Entrepreneurs are prone to suffering from mental health problems. One study found that 72% have problems with depression and fatigue. Some of these problems stem from poor time management. Mompreneurs can be at a higher risk of these problems, because they are compounded with the exhaustion of being a parent.
If you are a mother and own a business, you should learn to manage your time better to avoid these problems.
My own anecdote for mompreneurs
I experienced this first-hand. I started a couple of businesses in college, but I didn’t really take my entrepreneurial career seriously until I finished graduate school. After I graduated, I moved back into my parents’ home and decided to invest everything I had in my startup.
I was dedicating 70 hours a week to my business. This isn’t that unusual, because the New York Enterprise Report shows business owners work twice as much as other workers. I was proud of how hard I was working. I got a lot of validation from my friends and family for being a hard worker. Unfortunately, my pride and external validation did not pay the bills.
I spent several months spinning my wheels without making any money. My perspective changed when I was urgently in need of a revenue source. A couple of friends invited me to move across the country to live with them in California. Since I was no longer living with my parents, I needed to focus on making money. I could no longer afford to spend countless hours on a business with a little payoff.
The sense of urgency forced me to change my business model. Then I started actually seeing a return on my investment. Within a few months, I was working half as many hours and actually making a livable income.
Mompreneurs should learn from my experience. Keep in mind that I did not have children, so I could afford to be little more liberal with my time. If you are running a business as a mother, you need to maintain a better work-life balance. You want to learn from my early mistakes.
How people fall into the trap of being busy instead of being productive
I made the mistake that many business owners make. I conflated being busy with being productive. There are a couple of reasons that entrepreneurs make this mistake.
They are often coming from the corporate world.
People with a day job are under constant pressure to keep themselves busy to avoid getting yelled at by their boss or terminated. New entrepreneurs are not used to needing to monitor the outcomes of their own work.
Our society has developed an unhealthy obsession with hard work.
Don’t get me wrong – hard work is important. The problem is that society often prioritizes hard work over measurable results. We have an irrational admiration for people that put in 60 hours a week, even if they are earning less money than their peers.
Getting yourself burnt out can discourage you from working on harder, more important tasks.
I can attest to this from personal experience. When you get burnt out from working so many hours, you’re not going to have as much energy to tackle more complicated problems that you need to deal with to reach your important milestones. You are going to shortchange yourself by keeping yourself busy working on mundane, on important tasks instead.
Get your priorities in line
Success in business does not come easily. Unfortunately, hard work alone is not going to be enough. You need to work both smart and hard.
The most important thing that you can do is make a list of priorities. You need to have a list of both important and urgent priorities. This may sound up redundant, so let me clarify the difference:
- Urgent priorities need to be dealt with as soon as possible. These include paying invoices, preparing your facilities for an audit and coming up with a pitch for a meeting with a client.
- Important priorities are necessary for the long-term outlook of your business. Some of your important priorities are also urgent. However, many of them are not on any timetable. You are responsible for completing them, even if there isn’t a major deadline.
Once you have made a list of priorities, it is your responsibility to make sure they are completed on schedule. You need to rank your priorities and focus on the most important ones first. Start with the urgent priorities that can’t be delayed. Then prioritize the most important ones.
Once you have outlined your priorities, you will realize that there is more than enough to keep you busy. You won’t need to keep bending over to find busywork to do. You will also realize that you can’t be using busy work as an excuse to avoid working on more important tasks.