Time is a precious commodity, especially when you’re a small business owner and it feels like there are always a million things to do.
“Most small business owners don’t build time into their workdays for things that are not just run, run, run for the business,” Laura Vanderkam, time-management expert and author of “I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time,” tells Business Insider.
While the core production of doing things for your business will obviously take up the majority of your day, Vanderkam says it’s also vital to make time for other high-value items, like networking, building skills, interacting with employees, and leisure.
While this routine may not be right for everyone, Vanderkam’s sample schedule is a good jumping-off point for fitting it all in when you own a small business:
6 a.m.: Wake up, throw on your gym shorts, and work out
Recent research out of Belgium suggests that working out early in the morning -- before you've eaten breakfast -- doesn't just help you meet your fitness goals, but could even give you more energy than those few extra minutes of shut-eye.
8:30 a.m.: Do the most important stuff
The first thing in the workday is your core production time, when you should focus on the day-to-day priorities that need to get done for your business to stay afloat.
12:30 p.m.: Eat a social lunch
Any business is people-dependent, and you need to eat a balanced lunch to maintain your energy levels anyway, so you may as well try to get the most out of that time.
Use your lunch break to cement relationships with people you know or would like to get to know better, whether they be employees or people outside your business.
1:30 p.m.: Grow your business or yourself.
This could mean learning a new skill, boning up on what you already know, or finding new work or projects you can take on.
2:30 p.m. Make yourself more visible.
You may already have help with social media, but every small-business owner needs to think about how you're perceived by the rest of the world.
Mentoring and giving back to the community are a couple of good ways to build your external career capital.
3:30 p.m.: Take a walk
Getting natural sunlight and a little exercise are great ways to boost alertness and add to your energy level during your midday break.
4 p.m.: Leave this time open.
Things will crop up throughout the day that need dedicated time for addressing -- now's the time to mop up anything that needs attending to.
5 p.m.: Plan for what's ahead.
Figure out your top-three priorities for the next day and if you need to realign anything. Or, if you plan to do work later in the evening, know ahead of time your strategy for getting it done efficiently.
8:30 p.m.: Log back on, briefly.
Some small business owners, and working people in general, find it hard to completely log off after work. Take an hour for mop-up work, creative thinking, or reading for work.
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