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Someone in my bookkeeping group wrote “I didn’t want to work a 9:00 to 5:00 job, so I started a business and now I work 24/7" this really hit home for me. I started my business to achieve a lifelong dream and still be able to homeschool both my kids. It seemed like the perfect idea. After just a few weeks I realized that the dream of working from home was more of a nightmare. I was consistently at my computer trying to get something off the ground and felt like I was getting nowhere. The dishes were piling up until I had nothing to cook on, the kids were in front of the TV way too much, and my husband was feeling like I replaced him with a job.
I am sure that most (if not all) business owners have been there, especially when first starting up. It didn’t take me long to realize that I couldn’t keep that pace up. I was exhausted both mentally and physically. To make matters worse I felt like a horrible mom that couldn’t take care of her kids. Something had to change, but what could I do? If I gave up, my dream would never come true, but if I kept going, I couldn’t homeschool my kids. For me personally neither option was going to happen, I had to find a way to make it work.
I sat down at my computer one day and sobbed into my keyboard, I had had enough and needed a solution. There had to be a way to make it work. So, I did what any business owner would do in my position, I googled it (lol!). I was searching for some system, coach, or truly anything that would help my predicament. I found a business coach, that was the single best purchase I have ever made in my business. Within that group of like-minded people and a few one-on-one visits going over my problem we came up with a solution. A timer…
Not the answer you were looking for? It wasn’t what I was thinking either, but this simple timer (that is now always on my desk) has literally saved my life. You see, my schedule is constantly changing I have two younger kids, so their needs change from day to day. Sometimes we have bible study and other times we are running to gymnastics. So, setting a routine to follow every day wasn’t an option for me, I also had to make sure to follow North Dakota laws regarding homeschooling. Homeschooling regulations vary a lot depending on the state you are in and if anyone wants to know more about homeschooling give me a call, I am happy to talk, but for now all you need to know is that I am required to teach for 4 hours per day.
Between meals, homeschool hours, extra curriculars, cleaning and making sure I scheduled in family time (after closing) that left me with about 2-3 hours per day for work. Yes, that isn’t much time but it can be done, with a lot of help from my employees. I focus on the special tasks while I train my employees to take over the regular daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. We work as a team to make sure everyone is taken care of, but I digress. The point is that I need to make the most of that time, so when I sit down to work, I set my timer for 3 hours and once that 3 hours is over, I move on to a different task. I do this same system for almost every task in my day. When that timer goes off, I simply finish the task I was on and shut down my computer.
The funny thing is that when I started doing this, I actually became more productive, because I knew that I didn’t have much time, so I needed to stay focused and get the work done. Now, my work life is more fulling and my kids are doing amazing in school activities. Life feels more balanced and my husband feels more loved. It is so funny how something as simple as a timer can make such a huge difference.
It also had another interesting consequence; I was much happier. You would think that this was because I found the balance but really it was more because I could turn my brain off once in a while. When that timer went off, I didn’t have to think about work anymore, of course there was still the occasional phone call, but 90% of the time I could put it out of my mind. This gave my brain a much-needed break which gave me more energy and put me in a better mood. So, even though I was still working non stop I wasn’t tired, I was energized and excited for another day.
Why is this a problem in the first place? Most of us have families and they are often the reason (or at least part of the reason) we started our business. So why is it that our businesses tend to take over our world? I think it has a lot to do with our expectations. We all (myself included) often want instant results and want to make money quickly and easily. Well, I am sorry to say that if that is your expectation then running a business is not the right path for you. Starting a business takes patients and often times means not taking a paycheck from it for a year or two. In fact, a business that makes profit in the first year is considered a success story.
Keep that in mind the next time you feel like you aren’t making any progress and start to stress about the amount of work that needs done. Building a business doesn’t have to happen overnight, it takes time, practice and a lot of learning. The next time you feel stressed, set your timer and enjoy the break once it goes off!
Remember, we are all here for you and want to see you succeed in your business. Join our community to find more on this subject and hear from other business owners going through the same thing on our Facebook page. We can’t wait to hear about your success!
3433 112w Ave SE
Valley City, ND 58072