I remember when I began my first business. There were just not enough hours in the day. And this was true for each of the 7 days of the week. My daughter was only 3 months old when I started that business. I was not working outside of the home.
I was now looking at needing time to be a mom to my newborn daughter, be a daughter to my two wonderful parents, be a wife to my husband, take care of the household and now run a business.
Unfortunately, as is often the case, my business was the only entity not suffering from time neglect. I was working 80 to 100 hours per week on this business. I seldom spoke to friends. I was constantly saying no to social invitations. My husband and I were fast becoming strangers. I was also missing out on quality time with my daughter as her dad took over bath time, bed time and even weekend time.
Then I discovered day planners. I was now scheduling everything. By using a day planner I discovered I actually had time to say yes to some of those social invitations. I had time to visit with my parents at least once a week. I had time to spend with my husband and I took back some nights with my daughter, bathing her and putting her to bed at night.
This day planner worked wonderfully all through my next pregnancy and the years that followed. I was able to volunteer at school, go on field trips and still run a successful business.
I remember when my daughter was a teenager, she knew the rules. “If you want me there, you need to put it into my day planner”. I recall she and I battled one day as she felt it was silly for a teenager to have to schedule time with mom. She was right that it does sound silly, however if she wanted me at her school, if she needed me to drive carpool, if she wanted me to attend a meeting, or even if she wanted to schedule in a lunch, if she wrote it in my day planner, it was going to happen. She began really hearing her friend’s complaints of moms who worked too much, had too many meetings and had no time for their daughters. These moms did not use day planners like I did. These women were not being able to find time to give to their daughters. I was often driving their children to events as they couldn’t find the time.
I scheduled my business time too. I knew which days/hours were going to be spent marketing, talking with customers, talking with team members etc. When you keep track of your time in writing, in a day planner, it is so much easier to fit it all in. I scheduled several times per day to check email and return phone calls. It truly is easier to answer 5 calls back to back versus stopping what you’re doing to answer the phone 5 different times.
One area that was troubling to me was reading. I had a huge list of books that had been recommended to me and yet I was not finding the time to read them. One mentor said “can you find 10 minutes per day?” I laughed. “I’m the queen of day planners, or course I can find 10 minutes a day, why?” He went on to explain that 10 minutes per day reading came out to over an hour per week, over 4 hours per month. He felt quite confident that spending just 10 minutes per day would have me finishing about one book per month. This was so easy to schedule in. I left home 10 minutes early to pick my daughter up from school. I spent those 10 extra minutes either in the car reading, or I’d sit on the grass when the weather was nice and use those 10 minutes to read. I began getting through that list of books and loved what I was learning.
My kids are both older now. While they were young, having a day planner helped me have it all, a successful business and plenty of time with my family.
Audrey Okaneko has worked from home since 1983. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or visited at www.recipe-barn.com