My last few posts have revolved around issues that I have encountered over the past year that have been potential downfalls of new businesses. I enjoyed writing about this so much, and received such great feedback on the articles, that I thought I’d spend the next few posts focusing on what you can do to make your small business-and your family life-coincide peacefully (and profitably!)
When I began my company, I first started out as a freelancer. My youngest daughter, who is now three and a half, was just six months old, and I realized I missed working but wanted to spend my working time writing instead of teaching as a career. My husband encouraged me to follow that dream and so I did.
I believed at that time that the key to working from home was learning how to effectively multitask. I wrote blog posts about it-some for allbusiness! I walked around during the day thinking about how I could do two things at once: read the mail while using the bathroom, cleaning the shower while actually taking a shower, cutting up veggies for dinner while talking to a client about a project.
Then I learned the truth: When you are multitasking, you may be doing three things at one time, but you are not doing any of those three things the best way.
If we are constantly diverting our attention in eighteen directions, then none of the things that we are ‘focusing’ on are being done effectively. You can’t write out a check for your water bill while talking on the phone to your best friend. Well, maybe you can but chances are you will either mess up the check, forget to write it into your book, or not hear a word that your best friend says.
To be a good mother, friend, wife and business owner, you have to learn to pay attention to what others are saying and to what you are doing, and you can’t do this when you are constantly focusing on eight things at once.
You may wonder how it is that you can get it all done then if you are only doing one thing at a time, and the truth is you will get it done better because when you focus on just one thing, you do that thing right the first time around!
I learned this lesson the hard way, by missing out on what people were saying (including my kids!) and by making silly mistakes because my attention was not focused on one thing at a time.
So, if you are entering business for yourself, or if you have been running a business for a while, make sure that you are spending your time focusing on only one thing at a time. If you are trying to do more than this, stop one task, finish up the other, and then return to the second task at hand.
This means no checking emails when you are spending time with your family, no painting your nails while you are on a work related phone call, and no doing business when you should be folding clothes.