How can you get everything done in a one-person business? When you look at corporations with separate departments for research and development, marketing, human resources, accounting, and more, it’s hard to imagine that a freelancer could possibly fill all those functions alone. If you focus on ROI (return on investment) and implement a few time management strategies, though, it can be done.
The reality of a one-person business is that it can be messy– interruptions happen. If you have a time management plan and a few strategies in place, crises and interruptions won’t derail your productivity. Take time to think through which of your activities gives you the highest ROI. Is it writing a new book? Teaching a workshop? Ghostwriting a full-length book for someone else? Working on your blog so that you can connect with your audience? Editing a manuscript? When you know which activities are most profitable, you can focus on them.
For most people, 20% of what you do in your business produces about 80% of your income, but it’s hard to stay focused on the profitable 20%. The other 80%– bill paying, shipping, customer service, filing, and other administrative tasks–clamors for attention, and must be done. My personal system for getting things done could be described as a divide and conquer method of management in which I divide tasks by category, prioritize based on profitability, do the most important things first, and outsource things that are not directly income producing.
You can find a brief, informal overview of the system at my Do What Matters, Make it Pay blog. The post is a response to a fellow writer’s question, so doesn’t cover everything, but is a start. You can find it at http://doingwhatmatters.com/2012/02/how-get-all-done-oneperson-business.
Do you have any tips for time management that you’d like to add? Feel free to leave them in the comment section below.