trying to achieve, and secondly your daily, weekly, monthly objectives. I recently read about someone writing their main business goal at the top of their to do list each day; what a great idea!

Be concise with your to-do list, too. Don’t sit staring at a list as long as your arm – that’s far too overwhelming and distracting. Maybe have a master to do list, but only transfer an achievable amount of actions to your daily to do list. If you think you have time for five tasks, don’t add six. The feeling of achieving five and then going in search of number six is much more rewarding.

(The most powerful to-do list we’ve ever come across is the Success List. Find out how to write a Success List here.)

3) Be realistic

As carefully as you try to plan your week, there’s always an unexpected spanner in the works that stops you being as productive as you’d hoped; a sick child, a household drama or a sudden work deadline.

So allocate yourself more work hours in your week than you need to. If you have 15 hours of paid work, allocate 20 hours. That way, if something happens you’ll have time up your sleeve.

And don’t over commit yourself. Get comfortable saying “no” to people, invitations and jobs that take you away from the time you’d set aside for your business.

4) Work on your work

Remove distractions and focus on your work. If you work from home, try to eliminate any potential interruptions in advance. Don’t do four loads of washing on the days you work from home. Don’t start your online supermarket shop. Don’t start browsing for a birthday present. Don’t do anything but work!

Each non-work task (however quick it may be) takes your time and attention away from your work. And collectively they shave significant time from your working day. So forget anything that doesn’t help you tick tasks off your Success List.

Similarly if you work in an office, be strict with meetings. Are they essential (to find out, use this flowchart)? Can they be covered with a phone call or email chat?

5) Be accountable

Whether you work alone or lead a team, it’s good to be accountable to someone. You can’t drift along talking the talk but not actually doing it if you have someone who you’re accountable to.

Who that person is, is entirely up to you. A business coach, a group of like-minded business mums, another business owner, even a friend will do. (The TLC Business Club on Facebook also has weekly accountability posts!)

I have an ambitious relative who religiously meets a friend every month to review their goals together. I follow a number of blogs that talk about amoung other things how to stay on track through ongoing connections with a women in business coaching group. This stuff really works.

6) Segment

Don’t just waft through each week hoping time to work on your business will magically appear. Instead, before it starts, segment your week into blocks of time. Ensure you map out quality time for you personally and for spending with those who you love. (And if you really want to maximise your work time, try using Focus Blocks.)

And most of all, give yourself a break. You are already doing brilliantly and succeeding. I’m sure you will have plenty of amazing time saver tips of your own to share too.

Read more advice about starting a business

It might be tough starting a business while working and raising a family, but it IS possible! You can read more practical advice to help you here:

Jocasta Tribe is the founder of Marketing for Mums.