Running a business with a young family I’ve realised the importance of routine. I’ve always disliked routines because, for me, it creates limitations in creative thinking. However, running a business with 2 kids under 4 (both not in child care) I’ve realised without a routine, I will never efficiently use my time to achieve business goals. If the business fails, it would have been my fault for not being able to commit the time I needed in order for the business to succeed.
Dragging kids to the office, or knowing you need to be in and out quickly, means when you are at work you may not be focusing on the things that matter. Generally, you will be swayed to work on things that provide quick wins (like paying bills, filing, updating reports). Unfortunately, while quick wins are great, our time is better spent on problems (whether big or small) that directly impact efficiency and productivity in the business. This is where you are going to get your return on investment.
This made me realise what one of the core benefits of being an employee was… Routine. Your working hours are a set, non-negotiable routine. When I was working full time I saw that I achieved more in my side business then when I later resigned and started working on the business solely. I thought to myself, why? With more time on my hands shouldn’t I be able to grow my business faster? Well…. it’s because when you work full time, and have stretch targets, you are left with very little leisure time. This means…. you learn to use that time extremely wisely and efficiently since it is so valuable to you. Now, as a self employed person, I have all the time in the world to get to the problems in my business and it’s never ending to do list. I also don’t prioritise effectively.
Self discipline for an entrepreneur or business owner is essential. It is too easy to find work that needs to be completed in the “not so important” category. We can easily avoid the challenging tasks because in our minds we can address it another day.
Obviously most of this is a personality thing and these kinds of behaviours are not common to everyone. But no matter how disciplined or committed you are to the business, without a routine and schedule, you will not be working in the most efficient manner. That is, in a way that helps achieve the right milestones you need in order to sustain and grow your businesses.
Routine alongside effective time management AND prioritisation is the key to your businesses success. The right balance is always changing but taking the steps to find a routine that works best for you and the business is essential. While one of the reasons you may have started your business was for freedom and flexibility, the truth is first you need to establish a business that does not depend on you. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come immediately and trying to utilise flexibility from the get go (without endless financial backing) will be the death of your small business.