While singer Beyoncé claims that women run the world, it takes women a lot of time and energy to keep things on track both at home and at work.
Women own nearly 10 million U.S. businesses, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and—on top of running their own companies—many also hold the role of primary caregiver for their children. That is, they're mompreneurs.
So, how do mompreneurs successfully juggle the many hats they wear? Efficient time management is the secret, or finding ways to accomplish multiple tasks simultaneously, in the least amount of time possible.
Many mompreneurs have found methods that help them be the best business owners and moms they can be. Here are eight tips for better time management:
- ID your three must-do's. Start your day by writing out the three tasks you absolutely must complete before the day's end, recommends Vanessa Kruze of Kruze Consulting. Three tasks is a reasonable target to get done in a day, allowing you to close up shop feeling accomplished. It's easier to switch out of work mode when you know you've done what truly needed to get done that day.
- Focus on revenue-generating activities first. "Get in the habit of asking yourself, 'What action could I take right now that will directly result in sales?'" says Beth Vazquez, co-owner and founder of Recess & Results. Not only will this help ensure you're making the best use of your time, but also having steady cash flow helps reduce stress.
- Do one thing at a time. Crystalee Beck, co-founder and president of The Mama Ladder, says, "As mompreneurs, we truly do juggle lots of responsibilities...But when it comes to getting more done in less time for your business, it's best to start and finish one task at a time." She cites recent reporting by Coschedule that found that multitasking can reduce productivity by 40%.
- Limit meetings. The time required to travel to and attend out-of-office meetings can eat up a big chunk of your day, so do all you can to avoid in-person meetings. "I work from home and video conference and teleconference whenever possible," says Penny Bauder, founder of Green Kid Crafts, who schedules face-to-face meetings only as a last resort.
- Get comfortable with saying "no." The more successful and visible you become, the more of a target you are for leadership opportunities in other organizations. Unless you feel compelled to put the needs of another organization over your own, practice saying, "I'm flattered you would think of me, but that's not something I can take on right now." The more you say "no" to outside distractions, the more time is available for your business and your family.
- Make use of drive time. Rachel Solomon of Honor Code Creative sets up her own WiFi hotspot in Uber vehicles so she can work en route to appointments, or has her son practice driving by taking her to meetings. She can then catch up on emails from the passenger seat.
- Leverage technology. Implement software and apps that allow you to run your business efficiently. Kruze uses Boomerang for Gmail, which allows you to set reminders for email follow-up. Trello is another often-used tool for managing teams.
- Delegate and outsource. "We want to be able to do it all as moms, but it is so much healthier to source out, which later leads to productivity," says Joanna Jozwik Serra, owner of Birdy Boutique. Katherine Watier Ong, of WO Strategies, has fully embraced outsourcing. She has two part-time virtual assistants, a bookkeeper, a CPA, lawyers, house cleaners, landscapers, dog walkers, and a handyman, "to make the rest of my life work and to keep me working as much as possible."
Ultimately, the key to better time management is getting more done in less time. That means identifying what you must get done and then avoiding distractions that will interfere with your doing just that. Getting your business commitments out of the way sooner then allows you to be a more fully engaged mom to your kids.